“The Last Exorcism” Netflix Nuggets review
By: Mike Holtz, WeWatchedAMovie
Directed By: Daniel Stamm (A Necessary Death)
Starring: Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell, Louis Herthum and Caleb Landry Jones
Some movies just really, really piss you off. But well get to that…..
The Last Exorcism follows Cotton Marcus (Fabian) as a charismatic guy who’s entire life has centered around being a fire and brimstone preacher. His family, friends and church members love the guy to death and who wouldn’t? He’s a showman. He entertains anyone he comes into contact with, even pulling out magic tricks mid sermon.
Unfortunately his faith has left him while his financial needs haven’t. So instead of preaching he performs exorcisms on those that feel they are possessed (even though he doesn’t believe they are, or in demons at all for that matter). To hear him tell it he is merely providing a service to those who need to believe their demons have been extinguished. He even makes a show of it bringing in fake sound effects and props to trick the victims of his antics into believing he truly forced a demon out of them. But hey…. a guys gotta get paid right?
A film crew documenting Cotton’s profession follows him into the middle of nowhere to perform an exorcism on a girl named Nell (Bell) who apparently has been slaying livestock in her sleep. She has a super creepy Dad (Herthum) who is too hardcore in his faith for even the church itself and a Brother (Landry Jones) who just seems really angry. Cotton performs his fake exorcism on Nell only to have things get freaky real, really fast. His lack of faith is tested and as the events of Nell and her family unfold the questions start. Is she possessed or just really screwed up?
The Last Exorcism is well acted by everyone involved which is always a rarity for the genre. Patrick Fabian is as charming as he’s supposed to be (even though he’s kind of a crook, you can’t help but like the guy) and Ashley Bell is really impressive as a shy country girl who can also freak the hell out of you when things get weird. The found footage element works well enough and adds some tension here and there and The Last Exorcism has some really freaky scenes that make for a good time….. for a while.
Eventually though the plot holes start to sink this movie as issues with Nell’s dad arrive that seemingly would be easily solved (Why not just call the cops? CPS?) and one too many different twists and turns begin to take place. All of this I could have handled and still enjoyed The Last Exorcism until the ending. Oh that ending….
I won’t give away any spoilers here but trust me you’ll know it when you see it. The events of the film are escalating and seem to be leading toward something original and terrifying….. and then it happened. The Last Exorcism does itself and the audience a disservice by coping out and not explaining any of its ideas.
There are times where a film cuts away suddenly and leaves you with disturbing thoughts to discuss and ponder with friends. This film cuts away too soon because it fails to have a coherent ending to explain the events that happened up to that point, rendering the whole movie pointless and the audience feeling cheated. Like I said….some movies really piss you off. The Last Exorcism could have been a really good horror film and is 85 percent of the time until the ending cheapens the entire experience. 5.5/10 Nuggets.
The Last Exorcism Part II was recently released in theaters and I had hoped it would provide some sort of explanation and maybe even be this films saving grace. Lets just say it didn’t…… At all.