Devil: A Movie I Wish I Could Show Students

Posted: December 12, 2013 by jperritt in Horror, Thriller
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Devil-Poster-Short-4-8-10-kcDevil was a movie that surprised me in many ways.  I was surprised that the gore was minimized.  I was surprised at its overall quality. And, I was surprised it was a movie which was ultimately about faith, repentance and forgiveness.

Being a youth director, I’m often on the lookout for movies that would be good to watch in a group setting.  I want to find films that are fun to watch, while containing some great biblical parallels.  Unfortunately, many of the movies that are explicitly Christian are heavy on the cheese factor.  However, there are also those films that go a bit too far and have content unsuitable for a youth group setting. Devil is one of those films that’s right on the fence.  While it definitely contains violence, it is minimized.  Each time a person is killed by the Devil, the lights go out so the viewer doesn’t see exactly what happens.  Even the aftermath isn’t maximized as some movies tend to do.

However, I think many Christians shutter that I would ever consider showing this film to students.  But, they don’t shutter because of the violence or language.  They shutter because I would consider showing a film called Devil to teenagers.  They shutter because many Christian don’t like to talk about the Devil.  They shutter because the Devil is just plain awful, so why watch a movie about him?

Well, not only do I want my students to watch Devil because it is ultimately about faith, repentance, and forgiveness, but I want them to be reminded that the Devil is very real.  I want them to have the reminder from Peter which says, “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” [1 Peter 5:8b]  Oh yeah, that verse is quoted at the beginning of the film – imagine that, quoting Scripture at the beginning of “secular” movie!?

You see, I’m afraid we may have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction.  Yes, Satan is the king of liars, he is the father of darkness, and yes he is pure evil, but abstaining from films with his depiction can make him seem mythical.  Tim Challies had a recent article (which was in reference to a sermon) entitled Do you have a personal relationship with Satan?  As the article states,

We need to believe that Satan exists, that he is powerful and that he will stop at nothing to hurt, hinder and destroy us. He is not an idea. He is not a theory or hypothesis or explanation. He is real, and it is crucial that we remember and believe it.

This is ultimately why I want to show this movie to our youth.  The Devil just seems like a fairy-tale to many of them.  Not only does this movie bring the realities of the Devil’s prowling home to us, but the realities of what hanging on to our hate does to us.  The movie communicates the power of forgiveness and the freedom that accompanies it.  So, this is why I wish I could show it to my students. I wish they could be scared by the realities of Satan.  I wish they could see the illustrations of repentance.  I wish they could see the power of faith that frees one from the Devil.  And, I wish they could see how a film can bring the realities of Scripture to bear in their hearts in a fresh way.

But, the movie is PG-13 and has violent and scary images, so it’s probably best to avoid such a film.

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