Qt3 Movie Podcast: Devil

The devil in Devil doesn’t just torment people in elevators. He also makes people on podcasts yell at each other. Then we do a 3x3 of movies that traumatized us as kids, starting at the 1:02:30 mark…

This is out already? Wow. Say what you will about M. Night Shyamalan, but nobody cranks out shitty movies faster.

Well, he didn’t direct it.

Goes to show how much attention I’ve paid this, I guess.

Spoiler alert: nothing does an atheist heart gladder than listening to two grown men screaming at each other about the motives of the Devil…

That was a surprisingly great shouting match.

Spoiler Alerts -

I thought the Devil had arranged the cop to be a witness, but only for the Devil’s own ironic amusement. Not necessarily to reveal the hit & run dude to the cop. I’m cool w/ Tom’s interpretation, but as I watched, I didn’t see a divine hand at play.

As for Jankowski’s confession at the end, vis a vis the loophole, I figured the crux was not only that he confessed, but that he was offering to sacrifice himself to save the not-yet-dead twist-chick.

As it’s trucking along, the movie obviously wants you to think the Devil has arranged everything, but I keep coming back to my question: Why does the Devil want the cop present if He’s just going to kill the veteran dude before he confesses? What purpose does it serve to have this cop watch a man die without understanding the significance of who that guy is? Why would the devil settle for ironic amusement instead of tormenting someone? It’s almost like they’re setting it up so that the cop is supposed to kill the veteran dude, but that doesn’t make much sense considering how the Devil thought He was going to kill the veteran dude in the elevator.

I’m open to the idea that maybe there’s a reason I missed, or even that the script is just a big fat mess and my interpretation is just a happy accident. But if you look at a) the opening dialog the cop has with his sponsor about forgiveness, b) the narrator’s coda about how the moral of the story isn’t that the Devil wins, but that by believing in the Devil we also know God is real, and c) every other M. Night Shymalian movie that ends with “God did it”, then I think I’ve got a pretty strong case.

Plus, hundreds of years of folklore, Job, interesting, argh, blargh, yarrr, rarrrr!


Hell if I know what’s going through that wacky Devil’s mind. The divine hand at work angle certainly tightens up the plot. I WANT to believe… in the divine plot twist.

The cop used the experience to better his own life. Embracing forgiveness, re-discovering faith, he snatched victory from de-hooven-feet of the Devil. In that respect, it’s a win for God even if He wasn’t at work in this scenario. Frankly, I can see it either way. Shyamalan only knows.

Also, while I didn’t share Murawski’s criticisms, his Job point was on…point. The Devil wants to corrupt, so going after ‘good’ folks and getting them to turn to the dark side seems way juicier than tormenting the damned on Earth before he gets to torment them forever in Hell, or however that goes.

What I think:

Think of the nature of God vs Devil gameplay, gamesmanship over souls. This is simply an episode of that playing out. These are people who are in fact with one foot in Hell, with this last chance to get out of it.

The Devil wouldn’t care if the cop is there or not. In a ‘call and raise’ move, God brings in the cop to show He’ll win(people are good). Ths is a common theme in God vs Satan stories. If the cop were to go all Brad Pitt on the guy, the Devil would win and win big.

I didn’t get the idea the Devil foresaw the end game, it was taking a gamble, with advantages as per the security guard’s story. So this game favors the Devil, indeed even in this instance the Devil claims most of them, but it’s not all controlled by the Devil.

The old lady is on video, including coming back to life. It doesn’t matter though, no ‘official’ death was declared by anyone and no body at the end= no dead woman to the outside world. If I saw that video on Youtube my first thought would not be “OMG, it IS the Devil”.

The guy admits fault, accepts punishment and offers sacrifice= redemption. This is contrary to what usually happens in the story where they usually die. He earns his pass, he does not get a free one.

Under stress of torment, the others fail in their chances(ie the girl yelling “kill him”). That’s why they didn’t get out of it.

Staying in the elevator would have got boring fast. I’m glad for the outside stuff, most of the momentum actually comes from outside the elevator.

In the view of the devil’s works, forced to watch people die at the hands of ultimate evil, the cop overcame it. He, who had reason to despair of so much, found the power to forgive. That’s what the movie was really about, hence the “then God exists” line. Don’t despair and you’ll make it.

The Devil’s point is to torment and collect souls, what he always does. And he does a damn good job of it in this movie.

I have no idea if we mentioned this in the podcast, since I’m afraid to listen to it, but this calls to mind Seven for me. Did we talk about this? This idea calls to mind a Seven minus wrath.

So the elevator pitch–ahem–for this film would be Seven with a happy ending. “The world is a fine place, and worth fighting for. I agree with both parts.”

One of the things I really forgot to consider when I was dismissing the characters outside the elevator is the bit of scripture that serves to open the film. It’s I Peter 5:8, and what I did not consider when breaking down the film is that Peter is a book written to the Elect. The warning in this particular verse is for believers.

I’d like to be able to re-watch that scene with the sponsor at the beginning, because I think there’s a couple of clues in there. Not just “Look, some things are beyond forgiveness” but things Bowden’s sponsor says about the dangers of bitterness (not the exact word, I don’t think).

I think those things lend credence to Tom’s assertion that this is a story about Bowden’s forgiveness, whereas my contention was that this moment of forgiveness was a tacked on contrivance. I blame the script for my inability to see Tom’s point…and I don’t think I’m gonna be able to forgive the writer for that. Hard Candy notwithstanding.

Plus, hundreds of years of folklore, Job, interesting, argh, blargh, yarrr, rarrrr!

Blargh I eat you!


“I don’t know…I guess He just got tired of all the bullshit.”

Curse God and die.