#326 -- The Last Exorcism (2010)

Director: Daniel Stamm
Rating: 3 / 5

The reason that I even wanted to see this movie is beyond me. I'm not a fan of exorcism-based movies, and I'm definitely not a fan of this found footage craze going on. But, for some reason, this movie intrigued me. It's probably those scenes in the trailers with that girl all bent up out of shape and looking creepy. Who knows. But I took the plunge and checked it out, even though I was still hesitant. I knew that the worst that could happen was that it would be absolutely horrible, and the best, naturally, that I would end up loving it. Neither of those things happened.

It follows Reverend Marcus, a man who has been in the preaching business pretty much his entire life. His father was a preacher, so it's only natural that he'd follow in his footsteps. His dad also reveals that exorcisms run in his family; they've been in the family for generations. Marcus is no different; he'd been doing exorcisms for years. When his son was born with an illness, and they weren't sure he would make it, things changed. His son ended up being perfectly fine, but the whole mess caused him to question his faith and what he was doing. He decided to stop doing exorcisms, because they were all scams and he was no longer into tricking people that way. So, he hired a film crew to follow him on his "last" exorcism, so that he could show them all his tricks and prove that they were, indeed, fake. He would actually rig things very elaborately to make these people believe there was a demon in their presence; and he didn't even believe in demonic possession.

So, he and his camera crew ended up at the farm of the Sweetzer family, where Nell Sweetzer was believed to be possessed by some demon. Marcus performed all his fake exorcism mumbo jumbo and had the family believing that all was well. But Nell still showed signs of some sort of ailment. They took her to the hospital, thinking that she was sick. That wasn't it. The Reverend became convinced that her problems were purely psychological, but her father refused to take her to a psychiatrist; he asked for a second exorcism, and threatened to take care of matters himself if Marcus wouldn't oblige. They also learned that Nell was pregnant, and the issue of incest arose. Marcus and his crew were extremely worried about Nell's well-being, as they'd become convinced that her father was sexually abusing her. Even though Nell had proved that she was dangerous, they refused to leave until they could get her away from her father. Of course, her father wasn't the problem here, and more demonic things were going on. His last exorcism ended up being the only one that was actually real.

Overall, I thought the movie was pretty good. The found footage bit wasn't that annoying, up until the end (people running around in found footage movies never looks good). For the most part, it was done in a way that allowed me to forget about it. I also think the actors were really great; they were very natural, and it felt like it was a real documentary. There were a couple of somewhat spooky moments, but I can hardly call it scary. It's not -- at all. The problem was that it was extremely slow. The characters were easy to care for, yes, but after a while it got boring. By the time the action started, it no longer had my full attention. Therefore, I was left feeling a bit confused. I'm not entirely sure if it's because I wasn't paying attention, or if that was the point all along. But the ending worked in its own way, so I wasn't disappointed by it; just confused. I'll definitely have to be seeing the sequel; hopefully it will answer some of the questions this one left me with.

Spoilers after the jump. Continue at your own risk.

So, let's talk about that ending. Nell's father didn't rape her, and the guy she named as the father was gay. So, the baby was a demon spawn. I get that the baby had to be aborted and thrown into the fire. I may have missed something, because I didn't fully understand the way that it was done. I know that Marcus asked Reverend Manley for help, but he looked kind of shocked when he walked into their little ceremony. It looked pretty Satanic to me. It also looked like the whole town was involved, and it left me feeling like he'd wandered into a town of crazies. Is that just me?

And why exactly did Nell's brother kill the camera crew? Marcus was killed by the demon in the fire, which I get. But when it showed Caleb with that axe in his hand, I was pretty confused. My boyfriend said that Caleb was the demon, and that he was the one who raped and impregnated Nell. This makes some sense. Was he avenging the murder of his unborn child? Maybe the demon impregnated Nell without the help of an outside source, like immaculate conception. And maybe, once it was expelled from her, it just jumped into Caleb's body, forcing him to kill everyone.

What do you guys think?

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