Saturday, April 9, 2011

Review: The Last Exorcism

Starring: Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell, Iris Bahr
Directed by: Daniel Stamm
Language: English
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 87 minutes

We follow a man by the name of Rev. Cotton Marcus through a first person mockumentary style perspective. We learn about his journey on how he became a minister and his relationship with his congregation, family, and God. If you don't catch it immediately, you learn that Rev. Marcus doesn't really take his faith as seriously as his congregation and other people he associates with. He even admits himself by telling us the story about his son's health and how he thanked the doctor as opposed to the Lord. In short, religion is a bit of a joke to him and the fact that he read about an autistic boy being killed because of an exorcism has pushed him further away from believing completely.

He tells us that he receives a lot of letters from people who believe their crops or their livestock are dying because of demons. He reads one of these letters, then takes a trip with the film crew to a rural area, talks to some of the people living there, and later the man who wrote him, Louis Sweetzer. He talks to Louis about his farming problems, says a prayer over him, and meets his daughter Nell who they believe is possessed.

He rigs her bedroom to make the exorcism look real with wire and a sound device, then performs the exorcism with Louis and his son Caleb's support. Once he's done, Rev. Marcus and the film crew head off to the motel, but an unexpected visitor enters the minister's room after the film crew leaves. It's the farmer's daughter Nell. It's obvious she's not acting like herself by the way she interacts with the film crew's producer/director Iris. So, they decide to let modern medicine take care of her and contact Louis about the situation. This further tests Rev. Marcus's dilemma between religion and science...the whole premise of the movie.

I believe, because of the way it is shot, added to the suspense, otherwise I would've thought it was a dud. It was an interesting choice and I could relate to the plot on a personal level concerning evangelist and exorcisms. You kinda understand why some people are blind to faith and rely on science and medicine to save us.

This movie broke one of my personal rules: avoid exorcism movies, excluding the classic "The Exorcist". I was also a little hesitant to watch it because it was produced by Eli Roth (and I kinda have a little personal grudge against him). Honestly, I let my curiosity get the best of me and learned it wasn't a complete waste of time. The movie turned out to be decent, mostly because of the mockumentary style. I think the common third person would've made the suspense cheesy and more predictable. My major complaint was the ending. It was nice that it was unexpected in some ways, but it was a kinda out there of a conclusion.

In the end, if you don't mind first person mockumentary style and things challenging your mind about science and religion a little, then this is an okay movie to check out. It's not really worth owning and there's no rush in seeing it either.

Rating: 3/5

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