By: Andy Chruscicki (www.twitter.com/filmguy629)
Rating: 8 out of 10
The film revolves around Reverend Cotton Marcus, a man who has lost his faith in his religion. He has felt like that ever since it was science and not religion that helped his son hear again after his son was deemed deaf. Due to this waning feeling, Marcus has agreed to take part in a documentary that plans to expose exorcism as a fraudulent business. Marcus sees it as fraudulent because he doesn’t think anyone can be really possessed by a demon.
To prove his point, Marcus agrees to perform an exorcism for one of many people that have sent him letters to help them or a family member. The letter Marcus responds to is from the Louis Sweetzer who believes his daughter Nell may be possessed by a demon. Marcus performs an exorcism with staged effects to make everyone believe he has eliminated the demon but has no idea whether he has even helped her at all.
Soon after performing the exorcism, strange things start to occur to Marcus and the crew. After many odd instances, Marcus and the crew think maybe Nell might be possessed by something and it may be something he can’t stop.
The way this film is crafted and put together is what makes it stand out among other horror films. The camera is shown to be held by a member of the crew that is following Marcus, giving the illusion to the audience that the film is actually real, much like the film Cloverfield. What this camera technique allows is not only a more realistic look to the movie, but it also limits what the audience can see. This creates more tension and suspense because the audience can only see so much and can only see what the camera man can and the audience can’t see what’s coming next.
It is also very clever because it enables the director to let you see what he chooses when he chooses. He can allow the suspense to build in a dark room, and then send out the surprises and chills, which is what director Daniel Stamm does.
Although this is a different way of directing a film, it may leave many unhappy because the camera is never really steady. The problem with this is many cinema-goers don’t like to not have a clear picture of what’s happening on the screen and this may frustrate them and ruin their viewing experience.
Another thing that contributes to the creepy feel of this film is its look. The area of Louisana where the film takes place is an empty and run-down town surrounded by and dark forest. What else contributes to the feel is the film being shot with a darker tint which helps to give it a dusk and hair-raising feeling associated with the Sweetzer family and their town.
The actors in this film are relatively unknown, but one of these unknown actors may become a household name after this movie and that is newcomer Ashley Bell, who plays Nell Sweetzer. Her haunting performance as the possessed country girl delivers chills and is bound to make even the toughest film viewer quiver. It is a very impressive performance considering it is her first and many should take notice of Bell because after this performance, she may be going places.
For the most part, the films narrative seems predictable and many might think they have it figured out after the first half of the film. This is not the case though as many will be surprised at the shocking and perplexing end of the film. It is original and it is guaranteed to leave many scratching their head if not completely disturbed.
Not only is the film scary, but it is a great time and will give many the bang for their buck which is what many expect when they go to the movies. This is really saying something considering how many horror films have underperformed and underachieved lately. It helps to make a movie like The Last Exorcism stand out.
The film moves along at a good pace and delivers the thrills consistently making which won’t let many down if they are looking for a good scare and that doesn’t happen very often anymore either.
The Last Exorcism is a breath of fresh air into the horror film genre and is a heck of a thrill ride and is a movie many will be talking about for some time to come.