Reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) was raised from childhood to succeed his father as the minister of their church. Very intelligent and charismatic, he normally has the crowd in the palm of his hand during his services. Marcus performs exorcisms on people who claim to be possessed. However, he doesn't exactly believe in what he does, instead, he believes that the problems exist in people's heads.
After reading an article on a botched exorcism, Marcus gathers up a two person camera crew, and ventures on his next exorcism with intentions on proving the work as a fraud, by revealing very crafty tricks of the trade. Little does he know, his next case is going to take more than con-man tricks to reach a satisfying conclusion. -summary
To begin with, I never could understand the hate behind the documentary style of films. I never really noticed the shaky cameras until others began mentioning it, and it still never really bothered me. Now, with that said, directed by Daniel Stamm and released in 2010, The Last Exorcism is a supernatural horror film, that is heavily influenced by the mockumentary style of the Blair Witch Project. The film follows and is narrated by Reverend Marcus in a POV manner, and it attempts to feel like the real deal. However, there are more than enough moments that proves it to be nothing more than a movie.
From the very beginning, the film finds a solid foundation. Before the actual plot takes place, Stamm gives the viewer a guided tour into random town-folks superstition, which borders into the complete eerie as well as the absurd; ranging from things like "that's the gates to hell over there", and even the UFO landing site. This actually helps flesh out the character of Marcus, and provides more of a reasoning to support the stance in his lack of faith, as well as brushing these people off as nothing more than loony individuals.
Now speaking of character development, it's in bundles and it never begins to wane. Reverend Marcus has that "it" factor when it comes down to owning the crowd. The viewer gets to know his personality inside and out. Also working in his favor, everything about the man seems very real and it's easy to relate to him. The rest of the cast is just about as engaging, with Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell) being another clear standout. Her innocence and ignorance of what exactly is happening to her can play on the viewers emotions. Iris (Iris Bahr) and Daniel (Adam Grimes) who make up the two person camera crew aren't left out of the picture. Various times in some way or another, they express their fear of the situation and only want to get the hell out of there. In regards to a horror film, I can't remember a cast that was this realistic. I mean everything that they do, and whatever changes occurs feels very believable.
The acting is far above the usual B-horror movie. The main players continue to shine in their roles. Nell's father Louis Sweetzer (Louis Herthum) is very convincing in his role, as the over religious fanatic that will do anything necessary to see this demon out of his daughter. These type of fanatics always did rub me in the wrong way, so I can say that his performance was indeed felt.
The Last Exorcism manages to work its horror elements rather well, by delivering some genuine creepy moments. Stamm uses simple techniques to set an uneasy mood, and doesn't rely on out of the blue, yet very predictable cheap scares. He uses characters emotions and half lit set pieces to achieve his desired effect. I was also amazed to see that the special effects were practically non-existant. There's a small amount of gore that itsn't very over the top, but along with the death scenes, they prove to be very effective.
The Last Exorcism has a very strong story and engrossing plot. Stamm hits on Christian beliefs concerning the origin of the Devil, his demons, and God. But my attention was mainly piqued during his evaluation of false prophets, in which, Reverend Marcus clearly is. He also hit on the age old Christian belief, that doubters will be doubters until either the end, or unless something out of the ordinary that cannot be explained by science should occur.
I didn't have many issues with the camera work. Stamm was able to bring out the best in some scenes. However, it felt too much like a movie at times. When the camera man was told to shut it off. It was unsure how the scenes were still being filmed, and it would lose that documentary like feel. This was something that the Blair Witch Project worked to perfection. It always felt like a real documentary and never like a movie.
Although Stamm appeared to have a vision, and the film does have moments where it shines. I couldn't help but notice that there's missed potential. There were suspenseful moments which were well built that could have helped add to the realism of the film, but it seemed as if he didn't exactly know how to finish them. It's hard to elaborate without spoiling the film, something I will not do. The ending also felt too Blair Witch-ish. It was building up to a strong ending, but the end result felt too rushed as if Stamm just ran out of time.
In closing, although The Last Exorcism has its rough edges, the solid acting and believable characters were enough to keep me gripped. I recommend this to those who are into supernatural horror with a demonic possession backdrop. The film has an 87 minute run time.
Pros: -Suspense -Above average acting -Creepy moments -Solid atmosphere
Cons: -Missed potential here and there -Jury rigged ending
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 … more
** 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" … more
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 … more
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, … more
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 … more
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, … more
"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. … more
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 … more
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 … more
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.