The Last Exorcism Review
Written by: jay_wigger
Judging by the tight security at The Last Exorcism's Canadian premiere at Fantasia and Alliance Films' infrared cameras pointed at the audience throughout for reaction shots for an intended Paranormal Activity-like marketing campaign (which has yet to be seen, by the way), one would think the film is some kind of genre-defining masterpiece. And it almost is.
Working from a script by Andrew Gurland and Huck Botko (Mail Order Wife), director Daniel Stamm (A Necessary Death) works the "found footage" angle in this faux-documentary about a doubting preacher (Patrick Fabian, TV's Big Love) out to show the world that exorcisms - the ones he became famous for performing, at least - are a fraud. Picking one last case of "possession" for his swan song, he sets out with camera crew in tow to expose his ruse. This being a Hollywood film, with Eli Roth (director ofCabin Fever and the Hostel films) as one of its producers, this final exorcism for preacher Cotton Marcus proves to be anything but a fake. The young girl in the case he takes on - played by newcomer Ashley Bell in a star-making performance - truly is possessed by something. The film starts out in a rather comedic fashion, as Cotton lets us in on his scam in a sort of nudge-nudge, wink-wink fashion as he prepares to take us along to his final 'exorcism'. Once the crew arrives at the young girl's family farm, things take an ominous turn as Cotton realizes this may be the real deal.
As promising as The Last Exorcism is, though, the film's climax practically ruins everything. We won't go too much into it, as many people may still enjoy it, but let's just say that the whole ending seems a bit too contrived and is really unnecessary in the context of the film. Using the documentary ploy to its advantage, and featuring plenty of jump-scares and spine tingling chills, as well as outstanding performances from Fabian and Bell, there's enough good stuff going on in The Last Exorcism for us to recommend seeing it, but ultimately the final reel goes way too far off the rails for the film to be considered anything other than a decent - but somewhat disappointing - fright flick.
Originally reviewed at www.ioncinema.com