Director: Daniel Stamm
Cast: Patrick Fabian, Iris Bahr, Louis Herthum, Tony Bentley, Ashley Bell, Allen Boudreaux
RunTime: 1 hr 25 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: NC-16 (Some Disturbing Scenes)
Official Website: http://thelastexorcism.com/
Opening Day: 28 October 2010
Cotton Marcus is a fourth-generation evangelical minister
who has many faithful believers in his work…but he's
not one of them.
years of cheating believers out of their money by performing
fake exorcisms, Cotton has a crisis of conscience and decides
to come clean by filming a documentary exposing his fraudulent
ways. The film crew travels to a rural Louisiana farm where
they meet Louis Sweetzer, a devout fundamentalist who believes
his teenage daughter Nell is possessed. Among other horrific
things, Nell wakes up each day covered in the blood of another
butchered farm animal - but without any memory of the deeds.
Louis is certain Nell must be exorcized or this terrifying
ordeal will continue.
tries his usual tricks at first, but soon realizes that all
his years of religious charades have not prepared him for
what they actually encounter. He and the crew must find a
way to save Nell before it is too late for her...and for them.
Taking the pulse of a horror-loving film
community in 2010, "The Last Exorcism" is like a
document of pop culture history in its mix of marketing and
aesthetics. Trying to out-Paranormal-Activity "Paranormal
Activity 2" this Halloween will be a genuine challenge
for the Eli Roth produced film, but the fauxumentary's premise
does have a few genuine thrills and chills going for it, making
it a decent double-bill screening for game fans of the genre.
Appropriating the best narrative and visual tropes from its
direct influences, namely "Marjoe", "The Exorcist"
and even the recent "The Exorcism of Emily Rose"
in how it wrenches out a mystery element, director Daniel
Stamm uses the newly fresh-again format of documented horror
to elevate the drama inherent in an exorcism's taut chamber
piece setting. There is a good chance here of being firmly
disturbed, if you let the film take you where it wants to
Armed with a genial personality and powerful
charisma, Louisiana's Reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian)
goes around the country performing fake exorcisms on the believing.
Tired of his lifestyle, he enlists a filmmaker, Iris Reisen
(Iris Bahr) and her unseen cameraman (Adam Grimes) to document
his final foray into the fraud as he prepares a venture into
real estate after a personal tragedy. Following the reverend's
exposé on the sham rituals of exorcisms, the film crew
finds the beginnings of a real case of demonic possession
in Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell), a shy and gentle girl with
a shotgun-toting, fundamentalist father (Louis Herthum) worried
about the dark and heinous things occurring on the farmhouse.
Fabian's depiction of the Reverend is terrific
fun. He brings out so much of the character that it only enlivens
the film and makes it feel all too real while newcomer Bell
also shows some strong chops (and flexible limps) for this
genre. The film takes its settings seriously and Stamm builds
the foundation cleverly and patiently for powerfully unsettling
moments. There's a good sense about the screenplay -- not
exceedingly smart for its good but not too detached from its
conceit that the illusion is never broken. The single perspective
thorough the documentarian's lenses helps focus the story
into the visceral and direct scenes of terror, almost taking
on a life of its own. While the story does tend to falter
till the end, the strength of its conviction to juggle the
various layers apparent makes its intrigue palpable.
never being a thrill-a-minute fright-fest on the level of
"[Rec] 2", "The Last Exorcism" is a sophisticated
and confident manipulation of the format is a treat. Its mockumentary
aesthetics are refined and brought into fruition well enough
to tell a tale of faith and disbelief, the unknown and unknowable
darkness that exists beyond our rationalities.
(A solid frightener for Halloween, if you let the
film take you where it wants to take you)
Reviewed by Justin Deimen