Sunday, January 9, 2011

Horror Film Review

The Last Exorcism (2010):  Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice...well, that just makes me an idiot.  The first time I was fooled, it was Paranormal Activity.  Reviews were amazing and I got excited.  Then I spent almost nine bucks to see it.  And it was lame, not scary, and disappointing beyond words.  With The Last Exorcism, I got excited all over again.  How couldn't you?  Look at the poster.  And the buzz was nothing but good.  But then I watched it.  The one positive thing?  I didn't pay almost nine bucks for the privilege of not being scared. 

I've come to the conclusion that the major film critics who gave The Last Exorcism a good review were paid by the producers to do so.  It's the only thing that makes sense.  Why?  Because there isn't one aspect of this mockumentary that's frightening or even remotely satisfying. 

Cotton Marcus is the son of a southern preacher who follows in his father's footsteps, getting up in front of a congregation for the first time at age nine.  He has the gift of captivating an audience with his voice.  As an adult, Marcus is as slick as a used car salesman and about as moral.  He began questioning his faith when he heard of a child dying during an exorcism.  In addition to preachers, exorcists also run in the Marcus family.  Now that he's a cynic, Cotton decides to pick an exorcism request at random and then make a documentary to show that by using cheap Hollywood tricks, he can convince a "possessed" person that he's expelled the demon.  He wants to prove demon possession isn't real.  What could possibly go wrong?

Well, a lot.  Cotton and his two person crew reach the Sweetzer house in the middle of nowhere Louisiana.  There's the dad, Louis, the teenage son, Caleb, and Nell, the 16 year-old subject of the visit.  So Nell's acting strange, there are animal mutilations, and Caleb's a punk.  Cotton does the fake exorcism, Louis pays him, and everybody's happy.  Until Nell goes around the bend.  We find out she's pregnant, Dad wants to mow her down with a shotgun to "save" her soul because the father is a demon, and Cotton convinces the local pastor to come out to help counsel the family.  We're left believing she made it all up out of guilt for getting pregnant by Logan, a local boy who works at a cafe.  Leaving town, Cotton and crew decide to stop at that cafe.  Turns out Logan's gay.  So they hightail it back to the Sweetzer place.  And that's when the movie turns into Rosemary's Baby meets The Blair Witch Project

Power's out in the house, they go in to find the walls and ceilings totally covered in Satanic symbols but nobody's home.  Outside the hear voices, follow them to a field where a huge bonfire is burning and a bunch of people are hanging out.  Nell's lying on an altar screaming, Dad's tied to a tree and gagged, and the local pastor's decked out in a red robe performing a ceremony.  They pull a nonhuman baby out of Nell and toss it into the fire, which suddenly begins to grow and take shape.  Cotton goes all wonky, grabs his crucifix, and charges the monstrous fire demon.  His crew are chased down and hacked Caleb.  The final shot is the camera falling to the ground and we are looking at grass.  The end.

I can't remember the last time a movie pissed me off this much.  First of all, Cotton never actually performs a real exorcism.  Nell, when possessed, doesn't look any different or speak in a demonic voice so she's not at all scary.  Supposedly, she's possessed by a big shot demon called Absalam.  Not so's you'd notice, though.  Well, there are some body contortions like in the movie poster.  Big whoop.  That was already done in The Exorcism of Emily Rose.  The whole cult ceremony is just silly.  There's no tension because it's so out of the blue.  You know Cotton and crew are toast and oddly, you just don't care.  I think it's because you're too busy scratching your head.  With The Blair Witch Project, we knew from the beginning who/what the evil force was so throughout the whole film, we're on edge waiting for her to bump off the filmmakers.  In The Last Exorcism, they wait until the last 15 minutes before showing us the true danger.  We don't have enough time to process the information and then be appropriately freaked.  What a waste. 

The Breakdown 

Acting:  It's fine for the most part.  Ashley Bell should have taken some lessons from Linda Blair, though. 
Story:  Could have been awesome.  It isn't.  They should have filmed it as a regular movie instead of a mockumentary. 
Direction:  The handheld camera work was too well done, not realistic enough to get me believing I'm watching a real event. 
Production Values:  Too high.  Perfect for a regular movie, however. 
Gore/FX:  A little blood and that's it.  Nothing supernatural such as levitating.  I think the whole F/X budget was spent on the fire demon at the end, and even that wasn't very impressive. 
Ending:  Dumb, unsatisfying, and not at all original. 
Verdict:  Should you see it?  Lord, no.  Go watch The Exorcist or The Exorcism of Emily Rose again. 

My Rating:  0 out of 5
I did see a couple of other films this weekend and will get to them soon.  They're no-budget, foreign, and one's an Irish zombie flick.  The other's an Australian alien flick.  Stay tuned!

No comments:

Post a Comment