Friday, August 27, 2010

Review - The Last Exorcism (2010)

For some reason when it comes to horror movies that take place in the Deep South I’m always thrilled to see them. I don’t know why but I guess it’s because of the atmosphere and the atmosphere that is associated with the South. There are hardcore Christian evangelicals, exorcist stories, voodoo and other oddities. That’s why when I found out that The Last Exorcism was going to be a movie that takes place in a remote location in Louisiana I was ecstatic. The film is about Cotton Marcus and the documentary crew that he allows to follow him while he performs an exorcism on a little girl. The catch is: he is sort of a con man who only provides a Christian service to make people feel good in the end but little does he know that the girl is really possessed by a demon. Now, for what the movie was… it wasn’t bad but I wanted to see so much more out of this.

I loved Cotton Marcus’s character because I can sort of sympathize with him and I feel that he is a nice guy. The first half of the film spends time tapping into who he is and what his family is like and I enjoyed it. He says a lot of things about the Christian religion that is true and I agreed with him on several points. An example would be, people believe in Christianity because they need to believe in something to explain things and although Cotton doesn’t 100% believe in God, he still acts as a preacher to keep the faith and good spirit in these people. He’s a wonderful and sometimes humorous character. I sort of felt like this movie was like Paper Moon meets The Exorcism of Emily Rose because even though Cotton is a con man, he’s enjoyable to watch.

In terms of the storyline and how it progressed, this is where I have a problem. After we get to the farm where Nell (the girl who is under possession) lives with her father and brother, it gets slow and sort of drags on. I’m fine with this because it builds up tension but some of the scenes where the demon comes out of Nell… they just weren’t as scary as I wanted them to be. Of course, a POV shot of a cat getting killed and creepy baby sounds are fine but the scenes that could have been scary weren’t. When the Nell Demon was throwing a fit in her room, I wanted to see Nell on the wall crawling around as seen in the previews. The exorcism in the barn could have been done better as well. Seeing the body twisted and deformed is fine, it’s scary, but it wasn’t tense or ‘epic’ for lack of a better term. Near the end of the barn exorcism it takes a swan dive into randomness and then they begin talking about ‘blowing jobs.’ Again, I was left puzzled and wanting more.

Speaking of random, a lot of the scenes where Nell goes apeshit felt very random and they didn’t seem linear. When Nell starts drowning a ‘baby’ in the tub and we find out what it really is, I couldn’t help but laugh a little. I didn’t make sense. When Nell attacked Cotton on the porch it goes from intensity to ‘hush sweet baby’ in a mater of seconds. Even the barn scene ended like it was a drama.

A lot of people felt really angered by the ending. I don’t want to spoil too much of anything but lets just say that the people in this movie aren’t all who they appear to be. Consider this to be a **SPOILER ALERT**

Nell is possessed by a demon that violates young women, so you can guess what the ending includes but then that raises the question… why did the people throw the baby into the fire and what the hell happened? Well, from what I remember from Bible school, demons are forged in fire and they are born from it. Nell gave birth to either a demon in human form or the Antichrist. My guess is a demon in baby form. To release this demon from it’s human form, they had to throw it into the fire and that’s what Cotton ran towards with the cross. I felt cold and baffled but I liked the ending. Those who think it was a copout, sure, I agree but I liked it.


Overall, this movie had great characters that could have been given more. The girl who played Nell did a phenomenal job with her role. I wanted more scenes of the demon showing itself then just random snid bits here and there. I think the plot of the movie was great and the location really set the tone and atmosphere of the film but it wasn’t given anything else to expand on. As I stated before, it was decent for what it was but there could have been a lot more to it if they really sat down and thought it over. My friend said, it wasn't scary but if you really sat down and looked at it... it makes a great commercial for Orbit gum.


Pax Romano said...

I saw this today, and was pleasantly surprised. Decent acting, some genuinely funny moments, some honest scares, a plot line that kept me guessing (I really thought that her father had molested her, hence her odd behavior), and a curve ball ending that was as subtle as a freight train but very effective. All in all, it was nice to watch a horror film with something going for it other than cheap jump scares, gore and rapid fire editing.

Mr. Johnny Sandman said...

As I said, I thought it wasn't bad for what it was but there could have been so much more. I did like the plot and I also thought the dad raped her. The ending, I did not see coming but when I saw all the pentagrams and 666's on the walls, I thought here dad was part of the cult.

HorrO said...

First I kind of figured that you would not like this movie as much as you were hoping. I too wanted it to be much scarier, and should have been tipped off by the PG-13 rating. I have already seen a lot of people complaining about the movie, and that is what you get when you try to scare them to death in the commercials, and show nothing in the movie. For example, in the commercials it showed what appeared to be her running on the roof (like you wanted to see), but in the movie it was just her on the floor. Not scary. I also enjoyed Cotton, and felt bad for him in the end. Now to the important part, what the hell happened at the end? I think your explanation clears it up some, but I think I need to see it again. I never thought it was her father. I thought maybe the other reverend raped her, and that was where the baby came from. Then I debated if she was really ever possessed. I mean, did she really do anything that she couldn't have faked with maybe a little help from her brother. But like you said, maybe they were releasing a demon in the fire. I'm just curious then how much the brother and other demon worshippers knew?

Mr. Johnny Sandman said...

HorrO - From what I took from the movie and from what I know of religion, no human raped the girl it was indeed the demon that Cotton explained. She was possessed but it could be one of those debatable things. She showed all the signs of being possessed and when she gave birth to that baby, that sort of seals the deal. I'm absolutely sure that her brother and the other cult members knew all about it.

HorrO said...

It is debatable. I really don't know enough about religion to argue. I am just trying to figure the ending out. I just felt they were going back and forth with the whole "she was possessed, she wasn't possessed" thing, that maybe she wasn't possessed and her brother and the other crazy people were taking advantage of her. Maybe they told her how to act possessed. She did do strange things, but nothing crazy like in the Exorcist. When Cotton said she was faking after she said "blowing job" I took the bait and figured she wasn't possessed. Then when they were driving back to the house, I thought she was possessed and was going to kill the other reverend because he raped her, but that didn't happen either. The fire and demon thing you mention makes senses. I don't know, I need to see it again.

Mr. Johnny Sandman said...

The 'blowing job' was rather weird and now that you mentioned it... it does seem debatable but at the same time, why would satanists want to get her pregnant if not for harboring a demon? Perhaps, and this is a stretch, the cult members told the demon to make the girl seem as though she was acting hence the 'blowing job' so that Cotton would leave them alone. That would make sense. I also need to see it again but... I sense a duel blog post in the making. You'll be for or against her being possessed and I'll be whatever you don't choose.

Anonymous said...

i havent got a f***ing clue

Anonymous said...

Okay, I know... Old review, old comments, old shit... but I'm here anyway so whtever. I thought the movie was alright. I know the big idea behind the movie was to keep the viewer guessing between the girl just being a traumatized psycho or an actually possessed girl. But that might've held back the scariness too much. The scarier it is, the more real it probably is. So if the makers really wanted her full out and obviously possessed it could've been a lot more entertaining with the fake con exorcist idea, since no one's really done it.

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