Considering this film is produced by Eli Roth, one would expect his influence to add the usual gruesome torture porn we’ve come to expect from him. Contrary to this notion, The Last Exorcism is a slow paced documentary style film that builds with suspense and creepiness but ultimately leaves one a bit pissy about the ending.
The mockumentary horror film, directed by Daniel Stamm, begins by showing us the life of Reverend Cotton Marcus, a man of faith born and bred to preach the gospel. Like his father before him, he provides saving to those who believe, but ultimately through his experiences in life he has come to find he might not believe in god himself. When his son was born after a high-risk complication, he admits he thanked his doctors instead of god. Between this fact and believing exorcisms are a load of baloney, he embarks on this quest to try and prove it’s all a bunch of hogwash.
He leads his film crew which consists of filmmaker Iris Reisen (Iris Bahr) and cameraman Daniel Moskowitz, deep in the heart of Ivanwood, Louisiana, where the belief of evil and demons is a religious fact of life. He has been called upon for help by a man named Louis Sweetzer who is having trouble with his livestock. During the night they are being systematically killed and his daughter is the one with blood on her hands the next morning. Sweetzer believes his daughter Nell (Ashley Bell) is possessed.
The realistic style in which The Last Exorcism is done really adds to the tension and build-up of what transpires over the course of two days. You will be wide-eyed with disbelief that Marcus and his crew’s determination stands so strong and are willing to continue helping this family after the danger they are put in. Questions will nag at you. Is Nell really possessed? Is the father actually the deranged one? Is there an incestuous relationship going on with her brother Caleb or perhaps her father? Ashley Bell who plays Nell gives an utterly creepy performance as does Caleb Landry Jones who plays her brother. Nell shifts back and forth from a naive southern girl to calculated conundrum with ease.
During one scene, Nell gets her hands on the camcorder which allows the audience to view everything through her eyes and adds a sinister perspective to events that play out while she’s in charge of the cam. This was a brilliant additive.
If you pay attention there are a few elements of foreshadowing that will have you guessing the end, yet somehow the film still manages to put doubts in your mind about what actually transpired at the end. The camera hangs back at the closing scene, you are but a voyeur to something far greater than expected. When suddenly just like in ‘Blair Witch Project’…(yes we’ll leave that sentence trailed off, as not to spoil it for you as much as we have already have.)
Sometimes this type of ‘leave em hanging’ end works and perpetuates intelligent thought about the movie once the credits roll, however the loose ends in this horror flick leaves you screaming for closure.
Running Time: 87 minutes
The Last Exorcism Movie Trailer:
Have you see this film? What did you think of the ending?