THE LAST EXORCISM PART II (2013)
If you haven’t seen part 1 and intend to, you may find some of the details here as spoiler material for the first installment…
Sequel to the creepy and effective found footage flick The Last Exorcism starts out promising enough with a spooky sequence of a young couple confronting an intruder in their home that turns out to be Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell) from part 1. Nell is taken to a hospital and then without much investigation into what actually happened in the woods that night, she’s released to an all girls boarding house. Things seem to be going fine for young Nell, new friends, new job, the interest of a nice boy. But, before you can say “Linda Blair” Nell starts seeing and hearing things indicating the demonic presence that possessed and impregnated her last time is seeking her out for a second date. Now Nell must once again face this dark force that plagued her once before, leading up to yet another last exorcism. Sequel not only abandons the found footage format that made it a bit unique last time but, instead embraces every tired exorcism cliche’ it can. Flies, shadow figures, levitation, kamikaze black bird attacks, ominous prophecies… they are all there and presented in mundane fashion. Film is directed by Ed Glass-Donnelly who co-wrote the weak script with Damien Chazelle and he adds little or no life to the proceedings as the subject matter is so tired and routine and orchestrated in such a by-the-numbers fashion that it has almost no effectiveness. The addition of a voodoo sect trying to protect Nell and thwart the demon’s efforts just comes across as silly and not innovative as it must have been intended. Not to mention that Nell already had the entity’s child in part one and was allowed to escape apparently, so, it’s a little confusing that this evil being suddenly is ‘hell bent’ on possessing her again. Why not just keep her under control all along? Add to that a downright silly conclusion that is borderline laughable and you’ve got a sub-par sequel that has none of what made the original such a spooky treat. Ashley Bell does give another good performance but, her efforts are sunk by the poor script and pedestrian direction and the rest of the cast are wooden and their characters forgettable. Cash grab sequel that’s not worth it unless you feel you must.
2 contorted country girls
THE LAST EXORCISM (2010)
Documentary style horror tells the tale of Reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) a preacher from Baton Rouge who has lost his faith and now performs fake exorcisms to help cure people of what he sees simply as psychological problems leading them to believe they’re possessed. Cotton has agreed to allow a film crew to document one of his ‘performances’ when called upon to a rural farmhouse where Louis Sweetzer (Louis Herthum) claims that his 16 year old daughter Nell (Ashley Bell) has a demon inside her. But things don’t go as Cotton and crew plan as it becomes increasing possible that this time the subject’s inner demons are real and Cotton may somehow need to rediscover his faith if he is to deal with it.
As directed by Daniel Stamm, this faux documentary horror takes it’s time getting started, but that makes the flick all the more effective when things start to go wrong. At first we are led to believe maybe Nell is just suffering the psychological effects of the death of her mother and the shame of a teen pregnancy, but things get creepier and creepier till it’s obvious Nell’s unborn child is not the only person in there with her. Last Exorcism provides some very chilling moments and some nice scares as Cotton is slowly forced to believe his lack of faith was premature and the monster that inhabits Nell’s body starts to come out and play. Stamm stages some really chilling set pieces including a real disturbing sequence in the barn where the demon taunts Cotton over control of Nell. The found footage style helps draw us in as if we were there watching the horror unfold. This all leads to the film’s controversial ending which I won’t spoil the details to, but to say I personally liked it. Sure it may have been right out of a 70s horror flick, but as you may have noticed from the movies profiled here, that’s right up my alley.
All in all, Last Exorcism is a very effective and spooky flick and is given plenty of atmosphere by it’s director and helped along with some good performances by it’s cast, especially Ashley Bell who really can turn on the creepy with her malice filled stares and body movements one minute and yet, appear sweet and innocent the next. The film maintains the fake documentary style well, despite having an actual but effective movie score, and it’s a chilling little treat. And as for it’s much talked about ending, in my book it worked just fine despite being a bit more of a ‘movie’ ending then the found footage style may have required. It payed homage to some of the horrors I grew up with and I’ll give the filmmakers a break if they got a bit theatrical as compared to the more intimate horror of the rest of the movie. A good Saturday night horror flick.
3 and 1/2 contorting country girls