Devil (also known as The Night Chronicles: Devil) is a 2010 U.S. supernatural thriller film based on a story by M. Night Shyamalan, written by Brian Nelson, and directed by John Erick Dowdle. The film was released on September 17, 2010, and is the first of The Night Chronicles trilogy, which involves the supernatural within modern urban society. Devil opened at the number three spot in the box office opening weekend, taking in a total of $12 million.
The film begins with a voice over from a man named Ramirez (Jacob Vargas) who tells the viewers of stories that his mother had told him as a child that sometimes the Devil actively seeks out individuals who have sinned on Earth, and while taking human form he traps these individuals in a confined place only to turn them against each other, to kill them off one at a time. He further explains that the last one to die will die in front of his or her loved one to make cynics of them all, and in the end all will die. He says that the signs are set in motion with a suicide, as that is when the Devil first makes his presence known. This story is abruptly interrupted by a violent suicide of a man who had fallen from the thirty-fifth floor of an office building, causing the truck he landed on to roll silently away from the scene. Detective Bowden (Chris Messina) is a recovering alcoholic who is assigned to the case of the suicide. He later explains that the reason for his alcoholism was the hit and run death of his wife and toddler son five years prior. When he investigates the suicide, he determines that the truck originated from an office building down the block from where the victim was found. Meanwhile, five strangers board an elevator, which becomes stuck between floors just shortly after starting up to the upper floors. The five don't introduce themselves right away, but when security finds them, they notice that other than the CCTV and a radio which they can communicate into the elevator, they have no way of hearing the passengers in return. Bowden is in the area at the time of the call about the elevators and takes the investigation as it is the same building from which suicide had been committed. Ramirez is revealed to be one of the security guards and is disturbed by an image of what looks like a screaming face frozen on the video monitor that flashes away. His boss Lustig (Matt Craven) dismisses the superstitious suspicions and sends repair technician Dwight to investigate the elevators while Bowden tries to ascertain the identities of the individuals. Only four of the five are accounted for: Vince McCormick (Geoffrey Arend), a sleazy mattress salesman known for investments and frauds; Sarah Caraway (Bojana Novakovic), the wife of a rich man who is a pathological liar and plans to leave her husband with the money; Ben Larson (Bokeem Woodbine), a temporary security guard with a history of violence; Jane Kowski (Jenny O'Hara), an older woman who is seen on video cameras to be a thief, and another man who later introduces himself as Tony (Logan Marshall-Green), who does not appear to have signed in at the security desk. Things turn from strange to frightening when there is a freak power outage in the elevator, and Sarah is wounded with what appears to be a bite. All suspicion is turned on Vince who has been dodgy since the ride began, however there is another power failure and Vince is thrown into the mirror only to have his jugular vein sliced, the others watch in horror as he writhes and dies, forcing Bowden to consider this a murder scene. Dwight attempts to rappel down the elevator shaft via a pulley to try and fix the elevator, but Ramirez says that the Devil would stop any attempts to help his victims, and Dwight's strap comes loose when he is knocked over by a flock of birds and plummets to the roof of the elevator. The power goes out again. When it comes back, Jane is found hanging high off the floor, dead, causing both Sarah and Ben to accuse Tony of these malicious acts while Tony swears his innocence. Lustig goes to investigate the power in the basement while Ramirez tells Bowden about the story of the Devil incarnate on Earth. Lustig finds a loose power cable that appears to be what sabotaged the elevators, but he is electrocuted trying to fix the issue. Bowden finds a set of tools that Tony had brought in and suspects he might be responsible for the elevator damage. However, he wonders if Ben might have been possibly hired to kill Sarah by her husband to keep her from leaving him broke. However Ben is the victim of the next blackout, his neck is twisted around grotesquely. Sarah and Tony face off with each other, but ultimately decide that a fight wouldn't be worth it and lower their weapons, there is a sudden blackout and Sarah's throat is cut. As she dies in his arms, a woman claiming to be Tony's fiancee reveals that Tony's last name was "Jankowski," thus eliminating the possibility of the old woman's name being Jane Kowski. As they realize this the old woman rises up, revealing herself to be the Devil. Tony tries to bargain with her to save Sarah's life and sacrifice his own; she scoffs at this, having revealed she'd kill him anyway. In a last, desperate plea for forgiveness, Tony, using a radio, confesses to a hit and run five years earlier - while drunkenly reaching for beer in his car, he smashed into and killed a woman and her child. Bowden realizes that Ramirez was right having being meant to be the audience to this. The Devil, powerless now that Tony has repented of his sin, curses before vanishing, and the elevator comes back on line, leaving Tony the only survivor. Bowden offers to take Tony into custody for the confession, and while en route, informs him who he is. But despite saying he'd gone over what he'd say, or what he would do if they'd ever cross paths, he forgives Tony. The film ends with Ramirez, in a voice-over, telling the audience that his mother always reassured him at the end of her stories, "If the Devil is real, then God must be real too."