Every now and then I’ll submit to a horror film, but only in theatres and never at home. But a couple of weeks ago I was sitting solo at home and happened to watch Devil, a 2010 shortfaller that was written by M. Night Shyamalan. And I began to feel creeped out. Okay, scared. I started imagining what kind of fiendish predator might be lurking outside my front door or peeking through my window.
I didn’t think I was susceptible to this kind of primitive stuff, but I was. I am. I don’t think I’ll be watching another horror flick in my living room any time soon. Give me the comfort of watching my next horror film while sitting near a family of noisy, farting, coke-slurping Jersey Shore types inside a Weehawken plex. Actually, I remember being a bit scared by Paranormal Activity 2 when I saw at at the Regal Union Square, although not in a way I couldn’t handle.
The odd thing was that Devil isn’t that good a film. It’s just all right — roughly a 7.5 on the meter. But something about a demonic figure hiding inside a mortal inside an elevator and knowing that the big reveal will happen in Act Three…somehow this shit got to me. In somewhat the same way that an old Kim Novak TV film called Satan’s Triangle gave me the willies.
This despite a dopey payoff in Devil in which Satan is revealed to be a kind of moral prosecutor, sentencing mortals to eternal damnation for having done a really bad thing or two. C’mon…that’s not the devil. He doesn’t flash his crazy eyeballs and send you to hell like Robert DeNiro did to Mickey Rourke in Angel Heart. Even though, yes, this is the kind of devil that tends to get to you when it’s just you and your cats.
I prefer the company of a comme ci comme ca Satan, a “have a drink and don’t worry about it” kind of guy who can’t stand the priggish sanctimony of a judgmental God and Christian theology in general. He’s Al Pacino in Devil’s Advocate or…whomever, Mick Jagger‘s Lucifer in “Sympathy for the Devil.” A guy who’s primarily about logic and excuses and slacking off and working the angles and lines of cocaine in Cozumel. You know…Bill Hurt in Broadcast News.