First and most important, if you wish to go see this film, do not go with an expectation for it to be another “Exorcism of Emily Rose” or “The Exorcist”. If you enter the theater with anything to compare this movie to in mind you will most likely be disappointed. With that in mind down to my review and general analisis.
WARNING: There may and probably will be spoilers. I’ll try not to ruin anything too important in the event you may watch this film, but you have been warned.
"The Last Exorcism" directed by German independent filmmaker Daniel Stamm, whose only other directing credits go to the films "A Necessary Death (2008)" and "Off Hollywood & Vine (2004)" is a mockumentary horror film much like "Cloverfield" or "The Blair Witch Project"
The film stars Patrick Fabian as Cotton Marcus, an evangelical minister who was brought into the church at a very young age and only continued to spread the word of God not because of his belief, but because he liked that people loved him for what he did. In the film he has a child around age 8-10 and when he reads a newspaper article about how a ten year old boy was killed during a failed exorcism and the Vatican opening an “Exorcism Academy” he sets out on a journey to prove that exorcism is a sham. His disbelief in demons and possibly of God himself leads him to believe that this is the correct course of action.
This religious confusing and corruption of the church, though true in many circumstances, has lead many overly religious and intolerant people. not to appreciate the movie. But back to the review of the setup as I will try not to spoil too much.
After receiving a letter from a farmer asking for help in driving out the demon plaguing his daughter, Nell (played by an exquisitely frightening Ashley Bell whose only real credit is having played on a few episodes of the United States of Tara), Reverend Marcus goes to the deep south (probably Florida) to ‘aide’ her and further his own cause.
Needless to say, the girl truly is possessed, or you are led to believe so, you will need to use your own judgment not mine for a final verdict. Now spoiling aside (screw it I’m going to write a full review at the bottom of the page, just don’t look if you don’t want to see) I thoroughly enjoyed this film. It set out to frighten and most of the people in the theater (myself included) were just that. Unfortunatley, the people in my theater, though frightened, jumping at the appropriate times, and screaming at others, left the theater saying they didn’t like it. They were being fairly hypocritical as the horror movie had managed to scare them and thus done its job.
I would give “The Last Exorcism” a 5.8 out of 10. It was a good story, the horror was downright chilling at times, and I left the theater forever being frightened of evil little girls. I recommend you see it, especially over most of the other films that are currently running in theaters. The tagline of the movie “If you believe in God, you must believe in the Devil” stands very true throughout the film.
WARNING SPOILERS SPOILERS FULL REVIEW SPOILERS HAVE I MADE IT CLEAR AFTER THIS THERE WILL BE SPOILERS?
Reverend Cotton Marcus lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with his wife and son. Raised as an evangelical pastor by his father, he has been accustomed to performing exorcisms on “possessed” individuals. However, his faith has waned after reading of an autistic child being killed during an exorcism, reminding him of his own son, who also has a disability. He comes to realize that he attributes the healing of his son to science, and not Jesus Christ. Upon arrival to the farm house, Cotton’s mission is to expose the fraud of his ministry. He arranges Nell’s room so that he could bamboozle the family into believing he is driving out a demon. After the ritual Cotton and his film crew leave believing they have cured her of a mental state that was being misdiagnosed as a demonic possession.
Later that night, as the team sleeps at a nearby hotel five miles away, Nell (whom had no knowledge of where the team was staying) mysteriously appears in Cotton’s room. The team tries to contact her father to get permission to film it but to no avail. Wishing to prove his point, Cotton admits Nell to the hospital for testing and in hopes of getting a medical or psychological diagnosis proving that demonic possession was not the cause of her illness. However, the doctor concludes that Nell is in perfect physical state (though her blood-work hasn’t all come back yet). In the morning, her father arrives and takes her home. The team arrives later that day to check up on things. Nell is seen running away from her father her roughly grabs her arm and pulls her inside as the team watches. The rush in after her only to find Nell’s brother bleeding from a deep slash on his face. Her father takes Caleb to the hospital, but not before chaining Nell in her room for what she had done. Cotton and the camera crew stay to further investigate Nell and the home. They discover the chained Nell and release her. Later that night, there is a disturbance in the house and Cotton and the crew hear a baby’s cries. They head upstairs to find Nell standing in the middle of the hallway. As they try to confront her, she evades them and heads into the bathroom where she is submerging drowning a crying infant. The crew rush to pull the baby from the water, but stop when they see it was a doll. Nell was making all of the sounds the whole time. After she comes out of her trance, the crew finds a picture of a dead and bloodied cat. The camera is shut off so the crew can get some sleep for the night.
Late into the night, Nell goes downstairs and grabs the camera. At first you only see shots of her legs and a pair of shoes one of the crew members had given her. Her trip eventually leads to her father’s tool shed. The door slowly creaks open and a light mewing can be heard. A snow white cat (just like the one in the picture) sits withing the shed. She begs the cat to come to her and as it hisses, Nell’s hand grabs the cat by the throat and she begins to mercilessly beat it to death with the camera, cracking the lens and spraying the bloody mess everywhere. She goes back to the sleeping crew and stands over Cotton. As she prepares to do the same to him, the entire crew wakes up and tries to calm Nell, unaware of her deeds. Again, they lead her to her room. There they find another two pictures on the wall. One is of a man holding a cross and standing in a burning fire. The other shows the three members of the crew, Cotton consumed by fire showing that he was the man in the previous picture, the woman hacked to bits, and the camera man having been decapitated. Nell’s father comes home and listens to an answering machine message from the hospital stating that Nell is pregnant. As she has been home-schooled and wasn’t even allowed to go to Sunday school (they didn’t teach christian enough for her father) the family is suggested to have impregnated her, explaining her stressed psychological condition. Her father denies raping Nell and supposes the demon inside Nell has defiled his virgin daughter. Tempers flare as Cotton insists that Nell is mentally disturbed and needs psychotherapy, instead of another exorcism. Nell’s father gives the crew five minutes to vacate his property, in which time he runs to prey at his wife’s gravestone. While contemplating whether they should remove Nell from the home a loud noises are heard upstairs. They go upstairs into Nell’s room and discover she has climbed up her dresser (ironically on the poster of the movie, the dresser was absent and she was holding herself into the corner of the ceiling. There was no physical way she could have climbed such a thing. While trying to calm her down, she slashes Cotton’s hand with a knife and runs outside. The crew follows her, but lose her. As they are about to abandon the cause, Nell is on the porch. While approaching her, Nell tackles Cotton and attempts to harm him. The struggle leads inside as Nell’s father chases them with a shotgun. Reluctantly, Cotton agrees to give her another exorcism.
They relocate to the tool shed, where Nell had killed the cat. Cotton attempts to bring out the demon to confront it. The demon comes out and reveals Nell is in fact possessed. The demon (whose name escapes me I apologize) laughs at Cotton’s attempts and says that if he can keep quite for ten seconds that he would let the girl go. The demon counts one and as it does so breaks one of Nell’s fingers in a sickening fashion earning a scream from the girl despite her possession. Two, another finger, three and another finger. Cotton can’t take it and screams for the demon to stop to which it only laughs. The demon harasses Cotton until he realizes that a demon would understand slang terms such as blow job, and not call it a “blowing job”, as a young, naive girl might. Upon confronting Nell with this, she breaks down and admits to having sex with a boy named Logan and committing her violent acts from the shame of her pregnancy. Cotton feels the matter is closed and after a heartfelt moment between father and daughter (where she explains the situation while speaking in the third-person, noting she is still in fact possessed, sorry for the spoiler within the spoiler) the crew leave. The crew head to Nell’s old church and gets Father Manly (sounds like a pedophile to me, still not sure if I was wrong) and his wife to come help the family. With that they plan to leave for good, case closed, girl saved, no demons.
On the way home, Cotton detours to the coffee shop where Logan works. Logan talks to the crew stating he only talked to Nell for a minute at the estranged preacher’s house six months ago. In addition he insinuates that he is gay, therefore he would have never had sex with her. Confused, Cotton returns to the farmhouse. They enter Nell’s room to find the room decorated with pentagrams and other demonic symbols drawn in blood, but Nell and her family are absent from the house. They wander into the woods where they see a large fire and Nell giving birth amongst hooded worshipers (including Father Manly in re ritualistic demonic robes). Nell’s father is tied up while the others pray. The trio spy on the ceremony as Nell gives birth to an inhuman entity. The Protestant Minister then grabs the baby and throws it into the fire. The fire rages and the voice of the devil can be heard. Cotton grabs his cross and rushes towards the fire to combat the devil. The camera man and producer are soon discovered and make a run for it, leaving Cotton’s fate undetermined. As they run, the producer is tackled and chopped into several pieces. The camera man survives and looks back on the scene. Nell’s brother emerges and chops off the camera man’s head. The camera falls and the scene fades to black.
So there, my first review. Take it or leave it, I’m proud of it. Like I said this movie is not a bad film. It succeeds at exactly what it was trying to do, its frightening in just the right ways.