by Dan Fields
First published September 18, 2010 by the California Literary Review
We promised to be scared. Now leave us alone!
In case the audience wandered into a film called Devil with no clue what it might be about, the opening title card is a fairly unambiguous passage from the epistles of Saint Peter.
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
In this little bit of scripture is all the setup necessary to follow the plot. But instead of leaving the audience to enjoy the slow build of supernatural terror, the director chooses to bombard the film with explanatory voiceover about the legendary cunning of the devil. It is not merely superfluous, but detrimental. Since the audience knows immediately that all spooky activity occurring in the next 80 minutes will be the devil’s work, the story’s mystery content is severely diminished.