Thursday, September 1, 2011

THE LAST EXORCISM

Daniel Stamm, 2010
Starring: Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell, Iris Bahr, Louis Herthum, Caleb Landry Jones

I've been burned by almost every single occult-themed film that has come on in the '00s. While I was initially very skeptical of The Last Exorcism, I read some positive reviews and heard good word-of-mouth feedback, so I tracked down a copy and settled in to watch it.

Cotton Marcus, a skeptical evangelical preacher, has reached the point in his life where he's basically delivering sermons just to rake in the cash and care for his family. He decides to wrap up this part of his life, but first will do one last exorcism, which will be caught on film by a documentary crew who wants to expose exorcisms as fake. From a large pile, he chooses a letter from a farmer in rural Louisiana, whose daughter Nell seems to be possessed by a demon. Nell has some very real problems, though the Reverend and the filmmakers believe these to be undiagnosed psychological problems, made worse by her father's abusive behavior and his insistence on complete isolation for the family. Though the Reverend initially believes he has cured Nell, violence quickly escalates and there are plenty of new strange occurrences. Driven to the edge, Nell's father offers the Reverend an ultimatum: give his daughter a real exorcism or he will kill her.

It turns out that I was right and all the people who positively reviewed this film are complete idiots. The Last Exorcism is yet another poorly written, poorly developed occult film that sets up an initially interesting premise, but soon dashes it on the rocks with cliches, overly blunt transitions, and a conclusion that makes me want to rip my eyeballs out in frustration.

It turns out that the local church is full of Satan worshipers who want to use Nell as the host for their dark lord. They imprison her and the film crew and use them in a Satanic ritual before killing everyone.

Bo-o-o-ring.

And yeah, I just ruined it for you. But this has so much in common with every other recently made, trite occult film that I want to impress on you how imperative it is not to waste your time The Last Exorcism. In the film's defense there's decent acting and some creepy incest/abuse undertones, but those are swept away almost instantly in favor of the same stupid plot devices used by every other stupid American Exorcist-derivative film in the last two or three decades.

Most of all I'm sorry that I made other people suffer though it with me.

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