THE VERY LAST FINAL LAST EXORCISM
The Last Exorcism, Part II
A “From the Dark Side” review by Kerr Lordygan
“The Last Exorcism Part Two” (LEPT) is like two films in one:
1) A typical and okay exorcism film
2) An awkward coming-of-age story about a virginal youth trying to fit in…after having been impregnated by a demon named Abalam.
You know…your everyday, run of the mill outcast teenager film.
Ashley Bell as Nell is so solid in her performances in both of “The Last Exorcism” films, it really is a marvel to watch her. And the distinctions that separate “regular Nell” and “A-Demon-Named-Abalam-Is-Invading-My-Nether-parts”-Nell is vivid. Bell’s performance carries this film from point A (creepy beginning) to Point B (fun ending). Anyone else likely would not have been able to keep my interest, as the pacing in between drones on a bit. Both films try and surprise with their endings, and while the first was more successful at it, the second still ends up doing it decently.
In LEPT, we pick up where we left off. Nell comes to live in a house for bad girls in New Orleans, run by Dr. Frank Merle (Muse Watson). The gaggle of other girls she moves in with is lead by Gwen (Julia Garner), who seems to be maliciously enjoying Nell’s discomfort. Garner does a nice job with amused bewilderment, but there seems to be a subplot there that is never concluded (or progressed beyond its initial implementation). We never find out what’s going on there. It seems that director Ed Gass-Donnelly was attempting to create more intrigue with Gwen than was written. It worked for a bit. But then we were left cold, much like someone who was possessed by a demon in the cold woods of Louisiana. So, kudos, I guess, Ed, for making us empathize.
With the role of Cecile (Tarra Riggs), there is an attempt to bring in a less typical element to this exorcism film. It almost works, too. But the voodoo exorciscm storyline she brings feels rushed at the end.
The shots in LEPT succeed at purposefully hiding objects from view. As the audience, we watch someone walk through a doorway, thinking we are just in the wrong place physically to see what we’re supposed to see. But we’re not really meant to see it yet. Not until the scare element is set up correctly.
Unfortunately, that scare element isn’t always pulled off successfully. But the shot’s are skillful, because we want to see what the subjects see, and when we can’t, we feel some suspense. There’s just not a great payoff. It’s impressive, but frustrating.
I do not regret watching this movie, though. Ashley Bell is a terrific actor. Her transformation is great fun to watch, as are her final moments.
Beginning: creepy. Ending:fun. In between: Bell makes it worth it with a killer performance in a so-so film.
Directed by: Ed Gass-Donnelly
Release Date: March 1, 2013
Run Time: 88 Minutes
Distributor: Arcade Pictures