43 of 50 people found the following review helpful
A little light on the action and (very) long on the story, The Last Exorcism is still a pretty effective Horror movie. While the trailer gives the impression that the movie will be entirely about a demon-possessed young lady on a rampage (I think there's a pretty famous movie like that out there already), it is equally about the final exploits of one of those hoaxy healing ministers who after years of performing (fake) exorcisms starts feeling guilty and decides to expose himself and the trade for what it is through a documentary.
While the movie clocks in at under 90 minutes, it's still a little long and could have been done in a half hour episode of Tales from the Crypt. That format unfortunately is not available for filmmakers anymore (and certainly wouldn't have been as profitable). So little known Director Daniel Stamm found a cast of little known actors and created a full length feature that for the most part was pretty entertaining.
The gist of the story is that this fraudulent healing minister shows up with his TV crew at a farmer's house who claims that his daughter is possessed. The healer aims to document and to disprove the idea of possession while at the same time going through the exorcism motions to simultaneously expose his whole racket. But our minister may have found not only his first real case of possession on this particular farm but also his faith.
To all the critics of this movie, and there seems to be a lot of them....What were you expecting? An Exorcist remake? Go watch The Exorcist again. The Last Exorcism puts a pretty cool spin on a story of possession, and the B cast does an excellent job of leading the viewer through this creepy tale. Definitely worth a spot in your rental queue if you're into the genre.
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2011
THE LAST EXORCISM is a "mockumentary" in the style of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, chronicling the last exorcism performed by Preacher Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian), a televangelist who has made himself famous by performing psychosuggestive exorcisms on credulous subjects. After reading of the death of a child by exorcism, the Preacher renounces his stage-managed performances and embraces medical science. During the course of the film he demonstrates his "demonic" sound-producing equipment and a battery operated smoking crucifix.
Marcus brings a camera along to the home of his last "possessed" adherent, a young girl named Nell, who lives on an isolated farm with her hostile brother and gun-toting father. Farm animals have been found mutilated on the premises. The father is convinced that Nell has killed them. He wants to shoot Nell in order to stop any more evil from occurring, but Preacher Marcus convinces him to allow the exorcism. Although it initially seems to work, soon increasingly bizarre things begin occurring. Marcus is convinced that mental illness is to blame, but the Bible-intoxicated father insists on another round of exorcism.
As the story progresses,the viewer is left to wonder if the father, the brother or the daughter is the perpetrator. The family seems severely dysfunctional, and Nell appears to be a victim. For the first half of the film, it isn't even clear whether this IS a documentary or not. As most of the cast is little-known, the film's director maintains this fiction for a long while. It is only near the end that the question is answered.
I did not expect to enjoy this film, but it was oddly compelling and quite convincing. The close of the film lacked the large payoff that seemed promised, but THE LAST EXORCISM is certainly worth seeing if you are a fan of the genre.
52 of 65 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2010
I saw this movie with a buddy shortly after getting back from a couple differant flights. I was pleased with the movie(Being an avid non theater kinda guy, 9.75 for one ticket!?!) and felt it was well worth the 10 bucks. My buddy didn't like it, Upon questioning later he said in so many words "Because I didn't want that to be the ending, I wanted to see more". I agree, If there is a sequel I will definatly see it if I'm not busy. I'll elaborate on what some of the other negative reviews said.
-Shakey Camera and Dizzyness. I had absolutly no problem with it, I hardly noticied it after awhile into the film. Though, I have been drown proofed, water boarded, jumped out of helicopters 70 feet above the river, done the "run and puke", etc. I don't have a problem with dizzyness unless I am severly dehydrated. I felt the camera shakeing that was there really added to the "realism" of what the story was trying to convey onto how "We" see it. And, for your typical movie goer, I would think add a flavor of "OMG" while walking back into thier dark empty house. Also, My buddy has none of the military or paramilitary backround that I do, he had no problem with dizzyness or the camera "Shakeing".
-The ending. Everyones an individual; with that said, I disagree. I really enjoyed the ending, and my buddy would to if they elaborated on it(Sequel. I'm sure some people will yell something about Capatalism. I'm sure most of them have a shiny rock on thier finger or thier wife does...) The people that didn't like the story and/or ending to thier movie remind me of the people who at the end of the Sixth Sense went "Oh Come On! He never notices the exit wound!?!".
-It being a "fake" documentary. Really? You felt the need to post that? If this really happened you wouldn't pay 9.75 to see it, It'd be all over every major news network. If you arien't thrilled with them putting out "fake" documentarys, Why did you pay to see this? And if you didn't pay to see this, Well, Can you complain about the brakes on a stolen car?
-Bad acting. Well, Then i'm curious what qualifys as "good" acting. I thought the acting was outstanding, Especially considering that the girl playing Nell did all that crazy bending of her body naturally. That is not special effects. Considering I've dated some pretty flexiable girls and I am double jointed myself, I cringed at a scene when they attempt to make a "deal with the demon".
-Not scary(enough). Well, The theater I was in everyone I had eyes on jumped several times. Myself included. It wasn't "I'm afraid to go to my car" scary for anybody that I saw. You weren't scared, so what?
So to finish, See this movie at your "Own risk". I thought the movie was good, Not great. I made this review to help put in perspective some of the negative reviews. Many people(like my buddy), went home immediatly afterwards mad about the ending. The ending doesn't leave any more plot holes than any other movie, probably less. Rent it for a couple bucks, See it. If you don't like, move on. Don't say "That was a waste of 3 dollars and an hour and a half!". You could have been doing any number of productive things. I've seen 17 year olds who complained less during log PT. I wouldn't say its a diamond with a flaw, More of a perfect pebble. Hopefully, You enjoy it.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2011
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
First of all I thought the ending was the best part. If you thought it was randomly tacked on you obviously weren't paying attention. It was carefully, sneakily alluded too several times. And it was straight out of Lovecraft.
Secondly complaining about the quality of the film is another useless criticism. It is supposed to be a fake documentary. And in that it succeeds brilliantly. In the first couple of moments of the film I found myself reacting with a little skepticism, until I realized that the Cotton character was pitch perfect for a contemporary fraud. Likewise Ashley Bell does a perfect job. She was just off enough, unlike a movie actress, to make me believe in her. The other actors likewise all felt more like real folks than actors.
Thirdly this was not pastiche. This was not a crude slapping together of Rosemary's Baby, Marjoe and the Exorcist. (And when have you seen these things put together before???) Yes it had elements linking those films, but it was hardly culled from them. And the imitation documentary angle really threw it into another zone.
And most importantly the film actually had some intellectual muscles on it. It was a bit of a treatise on the loss of faith in a deeply ironic time. Eli Roth and the other producers say as much in their commentary. Having Cotton pick up his plastic cross to try to find faith again was at the heart of the whole film.
Now the people who hate this film seem to be the kind of folks who like a horror film to run on predictable tracks. I have a friend who just told me she thought it was stupid. No further explanation. She's hated some other films that seemed to have a point to them as well. Well for some people things just suck or are stupid. The cure for such simplistic criticisms might be to watch a few films with subtitles: fat chance of that.
But for my money... If a films engenders really polarized opinions something interesting is most likely going on. And if you like films with brains and subtlety and good acting check this film out and make up your own mind.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant Video
This film has a slow build up from a comedic, light documentary style to thoroughly disturbing. I think the slow build up was both calculated and added to the creepy nature of the later parts of the film. The story takes the viewer from laughing along at the ignorance and farce of the exorcism and believers to wondering what is really going on. The ending just tied the rest of it together and gave you the answer. I thought the skepticism inherent in the main characters added a lot. And frankly from the perspective of a non-believer that brought you into the plot starting at the same perspective of the rest of the audience. So, it was easier to follow him down the road they laid out for you. The characters were very realistic, not hollywood glamour types and that made it more believable. I count this as one of the best horror movies I've seen.
The people who complained about the movie being too slow or wanting monster action are people that should stick to watching dumbed-down action flicks. This is more thought out than what they are used to. The slower build up of plot is say more like a story is supposed to be.
29 of 40 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2011
This is worth a rental and I saw it in the theater and was really enjoying it--until the final 3 minutes.
No spoilers here, just a warning that the end of this movie is just dreadful. Also, MANY of the scenes in the trailer and shown in the poster do NOT occur in the film. The poster of her bent over backward---well, she bends over backwards, but not THAT far.
And the poster with her on the ceiling? Never happens.
Again, a rental that really delivers--until the end....
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
I'm generally left pretty flat by today's showy monsters that dissolve all of the suspense before the story even starts. As many fans will attest -- the F.E.A.R. video game franchise got horror right, giving you flashes of visual and aural (is that the right word?) horror and leaving the rest of the job up to your imagination. This movie got it right, too.
Often times the thought of what's lurking in that dark shadow is scarier than what's actually there, and The Last Exorcism takes it one step further by casting that dark shadow behind a pair of seemingly lifeless eyes. I spent half the film making up my own horror stories about what was in there. The antagonist in this movie (the possessed girl) wins a gold star in my book for giving me a good palette on which to paint my own scary pictures. Quite frankly, I found her to be scarier than the Exorcist girl (hats-off to one of the all-time greats).
I also like the fact that this movie eschewed a lot of the cliche scare tricks that have been done by Hollywood time and time and time again. I'll leave that so as not to spoil anything... but will say that I also don't feel it was a compromise, i.e. "we told her to make a scary face because we couldn't afford make-up". On the contrary, I think the direction, photography, and acting all combined well to pull off the scares without all of the hammy, overblown, computerized bulls*** that Hollywood tries to force down our throats these days.
Because many of them are so disappointing, I tend to stay away from Horror unless it's one of the classics (Alien, The Exorcist, etc.). I was pleasantly surprised by this film. The acting was good (if not great), the script was good, and it gave me some good frights. I was slightly disappointed by the ending, but it wasn't a deal breaker. I'll definitely watch this movie again.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on January 19, 2011
What starts as an intriguing premise slowly degrades into a silly take on exorcism and religion. This is The Wicker Man rehashed-complete with a twist ending that is discouraging at best. Bell does a great turn as the victim, however Fabian's character is unlikable and hard to watch. You don't care about his journey. The "documentary" feel is OK, but doesn't add anything new here. Southern setting is helpful and creepy, but not enough to save this film. Watch only for Bell's performance, otherwise it simply doesn't achieve the level of fright that it promises.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
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 have been a classic.
The film follows Reverend Cotton Marcus on his quest to prove that demons are not real and neither are the exorcisms. You see Cotton is a preacher with no faith and believes he is basically a showman who can basically sell anything. You will see him make his point during a very humorous early scene at his church. So he just picks a letter and in front of the camera crew he has hired and is off to fix this family in need, or should I say prove there are no real exorcisms. When he gets there he meets the family in need, father Louis Sweetzer, son Caleb, and the daughter with the demon in her Nell. So he sets up his fake exorcism and is off and running, but something is wrong. It seems that Nell has real problems that may or may not be paranormal. In fact it seems that she is actually the victim of an abusive father and she is loosing it, or is she?
I have to say that I actually really did enjoy this movie and while it did not reach classic status it was still good. It felt real for most of the film and that is both a good and bad thing. Up until the end this was really one film but the end of the film switched it around, while it was good for some I can see how this could confuse them. But I must say that the thing I really did like about this movie was the performances. Patrick Fabian as Rev. Cotton was excellent; I thought he did a perfect job on this film. He felt like a real guy in a very real situation and while he was just playing along with the family at first you can tell he is a good guy. In fact his reason for wanting to prove that exorcisms are fake is a noble one. Also it you get the sense that if he would have had faith from the beginning he may have been able to really help this family.
Of course an exorcism movie is really leaning on the performance of the demon infested girl, and Ashley Bell was perfect in the role of Nell. She really did a good job as both a sweet innocent girl and as a demon possessed girl. She delivers some actual creepy moments; two in particular are really good. Louis Herthum as her father and Caleb Landry Jones as her brother are both excellent, as well as every one else in the film. The acting here is very well done so the casting was perfect. The script by Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland is very good as the film and the dialogue seem very real, so well done to director Daniel Stamm as well. It really is up to the viewer, if you like exorcism movies or are not thrown off by the ending you may really like this.
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 well but the commentaries are where it is at. I do recommend this film at least for a rental, I liked it.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
First and foremost, this is primarily intended to be a review of the Blu Ray version, and my general comments will follow. For the Blu Ray version, its an outstanding product, ultra crisp, high quality video, and every bit as impressive as you'd expect from a Blu Ray disc. If you are inclined to buy this movie, I'd highly encourage you to buy the Blu Ray, its worth the upgrade.
As for the film itself, the reviews more than sufficiently identify this film's shortcoming. And that shortcoming, i.e., the ending, is vast. However, I'm a firm believer that a movie can be fully enjoyed for the quality of a few scenes, independent of the entirety of a film. This movie falls into that category. IMHO, there are a few possession scenes that are so well done and creepy, this movie can be enjoyed for those scenes alone. Just accept from the beginning that the ending is highly disappointing (but should not be a surprise for anyone familiar with Eli Roth's work), and let yourself enjoy the rest.