I can’t remember the last film I saw that was really good until about the last six minutes. Oh, wait, THIS one. Yes, really. I was hoping for sort of an Exorcist for this generation, what I got was a cliched verse from a Satanic Metal song. But not as rocking. And it’s a real shame this time, because The Last Exorcism had a lot going for it.
I can’t remember the last film I saw that was really good until the last six minutes. Oh, wait, THIS one. Yes, really. I was hoping for sort of an Exorcist for this generation, what I got was a cliched verse from a Satanic Metal song. But not as rocking. And it’s a real shame this time, because The Last Exorcism had a lot going for it.
Cotton Marcus is a Minister, has been all his life. Taught by his father, he even performed his first exorcism as a boy. he’s also a great performer. After his own son almost dies, Cotton has a crisis of faith. Now looking to debunk exorcisms, he takes a film crew to document what he will hope to be proof of how exorcisms are nonsense. But when he goes to perform an exorcism on Nell Sweetzer, he finds there may be more than just demonic possession going on. Or maybe less. You’ll see – oh, no you won’t, because you aren’t going to waste your time!
Caleb Sweetzer, Nell’s father, says Nell gets up in the middle of the night and kills his chickens and cows.Well, that’s what they guess, as no one actually sess Nell do this and she doesn’t even remember getting out of bed. I wish I could have remembered a different ending to this movie. So, Cotton Marcus certainly has his doubts about possession. But he’s here to do an exorcism with all the bells and whistles, so he does. he rigs the bed to move, has hidden sound effects, and even a smoking crucifix. Man, it’s like a Harry Potter magic show without all the pubescent angst. And magic wands. But I digress. He fakes the exorcism but Caleb and Nell buy every bit of it. Hey, it’s the Louisiana backwoods.
But when Nell shows up at Cotton’s hotel later that night, he’s thinking she’s just nuts. Then they find out Nell is pregnant, so Cotton thinks maybe her father is abusing her. But things get weirder and scarier with Nell, which will work out great for the audience because they don’t know yet that the end is gonna suck so bad. And that’s disappointing because there is still so much good here.
The Last Exorcism is shot in documentary style, which adds immediacy and realism. And the acting is all good stuff. They set up the characters and what they feel and how they got there. They give us a reason to care about these people, and to understand how Father Cotton Marcus got to his lack of faith.
And there are some really great creepy, scary scenes in this. I was really enjoying it. It has a tight, personal story that I thought was going to really turn into something great. It built up the relationships of the people involved: Cotton, Nell, Nell’s father Caleb, and even Cotton’s camera man and assistant. There’s some funny moments, even a little topical discussion about religion, faith, and lies, mostly in regards to Cotton’s life. It all moved along fine until the last few minutes. Then it all went horribly, horribly wrong.
SPOILERS: Where I thought it might build to some sort of Exorcist-like final confrontation between Cotton Marcus and a demonically possessed Nell, which would have been precisely where this movie should have gone, it instantly turned into a 1970’s “the townspeople are a Satan worshiping cult” story. They even had the red cloaks and the chanting by a bonfire shtick. And the birth of the “not human” thing? Then the monstrous roaring coming from the bonfire? Want me to melt that CHEESE for you? Wow. And then we see Cotton find his faith and walk toward the fire. Then his assistants die a la Blair Witch film style. Then the credits role, and you sit in stunned silence wishing you – or ANYONE – had written a different ending. This one feels completely out of place.
HUGE disappointment. Skip it and go see Piranha 3-D instead!
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, had a WAY better ending in my head for this movie.