44 of 51 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.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 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.
53 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 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 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2011
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2012
I can say that this movie is very slow to start off with so if you're looking for the exciting parts, skip the first 30-40 minutes of the film, all you do is see our protagonist talk and travel. The movie itself isn't one of those outstanding originals, but still has moments where the movie has it's good points. This movie will get very mixed reviews due to it being slow and not as good as expected, but with an ending that's almost too easy to predict, now I'm not going to say what the ending is and spoil it for you, that's what you have the internet for, but I can say the ending is extremely stereotypical for those "lost footage" films. The movie predicts the ending for you anyways. Now the basic background is that an "exorcist" (if we can call him that, he's also the reverend as well) gets a letter from a farmer worried about his daughter who is believed to be possessed by the most powerful demon (according to a book the reverend brought with him that describes a number of powerful demons, Abalam being the most powerful and the one that "coils" around young girls/women and impregnates them). After the reverend performs a so called exorcism, he finds the farmer's daughter in his motel/hotel room where she is taken to a hospital. Basic idea of the whole movie: The fake exorcism didn't get rid of the demon the girl was clearly possessed with and they pay for the consequences (especially since they stalled for so long between the time she went to the hospital and the time that the ending happens).
I rated this movie based on how well it satisfied my lust for horror, it wasn't bad but it wasn't good either, so I put at a 3/5 for being a D- movie, not really passing, but not failing either.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 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.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
We've had a lot of these films lately, these "found footage" type films. And why not? When they're done well, they can be remarkably involving and tense. THE LAST EXORCISM tries to throw viewers headfirst into the world of exorcism, and does all it can to make you constantly question whether or not the main characters have found the real deal, or just another hoaxer.
The setup is actually very interesting. We meet Reverend Cotton Marcus, a man who has become disillusioned with his faith to the point of likening it to "going on autopilot." It's interesting because the actor (Patrick Fabian) does an extraordinary job of letting you see his conflict, and it's hard not to sympathize with him. At some point, he picked up a film crew of two, and the three of them set off to capture an exorcism on film. Though Cotton is actually fully expecting to catch gullibility on tape, rather than anything demon-related.
They drive through back roads aplenty to find their destination, where they meet Louis Sweetzer, a man claiming that his daughter, Nell, has been possessed by the devil. Cotton goes to work "exorcising" the girl, but quickly finds out that he may have bitten off more than he can chew.
There are several twists and turns, but at this point: I thought the movie was pretty engaging in how it handled the story. All of the actors give top notch performances, the location is set up nicely, and there are a lot of backstories that get tossed around to give everyone (save the camera crew) a surprising amount of depth. I was amazed how much I was liking the movie, and equally amazed by how much I hated it when the ending came around.
I could not imagine a worse conclusion to such a good film. It was almost heartbreaking how terrible it was. All of the build-up, character depth, and subplots are tossed out the window in favor of some cliche' and ridiculous...thing. I just couldn't believe it.
So, I must disappointingly file THE LAST EXORCISM away under "Rent It." This movie is genuinely good nearly all the way through, and it may be worth watching just to see how spectacularly it fails at the finish line.
18 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on January 17, 2011
Thar be spoilers here
Based on its average 5/10 rating on IMDB, I expected a lame movie. What I got was a lame movie, with an extra heap of bad, and a twist ending so off-the-wall and incoherent, it's comical.
The movie plays itself like a documentary, featuring Cotton Marcus, a charismatic young reverend and family man who is perfectly performed with great subtlty and realism by Patrick Fabian. The level of sleaze you get from the way he preaches and what he says to the documentary crew is perfectly balanced by innocence and/or well-meaning. It's not exactly disrespectful or offensive that, daring the interviewer he could preach his mother's banana bread recipe and people wouldn't notice, in mid-preaching he ends up doing it, and receives the same exultations he received preaching scripture.
Another thing which struck me was how he claims he does not believe in demons or exorcisms, yet still does (and charges) for exorcisms anyway, not because he's a conman or a crook, but because he believes he is helping the person with their psychological delusion of posession, and of course is doing a job and needs to be paid; he has a family.
So for the documentary crew, he responds to a call for an exorcism to show them on camera. The amount of time the film actually takes just for the introduction and the prelude is rather long, and would be a waste of time if Fabian weren't so deeply involved in his role. When they come to the area, they stop a young man to ask where the farm is. He says they're going the wrong way, they need to make a U-turn, go past where they saw everything already, and go back where they came, which was a pretty elaborate way of telling them to go EFF themselves or to please leave. Then he throws mud clods or rocks at their car when they go to the farm anyway.
Awkwardness abounds as it turns out the man is the son of Louis Sweetzer, the guy who called about the posession. We then go about introductions to the various people, Caleb being the son, Nell being the daughter who was posessed, supposedly, and brief insight into the family history. Then we get an interesting few scenes as Cotton Marcus unfolds that bit of conman out, showing how he sets everything up like a magician or a carnie, dropping something into a bowl of water Nell's feet are in so the water bubbles, a sign that something is wrong with her, to making sure her bed is slightly wobbly, tying fishing wire around it, hiding small speakers to play various types of sounds, screams, 'demonic' voices, etcetera, with some of it interspersed with the actual exorcism itself. While Caleb has him figured out, he wants to watch anyway because it's funny.
The exorcism comes off rather comedic without any background music or atmosphere, and with Cotton Marcus hamming it up to a boisterous degree, concluding with him supposedly pulling the demon out, and clutching a crucifix, which a cutaway shows us is modified with an engine of some sort inside to blow smoke out, as though it were burning him.
Of course by the end of it, he goes to the hotel, the father is grateful, and the story isn't over at all, as you know, and Nell ends up coming to their hotel in the middle of the night, some five miles away from the house, kissing and grinding against the woman leading the documentary, and suddenly throwing up, and they take her to the hospital.
To their credit, the film makes it seem as though she's lying about this in order to hide a secret pregnancy or something of the sort, which the documentary woman initially suspects might be the result of her father raping her.
More and more horror-type stuff happens, such as Nell walking around at night, acting scary and quiet, to the cameraman shutting off the camera, only for the camera to come back on, obviously stolen by Nell as it films her feet, then films her wandering about crazily, and then using the camera to beat a cat to death, which SHOCK! she drew a picture of a cat with bloodspots and holes in it the day earlier! She also drew a picture of a man standing before a big fire with a crucifix, and of the cameraguy stabbed dead and the documentary woman beheaded.
Because the local pastor Joseph Manley had a falling out with Louis, they can't convince him to take the girl to a psychiatrist or a mental help specialist. She starts acting crazy again, including slicing Caleb's face with a knife, and after enough craziness and with Louis threatening them with a gun, Cotton Marcus agrees to do another exorcism. This time, Nell does crazier things, like arching her back sharply, screaming and claiming she's a demon, rather realistic without special effects loony-ness, but also rather convincing.
However, he figures out she's faking it (somehow) because she taunts him by asking if he wanted her to give him a "blowing job" which he figures a 16-year old girl homeschooled for several years wouldn't know what it's properly called. He calls out her, and she breaks down and confesses that she had sex with a boy named Logan who worked at a cafe. Her speaking in the third person seems maybe to imply that she's "pretending" to still be a demon or something. Pastor Manley and his assistant Becky Davis then come to provide religious comforting and counseling for them while Marcus and the others leave.
At this point, the movie is almost completely over, and thus far seems to not really have a coherent plot. What is shown is that Nell was apparently lying and pretending to be posessed in order to hide a pregnancy, but this isn't ever really made clear, and is further muddled by Nell apparently still "pretending" to be posessed even while describing the events leading to her having sex and getting pregnant.
Then, Cotton Marcus decides to stop by the cafe and find Logan. Logan claims he never had sex with Nell and barely knew her, that they just met at a party or gathering thrown by Pastor Manley, and implies he isn't interested in Nell, while the camera focuses on his vaguely feminine mannerisms. In the car, they just outright claim he's gay, and head back to the farm to find out what's happening.
When they get there, the house is empty, with satanic imagery painted all over the walls, and they head out into the woods, hearing chanting, and they find... Nell laying on a table in an open field, with a bonfire burning, and Pastor Manley dressed in red robes chanting stuff with people around him, and Louis tied up and blindfolded nearby.
This is apparently the twist ending; the Pastor is a satanist, and they're having some satanic ceremony in which they pull the baby out of Nell, and it's "not human" because it's small and making weird squealy noises. They then throw it into the bonfire for some reason. Then, REMEMBER THE PICTURES! The ones Nell drew. Cotton Marcus runs up to the bonfire as it grows comically larger, holding up a crucifix, and someone attacks the documentary woman and decapitates her with a shovel, leaving the cameraman to run off on his own when suddenly OH NOESZ he runs into Caleb, with a bandage over his sliced face! And Caleb kills the cameraguy. And then it just ends.
A movie with a twist ending usually (if it's a decent movie) has that twist ending occur as it a driving force behind the movie's plot, with blatant hints left for people to pick up, and completely misinterpret (like The Sixth Sense). Some twist endings seemingly come out of nowhere, but have a firm basis in the plot, some bit of foreshadowing, and ultimately make sense when you think about it in retrospect (like Saw, Saw IV, Fight Club).
What this movie's twist ending instead displays is a complete and utter arse-pull; it comes out of nowhere, with no foreshadowing, no buildup, no hints or clues, nothing whatsoever. And the level of surrealism to it makes it absurd, to the point where where I should have been shocked or terrified, I was completely withdrawn from the immersion of the film, asking "What the hell is this?"
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 30, 2011
I only picked this movie because I was interested to see how they did the "found footage" genre. (I wonder how much longer we're going to get movies like that)
The Last Exorcism tells the story of an exorcist who has decided to come clean. For his last exorcism, he wants to document how he "tricks" the people into believing the rite has been performed.
Patrick Fabian plays Cotton Marcus, the exorcist who receives a letter to deliver a Nell (Ashley Bell) from a demon. Nell's father is worried for his home schooled daughter. His livestock are being slaughtered and it seems as if Nell is to blame.
Marcus and his documentary crew of two arrive to perform the "exorcism". After getting paid and providing Nell's father some peace of mind, the crew spend the night at a local motel.
In the middle of the night, Nell shows up in one of their motel rooms seeming sleep walking.
And the terror begins.
This movie wasn't as scary as I figured it would be. I'm usually a push-over for scary movies but this one really didn't have too many scare moments. (There was a scene involving a poor farm cat...)
Unlike most Found Footage films, The Last Exorcism has been edited and background music has been added. Who would have found the camera and decided to produce it with the kind of serious material found inside?
Ashley Bell does a good job of giving the camera creepy stares and how in the world can she go so long without blinking?
Like most horror films, this has an intriguing storyline with a few twists to keep things interesting. But sadly, the ending almost ruins the film. It takes one twist too many and ends in an almost different place. Too many scary movies fall into this trap: scary movie until the ending/big reveal.
The Last Exorcism is rated PG-13 for disturbing violent content and terror, some sexual references and thematic material.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2012
4 Stars = Classic
Ok, we all know there has been a glut of mocumentary films after the original, "The Blair Witch Project," which I found entertaining. It delivered some good atmosphere of dread & suspense, but I don't worship the digital camera it is made from. I've found several movies in the same vein I like better, "Cloverfield," "Monsters, "Troll Hunter" to name a few. I've found many I did not, like "Paranormal Activity."
This film falls in to the better category for me, with excellent acting, pacing, story, script, & one creepy performance by Ashley Bell as Nell Sweetzer, who may be possessed or not? You'll have to wait & see. Also, Patrick Fabian as Cotton Marcus, puts on a admirable acting job as the flimflam minster, who makes money off of ignorance & misery, but his karma may be catching up to him.
The ending is some what ambiguous, like the "Blair Witch Project," but it is a hell of a ride getting there!