The Last Exorcism is a nice little gem of a movie from the year 2010, a person may ignore this movie at first when looking through the movie listings, but when they decide to try it they end up loving it. That is how I felt when I saw The Last Exorcism.
The Last Exorcism may seems like just another horror movie, and rip-off of The Exorcist. However, it is a lot more. The Last Exorcism is a combination of The Exorcist, Paranormal Activity, and The Blair Witch movies. It is shot as a found footage documentary with interviews, and cameras following people around.
The Last Exorcism focuses on Reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian), a small town evangelical preacher from Baton Rogue, Louisiana. Reverend Marcus is not one your true-heart Christians, his faith his weak, but he knows how to excite his congregation. Reverend Marcus admits he is losing his faith; and reveals that his exorcisms are bogus. However, Cotton believes that his exorcisms helps those people who believe they are possessed; but he believes it is only psychological.
To prove that exorcisms are phony, and to reveal his methods, he allows one of his exorcisms to be filmed- his last exorcism. Cotton’s exorcisms are just some techniques, but he believes these techniques help the supposed possessed.
The Reverend randomly chooses a letter, and picks up a letter written by Louis Sweetzer (Louis Herthum), a small rural farmer who is worried that his daughter Nell (Ashley Bell) is possessed by the devil. I am sure the writers want the audience to believe that perhaps it is somehow fate that Cotton picked this letter for his last exorcism.
Ashley Bell is wonderful as Nell, she plays the role as sweet innocent girl, but equally terrifies the audience when she reveals the demon. The way Bell plays the character, it draws the audiences emotions out, and one cannot help but to sympathize for the Nell character during her episodes of possession.
When Cotton arrives on the farm Sweetzers’ teenage son does not seem too happy about the Reverend’s arrival, and shows it by asking them to leave, and then throwing something at the window of his car. Louis Sweetzer is a concerned single father who believes in God, and believes that Cotton is the one to help his daughter.
Cotton displays some of his tricks, he set up certain devices in the room to make the bed move, and pictures fall off the walls. He displays all his theatrics for all the people in the house, and for the cameras to see. After the phony exorcism, Louis believes his daughter is cured, and Cotton and the documentary crew believes they are ready to return to their hotel, and then to home.
When they return to their hotel room, there is Nell in a daze, Cotton and the crew are not understanding what is going on, so they take her home. However, this leads to a lot of shaky camera movements, jumping out at you moments, Nell hiding and attacking them, and some secrets revealed.
When faced with the possibility that Cotton has now encountered a real demon possession, his faith is challenged; and he begins to find his connection to a higher power once again. The end of the film (which I am going to leave as a surprise) brings all the elements from the previous events into a better understanding for the viewer, but also raises a few questions as well. It will have many people talking after watching the film.
The movie does well to set up the premise, and draw the viewer in. There isn’t much new about this story. Of course, it has to live up to when comparing it to most famous demon-possessed movies of the past especially The Exorcist (1973), which can be very hard to live up to. Although, I think that it is a good compliment to this type of horror genre.
The Last Exorcism is produced by Eli Roth who was involved with such scary movies as Hostel 1 & 2 (2005, 2007), Cabin Fever (2002), and The Grindhouse, (2007) (Fake Trailers) so you will most certainly be horrifyingly entertained.