28 August 2010

Review of 'The Last Exorcism'

(CREDIT: not mine. to the owner.)
Rank: 3.5/5 = a good and interesting story, but not the best of its kind

Over and over again most modern horror films are panned and burned mercilessly, but this film proves that it tried and did fairly well at breaking that curse. Heck, if there was an Academy Award for best horror film of 2010, this movie would beat Splice to death with a camera like the girl in this film did to a cat. But I will admit that although I looked forward to The Last Exorcism, I really wanted to see Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. But my dad and I missed the show and had to watch this film. However, we both came out satisfied and eager to discuss the film.

To be short, the story is told as a mockumentary, in which a father sends a letter to this evangelist minister, who has pretended to perform exorcisms, to help save his demon-possessed daughter Nell. The mood of this film is dark, but there are some moments of humor to ease the tension. But what makes the film dark for me is the fact that the atmosphere is so tense with really serious biblical Christian themes that it's chilling. Nothing against the more conservative forms of the faith, but seeing the Sweetzer house have many crosses and religious statues allows me to envision as the perfect breeding ground for questionable sanity. The fact that Nell's father rejects modern medicine and claims that the sunday school wasn't "medieval enough" proves my point even more.

What I enjoyed was that everyone in that small town in Louisiana was in some way messed up or backwards. Perhaps it's because I'm more of a suburb/city chick and I'm biased, but this tiny, old-fashioned town was obviously cut off from the rest of the world. And if Christianity is the accepted religion, you can easily predict what beliefs are a big no-no.

Although it's a huge cliche that with every exorcism movie there is Satanism involved, this movie somehow makes it work. The acting was decent, the story almost seemed believable, and no big action was missed unlike one movie (right, The Fourth Kind, the movie that blacked out whenever something happened?). But as a whole, this movie cannot match to The Exorcism of Emily Rose. That and The Last Exorcism are fantastic, but Emily Rose left you with no final answer that can be explained logically. This movie had an ending that made you believe for the most part that it was a trap, but you still questioned a particular detail about the ritual at the very end.

The only main complaint I have is that the cliche I mentioned in the above paragraph needs to be avoided in future exorcism films. Why not try having a possessed victim who lives in the city and who is not fundamental in their faith? That would be a bit more different and maybe interesting if executed well. Otherwise, I say this film is solid.

I won't spoil everything so I'll leave this review as this: I recommend this film for any horror movie fan, especially if you like ones about demons and exorcisms.

Now all I need is a good movie that won't give me scary nightmares. Ah, the joys of being a horror movie fan...

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