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The Last Exorcism

A movie released August 27, 2010

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Forgettable and mostly unengaging. Although, a cat dies in a pretty funny fashion.

  • Feb 5, 2011
Rating:
-1
** out of ****

If there's anything really "wrong" with "The Last Exorcism", then it's that there's nothing bad about it yet there's nothing good about it either. The film intends on riding its mockumentary/ "Blair Witch"-style premise as long as it can, and in a number of ways it's more of a success than past efforts. But I've seen better. In fact, I've seen much better. "REC" and "Paranormal Activity" are both great examples of horror films which use their "Blair Witch Project" inspirations to full effect. If only "The Last Exorcism" was among them, then it would have been horror movie heaven. And as it is, it's probably the best Hollywood horror film of 2010, but that's not really saying much anyways. It's much better than "Saw VIIII: The Final Game (Probably)" (starring Michael Myers, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Krueger), but it's not as good as everyone seems to think it is. Whilst watching the film, I couldn't help but acknowledge how forgettable it was. Sure, there were some good moments, but each one of them is completely devoid of classic memorability. I'm sure there are those who are going to enjoy "The Last Exorcism" (most being "horror fans"), but when it comes to someone like me, I'm more difficult to please. "The Last Exorcism", despite its cool style and solid thrills within the final half hour, just isn't the kind of horror film that I think deserves any of the praise that it's gotten. But it's not a bad film; oh, no. It's DEFINITELY not bad, but what does that make it? Good? No, not at all. There's a little word for what "The Last Exorcism" is, and it's we call it "mediocre". Mediocrity is the bad side of decency, since to call "The Last Exorcism" decent would almost be like complimenting it, and we don't want that. I like good horror; I really do. I like when it's actually done right. But this isn't necessarily a "good" horror film; since none of the thrills or chills are consistent and more than half of the film feels just plain goofy. Also, the ending sucks. It sucks hard; mostly because I was expecting something a bit more, yet it disappoints on just about every level. It's the kind of film that you want to end on a good note, but alas it does not. Another 2010 disappointment in the bag? I'd say so. It's not a completely agonizing experience, and it's mildly entertaining whenever it wants to be, but I just can't get myself around the fact that I'll probably forget I ever watched this flick when I wake up tomorrow morning. That's what watching it feels like; a familiar and forgettable experience. But if you must get your exorcism-based film fix, then why not take it for a spin? It's not as awesome as "The Exorcist", but it's the next "big" Exorcism flick. And that counts for something (although I don't know what).

A Reverend questions his faith and gets bored, so he decides to read his mail for once. He happens upon a letter (the first one in his ever-so-large pile) which is from a father asking for the man to work his holy healing magic on his possibly possessed daughter. The Reverend agrees to take the case, although he brings a camera-crew along with him so that he can prove once and for all that demonic possession is but a fraud. Boy was he wrong! This Reverend has got to be the saddest guy ever, because for quite some time he decides that he wants to FAKE the young girl's possession. He's been a fraud for quite some time, and he freely accepts it. I know; what a genuine ass. But as it turns out, there's actually something going on with the girl; something real, and something extremely dangerous. After some paranormal going-ons, the Reverend is convinced that maybe this girl really does need an exorcism. But of course, he'll have to catch her first considering the fact that the demon only now wants to make her walk about in the hall; kill cats by night, and bend her body like a sort of demonic contortionist. I know; it sounds like a bad-ass final half an hour, but it really isn't; at least when compared to what it could have been. While the experience as a whole is kind of a breeze given the fact that it's at least a little entertaining, it just kind of fades away after a bit. There's nothing really unique about this horror film; and none of the characters struck me as really "absorbing". Maybe the film works better as a thriller, but in some way I feel as if this isn't the movie that the director may have wanted to make. If he wanted to make a thriller, then that's the film that I want to see. As it is, the first-time director has created a mess. No wonder Eli Roth wanted to produce it; he's always getting himself involved with stuff like that. It must have been the surprisingly bloody and hilarious cat-death scene that got him interested. At least that was one part I could laugh at without feeling particularly ashamed. After all; what are most horror movies for, right? Funny cat death scenes? Damn right.

Patrick Fabien plays a particularly unlikable exorcist/Reverend, but at the same time he's actually kind of entertaining to watch. Maybe this comes as a shock because the guy's performance isn't actually "good" per se, but decent enough to make it watchable. Aside from that, there's not a whole lot of "convincing" acting going on here. At times, the abrupt changes in tone kind of made the acting hollow as a whole. Some of the dialogue is even laughably dumb; while the rest of it is spoken by a bunch of true horror fans. This film seems to have been made by a guy who likes horror movies a lot. Not too much, and perhaps he can do better next time. Word of advice; get a better cast. I don't want to see Ashley Bell try to be a demon next time around, because I can honestly tell you that I found it nigh bothersome to watch such a thing.

For a modern horror film, "The Last Exorcism" is surprisingly mediocre. There's a solid amount of thrills within the last 30 minutes, although the first hour is kind of joyless; or nigh joyless, whichever you prefer. Or maybe this film is never particularly joyless to begin with; I just would have liked it better if it had gotten to the point. Isn't this film supposed to be scary? Yeah, I think so. I believe that all good horror films have a hook. "The Exorcist" begins with one. "Halloween" begins with one. So why doesn't "The Last Exorcism" possess what I call a "hook"? Well, I believe part of it comes from the fact that "The Last Exorcism" just isn't as good of a horror flick as some make it out to be. As it is, I don't believe it's poorly made, but there's not quite enough craft put into it to truly convince me that it's worthwhile. Many people would disagree when I say that I like good horror, but this is just ridiculous. I mean, this isn't scary. Thrilling at moments perhaps, but never "scary". I didn't have to think about the horror, and none of the simple-minded stuff was truly well-executed. It's a big fat piece of disappointing mediocrity; the kind that I don't dare to temper with half of the time. It's not an unwatchable rehashing of the now-classic "Blair Witch" mockumentary filmmaking style, but then again it doesn't do such stylistic elements must justice either. I can't say it's worth watching; and quite a few intelligent people don't like horror to begin with. I like watching horror films; but I will admit when they're not particularly entertaining. This is one of those films that just isn't. Perhaps the worst aspect of the film is again, the ending. I just can't get over how horrible it was. If there's a sequel to this; I don't want to see it. But I probably will anyways since I'm a curious cat, and these films are at least watchable. Just never entertaining.

I believe that you can take "The Last Exorcism" as you will. It's not so bad that it should be the "last" Exorcism (as in, the last film about exorcisms). For one of those movies, it's actually decent. But not good enough to get a recommendation from me. I do admire the tension captured in the seldom seen but somewhat precious little thrilling moments in the film, but the film needs more of these scenes to actually be good. It may satisfy some people as the forgettable (but somewhat fun) horror flick that it is, but if I know horror with shaky camera-work, then I know that there's better stuff out there. And I also know that exorcisms should be more interesting and more menacing than the one located in this here film. Due to its complete lack of ambition, "The Last Exorcism" is just plain dumb in many instances. There isn't anything done in a particularly insulting fashion, and it is not insulting to my intelligence, but alas not good enough to be truly entertaining. It's almost entertaining though. It just lacks the kind of style and flare that I would have expected out of such a cool, creepy premise. I would stop you from watching the flick, since you may like what the director has done. You may find it more ambitious and therefore more interesting than I did. Who knows; there are a lot of possibilities. Just not when it comes to how much this film can do and how well it can do it. It needs more creepiness. It needs more scares. And it needs more passion. It seems to tame for me; and I feel as if the director's intended it to be scarier and a little more graphic at first. But if you choose to watch it at all, don't see it because you expect it to be scary. See it because you want to see a cat get smashed to a pulp by a video camera in a surprisingly funny way. This is without a doubt the best part in the entire film. It was indeed what most could call, quite priceless.

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February 06, 2011
I liked the effort on this one and its aims to try to be different. There was just something missing that it didn't get everything out of its system, in the end, I am not sure, it felt a little empty. There was just something missing here. Thanks for the review!
February 06, 2011
Thanks.
 
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More The Last Exorcism reviews
review by . August 28, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
When You Believe in God, You'll Have to Believe In The Devil...
Let’s cut to the chase; if you don’t like the first-person POV style cinematography and storytelling first seen in movies such as “The Blair Witch Project”, then in movies such as “Diary of the Dead”, “Paranormal Activity” and the Spanish Horror hit “[REC]” then you may not be the right viewer for “THE LAST EXORCISM”. The film was co-produced by Eli Roth and directed by Daniel Stamm and was meant to emulate the documentary …
review by . March 05, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
COMMENTARY ELEVATES THIS TO 5 STARS
      THE LAST EXORCISM      I will admit that when I first heard about this I was actually interested in it unlike another handheld style flick that was coming out. I have always been into these exorcism movies and it also had Eli Roth and the "Dawn of the Dead" remake producers on board so I was into it. After finally seeing it I had to say I was impressed with some things and not so much on others. I will say that it is a good movie but it could …
review by . January 09, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Faux Horror-mentary Has High Haunt Count
It's the amateur hour to be sure, but they do a lot with very little.  As a faux documentary, Louisiana preacher, Rev. Cotton, would like to make good on his track to perform phony exorcisms.  In a straight-forward fashion, he shows his duplicity up front, so he can expose exorcism once the headlines show what harm well-meaning people have done to a girl during the ritual.  Things fall apart to be sure, but the results, while not always startling, have a creepy haunt count. Subjectively, …
review by . September 05, 2010
      The horror documentary--a brilliant bit of filmmaking if done right, a curious experiment if not.  Either way, the mocumentary filmmaker is ahead of game because idea itself so novel.  For starters, the documentary format precludes any notions of disbelief--it goes step further than the mere willing suspension of disbelief, and presents itself immediately as "real" and "true".  Following on that, documentaries are, quite often, understood …
review by . August 28, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
THE LAST EXORCISM is yet another horror movie told through the use of "captured by someone who just happens to be filming for some other reason" device. Examples include THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT (which started it all, for better or worse), PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (captured by a home camcorder), DIARY OF THE DEAD (captured by the camcorder of a college student, plus other video from the web), CLOVERFIELD (camcorder), QUARANTINE (local news cameraman with an endless battery), etc. In this current film, …
review by . September 25, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
"If you believe in God," says Reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian), "then you must believe in the Devil." This eternal clash between good and evil is the backbone of Christian faith, and Marcus understands that. Growing up in Baton Rouge as the son of a preacher, he was groomed to become one himself at a very early age; looking back on his life, he admits to the camera that, while he learned plenty about behaving like a preacher, he never really learned about what he was preaching. …
Quick Tip by . March 05, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Caption
I found this to be a good film but the real goodies here are the commentaries on the DVD/Blu-Ray release. Both are very good with one being the director and the actors and the other being the producers. Both are good with the director/actors one being more fun and lively and the producer being one of the absolute best learning commentaries I have ever heard. If you are interested in behind the scenes stuff and how films are made this is the commentary for you. The other bonus features are good as …
Quick Tip by . January 09, 2011
There's a wonderfully little idea wrapped up inside THE LAST EXORCISM that -- given the hands of a competent director -- may actually have blossomed to frightening realization: a charlatan preacher goes about trying to prove faith is misguided when he attempts a 'Punk'd'-style documentary about fake exorcisms. The twist? He's actually caught in the middle of what may (or may not have been) a real-life incident of possession. Again, in the hands of a competent director, THE LAST EXORCISM could've …
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Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … more
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Wiki

The Last Exorcism is a movie directed by Daniel Stamm

A troubled evangelical minister agrees to let his last exorcism be filmed by a documentary crew.

When he arrives on the rural Louisiana farm of Louis Sweetzer, the Reverend Cotton Marcus expects to perform just another routine “exorcism” on a disturbed religious fanatic. An earnest fundamentalist, Sweetzer has contacted the charismatic preacher as a last resort, certain his teenage daughter Nell is possessed by a demon who must be exorcized before their terrifying ordeal ends in unimaginable tragedy. Buckling under the weight of his conscience after years of parting desperate believers with their money, Cotton and his crew plan to film a confessionary documentary of this, his last exorcism. But upon arriving at the already blood drenched family farm, it is soon clear that nothing could have prepared him for the true evil he encounters there. Now, too late to turn back, Reverend Marcus’ own beliefs are shaken to the core when he and his crew must find a way to save Nell – and themselves – before it is too late.

Poster art for "The Last Exorcism."
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Details

Director: Daniel Stamm
Genre: Horror
Release Date: August 27, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Huck Botko
Runtime: 87 Min
Studio: Lionsgate Films
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