Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Cinema Review: The Last Exorcism

German director Daniel Stamm thrusts himself into the limelight with the Eli Roth produced docu-horror The Last Exorcism, proving a little more successfully than most other possession-related flicks.

A distinguished but doubtful minister agrees for a documentary team to film his last exorcism. Heading to the middle of nowhere, teen Nell shows signs of possession, but is it down to a troubled upbringing, or the Devil himself?

Hamming it up instantly, renowned Minister Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) tells stories of his childhood, his family line and, surprisingly, how much he disbelieves in the fad revolving around certain beliefs involved in exorcisms. A light and downright comedic opening is unexpected, but enough character development is given for Cotton to enlighten; arrogant and overconfident yet sufficiently entertaining, maintaining intrigue throughout.

Overly trusting, Cotton is invited to the Sweetzer farm where Nell (Ashley Bell), her father (Louis Herthrum) and brother reside. Curious animal killings set off a string of predictably eerie incidents, with Stamm's brilliantly constructed scenes growing all the more intense and nauseatingly distressing. Bell's uncorrupted, sinless character is cute, understanding and most importantly relatable, making certain sequences painfully horrifying to watch. While Nell never truly turns Regan-like, her experiences aren't all too original. Similarities to courtroom drama The Exorcism of Emily Rose will undoubtedly be made, but it's the build up Nell, Cotton and the rest of our characters go through, and the make-or-break ending that will split audiences.

When submerged in darkness, the docu-horror aspect proves most successful. Creeping around the distinctly unnerving farmhouse, Cotton and his team brave teen angst that only the Twilight gang could dream of. Tightly-wound yet cautiously paced thrills are steadily dotted throughout Stamm's feature, leading up to the ambitious ending, leaving more to the imagination than most are guaranteed to expect. Fresh and entirely unforeseen, the events unfolding trail into Blair Witch territory, with the facts blurred and the outcome unsure. Satanic entities, cults, possession and pure evil. Nothing is certain, but here's hoping the uneasiness of the ending isn't spoilt with a no-good, clich├ęd sequel.

Stamm's nail-biter will leave you nattering away with the conclusion. Whether positive or negative, this slyly written, faux documentary is chilling, fiendish and an admirable addition to the collection of handheld horrors and possession flicks.

1 comment:

  1. The Last Exorcism was such a great movie! Really makes you think, and makes me want to see it again just to put the pieces together!