Entering the very polarizing world of Found Footage movies. The response to this one, like with all other movies like this one, are pretty polarizing. So it’s probably time I weighed in on it. RIGHT?! Here’s The Last Exorcism.
A troubled evangelical minister agrees to let his last exorcism be filmed by a documentary crew.
So, I truly like this movie. The set up is really interesting, and I found Patrick Fabian really likable as Cotton Marcus. The set up worked for me too, a minister who has decided to expose exorcism for the sham it is, only to be met with what is likely a real case of possession. While this movie borrows quite a bit from the exorcist, and from other movies in both the found-footage and exorcism camps, but it really does work. At least it did for me.
A big reason this works so well is Ashley Bell as Nell. She is a really, truly strong actor and it is sort of unfortunate that her works since hasn’t given her an especially strong selection of scripts or directors to really showcase her ability. Hopefully more comes her way, because she really is strong in this movie. Not to say that the other actors are necessarily bad either, everyone is pretty likable but really they pale in comparison to Bell. Her transformation from the sweet girl we see at the beginning into the possessed state is great and eerie to watch. While it doesn’t come close to Linda Blair’s transformation, it’s still pretty great.
On top of her great performance, Ashley Bell also has Hypermobility, which allows her to do all of the bends and contortions she does in the movie. Which, if you’ve seen it, is pretty remarkable.
The story moves pretty quickly, and there is some really great humour, a few red herrings, and a pretty bleak ending. These are all things that really work for me. It’s not without it’s problems, and it does suffer from some pretty weird and standard horror cliches.
The bottom line about this one is that it’s worth your time, and really not a bad movie. I will give the same advice that I always give about movies like this : if you already hate found footage movies as a principle you’re not going to like this movie. That’s a guarantee.
Also, don’t watch the sequel. It does cast Ashley Bell again, but it breaks format and pulls a Blair Witch 2. It’s really, really not good, and suffers from the nonsensical title of “The Last Exorcism 2” … which, of course doesn’t make sense.
Anyways, if you’re looking for something creepy, and fun to watch, watch this one.
FINAL GRADE: B