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Devil: A Throwback Horror Clinger
In one of cinema’s most ironic twists, Devil’s reason for existence turned out to be its own worst enemy. The blessing of M. Night Shyamalan, director of the brilliant The Sixth Sense and a whole bunch of other loathed films, puts Devil in the unfortunate position of having to overcome Shyamalan’s own baggage to earn viewers’ interest. This is a shame; as Devil is a truly gripping horror thriller free of Shyamalan’s usual off-putting pretences.
The premise is simple but quite effective: five sketchy individuals are trapped in an elevator, unaware that one of them may be the devil. There is the sleazy salesman who has screwed his fair share of innocent people out of their savings; a posh, good-looking lady that's also an unapologetic gold-digger; an unassuming old woman who is also a compulsive pocket thief; a brawny looking fellow with a criminal past, and last of all; a suspiciously coy man who has witnessed excessive brutality during his days in the military.
From this classical horror setup, Devil manages to deliver some interesting twists; keeping the mystery alive and present for the film’s entire 80 minutes, which fly by fast. The elevator scenes depict the claustrophobia of the situation well through cleaver camera angles, never exhausting the location’s confined space. However, Devil is most ingenious in its use of darkness as a means of generating fear, projecting pivotal scenes in the viewers’ imagination in their entirety– harrowing and unnerving.
Getting trapped with the Prince of Darkness is a horrific prospect in itself, but director Dowdle gives it a moody spin with his insular and bleak cinematography. There is a sense of vacancy in Devil’s open landscape scenery that contrasts with the confined setting of the elevator. Devil’s cast of unfamiliar actors add to the film’s mystique while delivering competent performances that ground the film’s sense of foreboding and hopelessness.
Devil’s religious themes are heavy-handed and the film often hammers home its point too blatantly. However, it’s not uncharacteristic or out of place for a film that carries such a bold title.
Unlike other horror affairs that opt for gore and blood to turn your stomach, Devil never feels exploitive or nihilistically ambivalent; if anything, the film leaves you with a renewed sense of hope.
First, it’s important to establish that we cannot place the blame in its entirety on Ramez Galal for his sadistic show. A big part of the blame should fall on us, the viewers, who eagerly wait for pranks and spike the show’s ratings, even reaching the point where café owners will blast these shows on large TVs to attract customers. It’s time to admit that there’s a sadist in all of us.
The premise of the show is a guest will come in to film an episode about the World Cup on a zodiac boat out at sea. The boat malfunctions, one of the presenters dives in to see what’s wrong, and the events quickly escalate to the boat sinking with the guest and a fake shark attack.
In the episode with Rania Mahmoud Yassin and Mohamed Riad, it’s interesting to point out that the boat didn’t sink entirely, and Rania kept a firm clutch on her sunglasses in a situation where any normal person would’ve let go of his/her belongings in exchange for safety. We ignored these points at first, but after several mentions on TV and by other viewers, we couldn’t help but wonder.
The show comes with a lot of legal issues this year, of which, a case that Athar El Hakim filed against Galal, banning her episode from airing, under the pretence that the prank extremely frightened her. The truth behind that is in question, after a video of her discussing her pay for the episode was leaked. Other legal issues concerning the show include damage to marine life from planting metal poles to support the hidden cameras.
Because nothing is black and white, it’s important to admit Galal’s sense of humour and experience, especially when it’s imitated by an artist like Mohamed Fouad in his show “Fo’sh Fil Mo’askar”, a stale and completely void of humour prank show.
We have to admit, we were impressed by the shark boat Galal uses to rescue the guests. He is a smart actor who was able to establish himself within Ramadan TV and create shows that people wait for year to year.
“Live, Die, Repeat” is the tagline of Doug Liman's latest sci-fi escapade, Edge of Tomorrow; an exciting and somewhat trippy alien adventure, which finds the enduring Tom Cruise on a Groundhog Day-like mission as he battles his way through an army of invading alien forces.
Set in the near future, Earth has been invaded by aliens called the Mimics; an indestructible extra-terrestrial force of invaders whose unique ability of resetting the day helps them foresee the combat methods used by their adversaries, and giving them a competitive edge in battle.
On the night before a specially-designed mission was due to take place, Major William Cage (Cruise), a haughty and skilful military public relations Officer, is called upon by UFF General Brigham (Gleeson), and ordered to report from the frontlines of battle. However, Cage – someone who has a low blood tolerance and a general distaste for war – refuses to follow orders and soon finds himself disgraced, arrested and placed under the command of Master Sergeant Farrell (Paxton).
Labelled as a deserter, Cage is soon sent into battle, but his squad is ambushed and killed by Mimics. Cage is shocked to find himself waking up the next morning only to live out the same day – and a gruelling death – all over again. His saving grace and the only way out of the loop is Rita Vrataski (Blunt); a Special Forces soldier who soon takes Cage under her wing and helps him acquire the technique and skills needed to fight the enemy.
Still considered one of the biggest box-office draws, Cruise is definitely in his element and delivers a solid performance as Major Cage. As the super warrior, Rita Vrataski, Blunt is equally likeable – her physical transformation definitely deserves a few nods – but the relationship between herself and Cage – which hints at more than just a teacher-student one – doesn’t really work nor does it develop into anything the audience can really sink their teeth into.
Written by the Usual Suspects writer, Christopher McQuarrie, Edge of Tomorrow’s edge, so to speak, is its Groundhog Day-like premise where the protagonist is forced to relive the same day over and over again. It makes for a clever setup and the Bourne Identity’s Doug Liman manages to pull off each repeated sequence skilfully and efficiently, without coming off as forced or overworked. The special effects look polished and slick and the battle shield-armour used by the humans, as well as the Mimics themselves, are executed to perfection.
Well-paced and offering a few light-hearted comedic touches needed to weave together its repetitive premise, Edge of Tomorrow is not cutting-edge, but is exciting and makes for a fun and refreshing watch.