The Last Exorcism – (2010) – movie review
The Last Exorcism is a mock-documentary about a popular evangelist preacher, ‘Cotton’ Marcus, who is part showman, part spiritual cheerleader. He brings a reporter and cameraman into his world to show them the inner workings and daily activities of a bible-belt preacher. He admits to the reporter that although he has spent many years preaching and doing exorcisms, he does not believe in demons, ghosts or other worldly entities. A personal crisis with his own son coincides with a tragic event in Texas where a young boy was killed during an exorcism event. This event was the epiphany that made Cotton Marcus want to reveal himself as a showman, as well as, all the other self-proclaimed preachers doing exorcisms in the south. Cotton hopes to expose the falseness of exorcisms so that people will understand that they should not put their children at risk in the hands of preachers over medical professionals. Cotton invites the news crew on an exorcism, picked randomly from a stack of letters requesting spiritual intervention on behalf of loved ones. They travel to the Sweetzer farm in the Deep South to perform this exorcism charade upon a teenage girl. The film then twists and turns leading the viewer to constantly change opinions about the possessed girl as the pendulum swings both ways, in favor for an actual possession, or just a psychologically disturbed teen.
The film is impressively filmed and directed by Daniel Stamm and the lead actor, Patrick Fabian (Cotton Marcus), is charismatic and entertaining. Likewise, Ashley Bell delivered a convincing performance as Nell, the possessed teen. In most exorcism films, it is all about the last 20 minutes but this one has creepy scenes and chills that held my interest throughout. In fact, the exorcism starts about halfway through the film. The Last Exorcism has a bizarre ending like no other exorcism movie. While some viewers did not like the surprise ending, I did like it. It took a familiar film genre and entwined a new aspect into it. There have been many exorcism films made in the last 10-12 years. I like this one better than most of the glossy, slick production films of the same genre that have been released.