Good old demonic possession. It is a classic theme which fits into the horror movie cycle somewhere between zombies and vampires. Audiences who have had their fill of those (slightly) more earthly terrors need usually only wait a couple of years before something comes along from the gates of hell. The issue is that whilst zombies have used their newfound space on television to explore more mundane questions of community and family, and vampires have ramped up the sex sells angle, the exorcism movie hasn’t innovated a great deal. This may be why the found footage faux documentary style of the first Last Exorcism movie, with its weird back woods incest subtexts and creepy ‘if this doesnt work I’ll just kill you’ approach, was such a success – it was at least something a little different. Even the formula exorcism movie, done well, can be creepy without any of this revisionist silliness, the orignal and best just had some crappy spinning head effects and some pea soup and people were literally crapping themselves over it, the use of the word literally there is perhaps debatable. The Last Exorcism, part II, which I am arguing should really have been named “The Last Last Exorcism”, paving the way for a never ending run of remakes and sequels with increasingly absurd numbers of lasts in their titles, was neither scary in any ‘traditional’ sense, nor did it bring anything new to the table in the same way that its predecessor did. It starts off promisingly enough, Nell, the slightly annoying sole survivor of the first film is introduced to such sensual pleasures as rock music (which all the teenagers were enjoying in 2013, this sounded particularly 80s influenced), boys and lipstick. Despite the questionable representation of ‘the youff’ and their interests there is something potentially interesting going on here as Nells slow re-integration into the world of normal teenage life is interrupted by strange ghostly appearances by her father – and stalwarts of lazy horror film making – Flies! Cant beat some flies to signal that something creepy is going down. The psycologically scary, and interesting potential for it all to be in the head of the leading character is played with for all of about fifteen seconds, rather than keep us guessing though the film throws some crows at some windows and ramps up the dark shadows and its downhill from here. You’ll think the ending is about as scary as casper the friendly ghost before you realise a seven year old has been let loose with a really not that great special effects package and the result has been tacked on – leaving ‘The Last Last Last Exorcism” the option of either going down the “it was all a dream” route, or doing away with small town peril angle and taking demon killing global. Reviews of crappy horror movies invariably end with a ‘ its not bad for a few cheap scares whilst you have a beer with some friends’ – but really I would just steer clear altogether.
The Last Exorcism, Part II