It speaks volumes about how far M. Night Shyamalan’s stock had plummeted in the eyes of the general public that a video went viral in the buildup to the release of 2010’s Devil that showed audiences audibly groaning and laughing in the theater when his name appeared in the trailer, almost as if they were expecting disappointment.
In fairness, given that his three most recent features at the time were Lady in the Water, The Happening, and The Last Airbender, it was an understandable response. The filmmaker becoming a punchline didn’t stop the supernatural chiller from earning almost $63 million at the box office on a $10 million budget, though, but it may have helped end the franchise we’d already been promised at the time.
For what it’s worth, Devil was a decent enough self-contained tale that found five strangers stuck on a broken-down elevator, only for secrets to emerge as their irritation with each other swiftly evolves into full-blown demonic panic. It’s even in the midst of a streaming resurgence, too, with FlixPatrol revealing it to be a Top 10 performer on Starz in several countries around the world a full dozen years on from its debut.
Devil was pegged as the first installment of The Night Chronicles, a planned series of standalone films spearheaded by Shyamalan. There was even an indent explicitly naming the production company of the same name in the marketing, with Reincarnate announced as the second chapter. And yet, it simply vanished into the ether of development hell, never to be seen or heard from again.