The Last Exorcism

2010

Drama / Horror

Synopsis


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Downloaded 78,512 times
September 10, 2011 at 2:58 am

Director

Cast

Patrick Fabian as Cotton Marcus
Ashley Bell as Nell Sweetzer
Iris Bahr as Iris Reisen
Louis Herthum as Louis Sweetzer
720p
499.68 MB
1280*720
English
PG-13
English
23.976 fps
1hr 27 min
P/S 4 / 50

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Ryan 7 / 10

A decent film for people who like AND understand horror

I've been reading the reviews and felt the need to clarify a few things in case you're reading these reviews, debating whether or not to see this film.

1. It is not the worst horror film ever. People who say something like that obviously have not seen enough horror films to know the worst ones. By no means is this movie a revolutionary breakthrough that will reinvigorate the horror genre, but the film does a good job at making a decent exorcism movie documentary-style.

2. The video camera shaking is not that bad. Yes, it shakes, but that's the style of the movie. Get over it. If you don't like that style at all and are always made sick by it, don't see it.

3. To say the ending was ambiguous and left people missing the themes of the movie and therefore a bad choice is also a bit ridiculous. If you saw the movie Inception and still loved it despite the "ambiguous" feeling the film left you with and the obsessive pondering over what actually happened in the last dreams sequence then you can't complain at this ending which was NO WHERE near as complex. If you take a few minutes to work it out (talk amongst your friends if need be), the ending is not ambiguous at all.

4. The filmmakers themselves never claim that this is actual footage. So stop worrying about "how they found the camera footage" in the first place. The filmmakers made a work of fiction, and I'm sure they hope their audience understands this.

I can't deal with all the critiques, but to comment on the films good qualities:

It does add a few different takes on the "classic" form of an exorcism film such as the documentary-style, the characters, and particularly the ending.

As far as scariness, you have to understand the nature of what makes a good exorcism horror and good documentary horror: the "sluggish build up" (as many juvenile critics have termed it) is everything. What makes these movies great is that you, for a while, forget you're in a horror movie and start to believe you're watching real events unfold. You can split hairs over how long the film needs to convince you that these people and situations are real but without it you have no movie, or no good exorcism/documentary horror film. With it's slower (I wouldn't use sluggish) beginning the film hopes to sincerely connect you with the characters and believable setups so that when bizarre events do occur you are more likely to (sincerely) accept them and be frightened by them. No, the movie was not overwhelming scary. It doesn't go for cheap jump out moments (maybe once or twice) or CGI animations of demons popping out everywhere. But it does deliver a more realistic approach to child possession than most of its predecessors, which is pretty scary.

The ending is definitely a big moment for people's final judgment of the film, because it goes in such a different direction from what the rest of the film points too. But as stated before it is not ambiguous. All I will say is keep an open mind, and realize that this film though documentary-styled is still a work of fiction (again, as stated before). It took me a few moments to adjust once the ending was over, but after some thought I didn't mind the twist. Could it have been better? Definitely. Am I outraged? No. The film makers just wanted to produce something a little different than the expected exorcism ending. Perhaps the biggest upset of the ending is that it detracts from majority of the film's atmosphere of realism.

If you ARE a fan of exorcism movies and movies like the Blair Witch Project or even horror movies in general, The Last Exorcism is a good watch to satisfy your boredom and keep you entertained for an hour and a half, especially if you understand and like the construct of "sluggish build up" and if you have a few extra bucks that you're looking to spend.If your looking for a horror movie that will revive the horror genre for our time, this isn't it. But the film isn't trying to be the next big name in horror, so my rating is based off of the intentions of the film itself. Overall, the movie did it's job in being mildly original, having great acting (considering that this is in fact a lower-budget horror movie), in staying true to the genre, and in delivering an engaging story.

Reviewed by meininky 5 / 10

An underwhelming effort

Ambiguity is a powerful tool for a writer, filmmaker, or any creative person. But there's a fine line between ambiguity and lazy storytelling. The Last Exorcism, unfortunately, makes use of the latter. The film poses many questions but doesn't feel the need to answer most of them, meaning at the end of the film, the audience isn't so much pondering the themes of religious doubt and the adverse effects of shame so much as wondering what the hell just happened.

The lack of clarity is only made more frustrating by the overly shaky handy-cam cinematography. I normally enjoy this mode of filmmaking, and it was proved to be effective for horror films in last year's phenomenal breakout Paranormal Activity, but Daniel (the cameraman) has a bit too shaky of a hand for the style to work well here. I actually got a headache from some of the later, jumpier scenes.

It's a shame the film meanders to such a laughable conclusion, because it starts with such promise. The first half hour or so is surprisingly funny, effectively parodying the genre (specifically exorcism-based horror films) and presenting a religious slant to the proceedings that makes things interesting initially but ultimately seems cheap and even stupid. Two fine performances from Patrick Fabian and Ashley Bell are wasted as the material goes from subtly self-reflexive to blatantly generic. The horror that unfolds along the way rarely generates any real scares, settling instead for bursts of weirdness, cheap jumps, and ultimately, an unattractive mixture of stupidity and discomfort.

Reviewed by Justin Stokes 5 / 10

Score another one for hand-held horror

Cotton Marcus is a minister who performs fake exorcisms for money. Raised by his reverend father, he has been doing this since he was a child, but he has come to question his faith or whether he ever even truly had any at all. After reading about a kid who died during a botched exorcism, Cotton decides to have a film crew document his final fake exorcism in an attempt to prove what a farce the whole thing is and prevent others from dying. The subject of the exorcism is Nell Sweetzer, a teenage girl who lives with her father and brother in rural Louisiana. Things don't go as planned.

I am incredibly fond of the hand-held sub-genre of horror that has become increasingly popular over the last decade. With the exception of "The St. Francisville Experiment", I have yet to see one that I've outright hated. Even George Romero's heavily maligned "Diary of the Dead" wasn't horrible, though I did find it a disappointing effort overall. For me, the first person point of view works like a charm in creating a more intimately frightening atmosphere. "The Last Exorcism" proves to be yet another example of this. The backwoods Louisiana locations are eerie enough to begin with, but they're further magnified by the first person style. What we see is never said to be found footage either, so the presence of a music score and the varying camera angles didn't bother me. I just see it as a film seen from the viewpoint of a documentary crew's camera, not as if it were someone's found footage being shown to me.

"The Last Exorcism" doesn't jump right into it's horror, as it spends a fair amount of time on character development. That's always refreshing, especially since the horror genre is so often devoid of it. It's also of particular importance here, as Cotton's character arc really pays off in the end. The image of him walking towards the flames, cross raised, has been burned into my mind since watching this film. It's a potent moment, all the more so due to the story's focus on character building. The acting is also most impressive, and there isn't a bad performance in the bunch. Patrick Fabian truly reminded me of an actual preacher in spite of his character's stance for most of the picture. Ashley Bell was also fantastic as the girl possessed, while Iris Bahr gives the film's most underrated performance as one of the documentarians. Louis Herthum does well as Nell's father, but the fluctuations in his character bothered me. He seemed to jump from one conclusion to another too quickly, and the scene of him chasing the crew around the house with his shotgun felt awkward. The writing for his character was my main issue with the film.

When the horror does show up, it's of the more subdued variety. Daniel Stamm focuses his film's scares more on the unnerving mood of the wooded area and the religious themes. Like the characters, the mood is allowed to build. The exorcism scene in the barn isn't as over-the-top as one might expect, which is frankly something that I appreciated. The lack of outlandish effects and ridiculous hysterics was a plus rather than a minus. The quiet, understated form of horror is almost always more effective than an in your face approach. As for the ending, I'm firmly in the camp of being all for it. It was a wonderful little throwback to all the devil cult pictures of the 70's, and it's clearly hinted at throughout the film. As mentioned earlier, it also brings Cotton's character arc to it's pinnacle, leading to that haunting shot foretold by Nell's drawing. Aside from the 70's cult influence, you can also see shades of both "The Blair Witch Project" and "Cannibal Holocaust" in the ending.

I must admit that I didn't expect much out of this one. It flew under my radar for a good while, but I'm pleased to say that it wound up being a welcome highlight in a year that has been quite weak for the horror genre.

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