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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


Reverend Cotton Marcus is a fourth-generation evangelical minister who has many faithful believers in his work…but he's not one of them.

After 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.

Cotton 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.

Movie Review:

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 take you.

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.

While 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.

Movie Rating:

(A solid frightener for Halloween, if you let the film take you where it wants to take you)

Reviewed by Justin Deimen


. Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)

. Haunted Changi (2010)

. Paranormal Activity (2009)

. The Haunting In Connecticut (2009)

. The Eye (2008)

. The Reaping (2007)

. The Messengers (2007)

. The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

. Stir of Echoes 2: The Homecoming DVD (2007)


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