The Last Exorcism (2010)

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Director:Daniel Stamm
Genres:Drama, Horror
Release Date:2010 August 27
Screenwriter:Andrew Gurland, Huck Botko
Starring:Ashley Bell, Patrick Fabian

What Worked?

Compared to many of the poor American Horror films that hit theaters, the Last Exorcism is a decent project amongst many of its peers. Director Daniel Stamm uses a documentary style approach that works rather well, and Patrick Fabian and Ashley Bell give worthy performances, keeping the film afloat.

Patrick Fabian plays Reverend Cotton Marcus, a charismatic religious man that is looking to debunk exorcisms. Fabian is highly suitable as Cotton Marcus, more salesman than minister. Ashley Bell is the standout, taking on the main event role as the demon-possessed Nell. At one moment she’s a simple country girl and then she seamlessly transitions into a dark, eerie demon-possessed creature. All the bends and contortions are done by Bell herself, making the scenes of possession more effective. In one scene, the camera man keeps the camera on Nell, looking innocent, and before the camera cuts away, she lets out a bothersome smile. Bell’s performance is effective throughout, as she dives in and out of possession with ease.

Daniel Stamm does well with a plot that has been visited time and time again. He is able to create a creepy atmosphere, and also brings up questions on religion and faith. Overall, the film is a fine entry into the horror genre, but nothing more.

Potential Drawbacks:
This is definitely not a film that we haven’t seen before. It actually may feel like three other horror films rolled into one: Paranormal Activity, The Exorcist, and Rosemary’s Baby. There’s nothing original, groundbreaking or different to set this horror film apart from the rest.

There are creepy moments in the film, but they are few and many times they are fleeting jump scares. The plot of the film is also rather messy, and leaves one with too many questions, and they’re not the ambiguous ones that you can ponder over for a personal answer.

The Last Exorcism is a solid film, but it may be too safe to be a special entry into the Horror genre. There are no scenes that are going to be imprinted on your brain. Even if you look at the film as more atmospheric or character driven, there’s not enough to pull the film out of the waters of mediocrity.

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