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(2010), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] (1hr 15min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
December 23, 2010
December 27, 2010

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Christian Long Distance

(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2010), PG-13 [Hard R-13*] ... This film is full of it.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Media Rights Capital, Night Chronicles
Distribution (US): Universal Pictures
Director(s): John Erick Dowdle
Producer(s): Joseph Boccia, Drew Dowdle, John Erick Dowdle, Trish Hofmann, Sam Mercer, Ashwin Rajan, John Rusk, M. Night Shyamalan
Writing Credits: Brian Nelson (screenplay), M. Night Shyamalan (story)
Cinematography/Camera: Tak Fujimoto
Music: Fernando Velázquez
Film Editing: Elliot Greenberg
Casting: Debra Zane
Viewed on Universal Home Entertainment DVD

Rhetoric is defined as "language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but is often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content." [Dictionary, version 1.0.2, ©2005 Apple Computer] This film is full of it. Full of strategic inclusion of some of God's Truth in an attempt to make the otherwise unbelievable sound believable; combining God's Truth with lies, exaggerations, distortions of the Truth with convenient embellishments to make the untrue sound true. It is filled with rhetoric that "oftener serves ill turns than good ones." (Charles W. Eliot, ed., Harvard Classics; 1909.) That, in and of itself, is fulfillment of God's Word. [Rom. 16:17 - 18] Please do not trust what this film has to say about Satan or about what he is capable of doing. Trust the Truth - the Holy Bible.

I believe that Satan's evil power is second in magnitude only to God's holy power but I also know that once we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and resurrected Savior [Rom. 10:9] that we are protected. [James 4:7] But that protection does not include those around us who can influence our lives who have not accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. Satan's only purpose on Earth is to steal, to kill and to destroy [John 10:10] but I have never seen such power as displayed in this film (or any other 'horror' film that speculates about Satan's power). I think I was once unknowingly involved in an exorcism when talking to and praying for some friends in Florida by phone who had a cat that had gone viciously insane and their general feelings were fearful. When I prayed for Jesus to cast out any demons a crack immediately appeared in their sliding door and the cat became docile. Only God knows whether that was an exorcism. At any rate, no one was grotesquely deformed and no one was a hideous growling monster nor did the skies darken nor did thunder peal nor did evil faces flash before anyone nor did ...

Five people get trapped on an elevator in Philadelphia. The security guards can talk to the people by intercom but the intercom will not let the security guards hear the trapped people. The story tells that the devil has gathered together rather nefarious characters in the elevator so the devil can kill them.

First to enter the elevator are a sleazy mattress salesman, Vince McCormick (Geoffrey Arend) and an old woman (Jenny O'Hara) whose name was thought to be Jane Kowski. Next to enter is one of the security guards, Ben Larson (Bokeem Woodbine) followed soon by a young woman named Sarah Caraway (Bojana Novakovic). Finally, an ex-Marine mechanic, Tony Janekowski (Logan Marshall-Green) boards the ill-fated car just as the car doors close on the five people, trapping them into an episode of terror with the devil being one of them. At least that is what the story says.

Is the one who is really the devil the sleazy salesman? He has a long history of criminal money-making schemes. Is it the old woman? She is a pick-pocket. Maybe it is the security guard who has an extensive record of assault, once with a baseball bat. Considering the history of the young woman bilking rich men out of their fortunes, maybe she is really the devil. How about the ex-Marine?

As the story relates the devil will gather his victims together and kill them one by one. The story's conditions tell us that the devil's antics all start with someone committing suicide.

Soon after the five people are on the elevator car and are headed up the shaft some rumbling and thumping happens to announce the car is stopped ... on the 21st floor. Nothing the passengers do can get the car moving again or the doors open. The lights keep flickering on and off and panic begins to set in, progressively intensifying as the lights keep threatening to go out. As the courage of the five trapped folks slowly wanes in the small space strange things start happening -- high off the ground.

The first of the moves by the devil involves the young woman, Sarah. While the lights are out she feels someone grabbing her posterior in the dark. She blames the sleazy salesman whose right hand was close to her posterior and perched behind her on the handrail in the elevator. But later view of the security video tapes shows he did not touch her. Did she lie? If not, who touched her? Maybe it was the face of evil that flashed on the security camera screen as Guard Ramirez (Jacob Vargas) was watching things unfold.

The next move of the devil was more severe. When the lights again flickered off somehow Sarah received a bloody injury on her back that she said felt like a bite. Blood now enters the encounter. Now the police must be notified.

Before the hapless victims boarded the elevator car, as a janitor polished the ground floor of a high rise building in Philadelphia a human body slams from above into the top of a bread delivery truck which slowly rolls away. (There is one of the story embellishments that answers the rhetoric that requires a suicide to initiate the devil's murderous antics.) Philadelphia Police Detective Bowden (Chris Messina) and his partner, Markowitz (Joshua Peace) investigate the incident to find the truck is smashed far worse than would be had the jumper jumped from the two-story building next to where the rolling truck stopped. Surmising the jumper had to fall a much greater distance to cause that much damage to the truck, Bowden and Markowitz walk a likely path the truck would have rolled after the impact . Soon the pair encounter glass fragments on the sidewalk in front of a high rise building and a janitor sweeping it up. The glass was indeed from a broken window. On the 35th floor. It is likely this is the location the jumper smashed through a window high enough to cause the extent of damage to the delivery truck.

Back in the elevator car the lights flicker again. A loud thud and elevator wall mirror glass breaking terrorize the passengers in the dark. When the lights again shine McCormick lies bleeding on the floor with a shard of mirror glass severing his jugular vein. Soon McCormick gasps his last breath.

One by one the passengers die ... horribly.

That is as much of the story I am going to spoil in case you wish to rent this movie. But I am going to tell you details about the content so you as parents, pastors, youth leaders and more might be in a better position to make an informed moral decision whether the film is fit for your intended audience(s). The best source of itemized findings is the Findings/Scoring section of this report but I will summarize them for you below.

Just understand as you determine the fitness of this film that it is filled with rhetoric to excuse or justify the cinematic claims made about Satan and his power: rhetoric that "fills the belly" of the script and story writers; rhetoric that, in a convenient lack of proof otherwise, might make the claims seem believable to some. While the cinematography and performances in this film are indeed relatively high caliber, the film is a dangerous brew for the uninformed and those with undeveloped or underdeveloped understandings of the spiritual realm ... and the Spiritual realm.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
While this film is not as splattered with gore and guts hanging out as many devil-oriented films, it has its share of flash gore. And the matters of violence presented, while not all that intense, are so many as to cause enough loss of points due to content for the score in this investigation area to be zero out of 100 and be fully equivalent to the same content scoring as many R-rated films (54 and below out of 100). So much portrayal of panic and building up to each episode of panic took many of the starting 100 points in this area.

Don't be lulled by what I just said above. There indeed are some instances of intense and graphic violence but just not as much or as intense as many R-rated films. Be that as it may, embracing violence even in and as entertainment has a "leading" or emboldening effect on the observer. God knew this when He inspired the writing of the Bible. [Prov. 16:29, 1 Cor. 15:33] Now man, whether intentional, is finally getting around to agreeing with God. [See the link within the text of the Prov. 16:29 reference.]

Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
Twenty-one times someone utters some form of profanity. [Col.3:8] While profanity is the thickest of the content applicable to this investigation area, other matters such as rudeness and tormenting are present.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 87 out of 100
There is no nudity and no one gets in bed with anyone in the entire 75 minutes of story time. A rude gaze, a claim of inappropriate touch and suggestive talk about intercourse with another man's 78 year old mother with a "have at it" reply to the talk [Eph. 5:4] are the only matters pertaining to sexual immorality.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 78 out of 100
No illegal drugs, abuse of prescription drugs or even smoking were noted. Even the criminal behavior histories of the characters did not involve illegal drugs. However, Tony is seen drunk with beer cans strewn about in his car and later Bowden enters a monologue about a drinking binge.

Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
So often the script had the characters utter rhetoric simply to embellish the truth to fit the plot. Often God's Word was mentioned or touched upon just to make the untruths sound true. Granted, because God said so Satan will walk among us [1 Pet. 5:8] (and maybe is) but that, for example, suicide will pave the way for Satan or that he will take human form so he could punish the damned on Earth before claiming their souls is rhetoric and speculation. One of the strongest violations of God's Word found was by the devil character and Tony: "[Devil] Do you think you can be forgiven? [Tony] No." That is as far from the Truth as possible. Jesus can forgive ALL our sins: past, present; future. All we have to do to be forgiven is to ask forgiveness of our sins believing Jesus is Lord and resurrected Savior. Period. [Rom. 10:9]

Murder/Suicide (M) - 38 out of 100
The devil murders three of the people trapped on the elevator and Tony murders Detective Bowden's wife and child by driving drunk.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.


  • Rom. 16:17 - 18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the [Holy] doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
  • Rom. 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
  • John 10:10 The thief [figurative for Satan] cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I [Jesus] am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
  • James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" ["man" here is enowsh {en-oshe"}: man (collective), mortal, person, mankind; contracted for iysh {eesh}: whosoever, each] can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not since the cinematic display is at the hands men and women, in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil or the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off [rid yourself of] all these; anger, wrath, malice [kakia: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.], blasphemy [blasphemia: impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty], filthy communication [aischrologia:foul speaking, low and obscene speech] out of your mouth.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • 1 Pet. 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Devil (2010) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • body fall from high rise
  • dead body with appearance of death
  • long sequence of building panic
  • near miss that would have been fatal
  • injury with blood, repeatedly
  • building friction
  • flash images of body mutilation gore, repeatedly
  • periods of panic frenzy, repeatedly
  • glass impalement slicing jugular
  • images of dead bodies, frequent
  • blood leaking through elevator ceiling
  • panic episodes. frequent
  • body hanging by the neck, repeated views
  • fight
  • order to kill, multiple
  • electrocution
  • gore of electrocution
  • distorted body
  • threat to kill, repeatedly
  • impalement injury
  • leaving the scene of an accident

    Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
  • 21 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • frivolous attitude toward safety duties
  • rudeness, including verbal, repeatedly
  • torment
  • tattoos

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 87 out of 100
  • rude gaze
  • suggestive talk re:intercourse with another man's mother
  • reply of camaraderie re: suggestive sexual talk

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 78 out of 100
  • drunkenness
  • drinking
  • booze
  • one monologue about a drinking binge

    Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
  • 6 uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive
  • claim of devil taking human form to punish the damned
  • much rhetoric with heavy embellishment re: God's Word about Satan
  • inclusion of some Truth to make the untrue sound true
  • flash image of evil, repeatedly
  • "When [devil] is near everything goes wrong"
  • "Ramirez is kind of religious. Just ignore him."
  • more rhetoric to make the religious sound insane
  • continuous and progressive sense of evil
  • "I don't believe in the devil."
  • unexplained touch of a woman's posterior
  • unexplained breakage of mirror resulting in death
  • unexplained breakage of carabiner resulting in death
  • multiple portrayals of devil's power to manipulate earthly entities
  • belittlement of the power of prayer
  • eerie glow from dead woman's open eyes
  • unexplained loss of grip times 3
  • "The lies we tell ourselves ... they introduce us to him [devil]."
  • "I've been to Hell."
  • resurrection of dead woman
  • demonic possession
  • offering of self to devil in place of another
  • "Do you think you can be forgiven? No."
  • unexplained disappearance

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 38 out of 100
  • graphic car collision drunken driving resulting on two deaths
  • three murders by the devil
  • one suicide by jumping

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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