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Massawyrm is compelled by THE LAST EXORCISM

Hola all. Massawyrm here. THE LAST EXORCISM is not a film that derives its power from a clever new idea or an ingrained, always palpable fear. In fact, its power doesn’t come from its horror elements at all. If I were to explain to you in basic detail the nature of this story and its twists, it’s not very likely that it would interest you outright; in all likelihood you might shrug it off as rather been-there-done-that. And you would be all the lesser for it. No, THE LAST EXORCISM isn’t a film you see for its ideas – it is a film you see for its execution. Everything that works in this film begins and ends there. What impressed me most was that this film is comprised of two different film conventions I’m really not much of a fan of – the first being that it is a Faux-cumentary, the second being a spoiler that I won’t divulge here – but it was strong enough of a narrative to not only get me past my dislike of those conventions, but forced me to fully embrace what they were doing with them. Personally, I find the Faux-cumentary style to be a cheap convention that allows your characters to simply tell the audience directly how they’re feeling rather than exposing that through their actions or cleverly written dialog. THE LAST EXORCIST skirts that weakness by instead making our protagonist a professional liar and offering a number of characters who refuse to be interviewed directly on camera. The film chronicles the intended last exorcism of Cotton, a southern, protestant preacher and complete huckster when it comes to exorcisms. He’s a con artist and after hearing one too many stories about insane preachers killing children during exorcisms instead sets out to expose the whole business as a fraud. And that’s when we meet “the possessed”. From that point on, the film is a steady stream of plot twists, freakish set pieces and genuine drama – all of it perfectly conveyed by the actors. The fate of this film rests very much in the hands of its lead, Patrick Fabian’s Cotton – a smiling, good old boy preacher who is far more shine and polish than he is holy man - and its “possessed” subject, Ashley Bell’s sheltered farm girl Nell Sweetzer. Both actors give incredible yet subtle performances that make what could have easily been a run of the mill scare fest into a rich tapestry of intrigue. Something is happening at the Sweetzer farm, but the film plays its hand close to the chest, and keeps you guessing as it puts its characters through the emotional wringer. But it is the work of director Daniel Stamm that carries this across the finish line. This couldn’t be further from an Eli Roth horror project if it tried. Unlike Eli’s previous films (as a director) which are very much about showing EVERYTHING, Stamm succeeds more with what he doesn’t show. It is a quiet, subdued film playing with big ideas but never feeling the need to revel in gore to make it scary. Rather than the gritty, over the top madness of something like the HOSTEL films, this is about scaring you with what you think you might be seeing, rather than what you actually are. And when it comes to its stunner of a conclusion, you begin to realize that what you may have seen throughout may not have been what it appears to be at all. And that’s when the discussions begin. This is a film that doesn’t just want you to discuss it; it demands that you discuss it. After our screening, three very solid theories popped in various discussions, as people began to unravel the complex combination of lies, stagecraft and the supernatural. Make no mistake – this is no run of the mill horror one off. It is the very model of what a PG-13 horror film should be: scary because of its execution, not because of its body count. Spooky, solid and well worth checking out, I strongly recommend checking this out at your earliest opportunity.
Until next time friends, Massawyrm
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Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 27, 2010, 10:18 a.m. CST

    Really?

    by DDillustration

    I'm very intrigued that people are actually liking this movie..

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Just say no to shakycam

    by NinjaRap

    In all of its forms.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 10:42 a.m. CST

    If it's half as unintentionally funny as the trailer

    by ThrowMeTheIdol

    It'll be an mst3k style comedy classic.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 10:46 a.m. CST

    "this is about scaring you with what you think you might be seei

    by D.Vader

    "this is about scaring you with what you think you might be seeing" <p> Sounds just like Blair Witch in that regard.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 10:52 a.m. CST

    Harry, Capone, now Massa...

    by HarryKnowlesNonExistentInceptionReview

    ...playing Amtrak with Roth. Who's next in line?

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 10:55 a.m. CST

    It wouldn't be so bad...

    by D.Vader

    If the site didn't advertise the hell out of the movie everytime I open a page.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 10:56 a.m. CST

    I'm warning you, AICN reporters . . .

    by Nice Marmot

    . . . the trailer and Eli Roth's name told me to stay far away. Now we have 3 positive reviews. Don't get my hopes up. Don't do it!!!

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Intrusive adverts can be blocked with a HOSTS file

    by V'Shael

    or a modern broswer, or any number of possible solutions. There's simply no need anymore to suffer at the hands of some idiot marketing exec.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 11:08 a.m. CST

    The power of Christ

    by DEVASTATORS_BALLSACK

    compels you, Harold, to write semi articulate review that dosen't involve bodY fluids or socks...

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 11:10 a.m. CST

    67% on Rotten Tomatoes

    by Sonny_Williams

    And as Jack Nicholson said in MARS ATTACKS, "2 out of 3 ain't bad!" Hard to argue with this site's reviews when they're clearly not out of step with the rest of the critical world. Not that that will stop the usual pissers and moaners here; some of you fuckers live on cynicism like normal people do oxygen.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 11:12 a.m. CST

    The power of Massa compels me

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    he's the only reviewer on this site I trust. Also, Sonny_Williams... nice Mars Attacks reference. I fucking love that movie. The bit where Danny DeVito meets Tom Jones is worthy of worship.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 11:13 a.m. CST

    there's ads?

    by spidercoz

    huh, hooray noscript <p>movie does look intriguing, I'm a sucker for a good ghost story

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 11:13 a.m. CST

    It aint unusual

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 11:14 a.m. CST

    Tom Jones

    by DEVASTATORS_BALLSACK

    Is a God among men. Don't judge me...

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 11:15 a.m. CST

    ANYONE GOTTA PEN?!?

    by D.Vader

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 11:17 a.m. CST

    this is the kinda stuff that scares me

    by BizarroJerry

    I have never been a horror movie fan, especially the slasher genre. I just have no interest in watching people get brutally murdered. I wouldn't consider my self very religious, but the satanic possessions, angels and demons kinda stuff always gets me.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 11:21 a.m. CST

    I TRUST MASSA TOO BUT THE ELI ROTH CREDIT REPELS ME

    by BringingSexyBack

    Netflix at best.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 11:31 a.m. CST

    The power of Roth

    by DEVASTATORS_BALLSACK

    Compels me not to see anything he is attached to.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 11:35 a.m. CST

    saw this last night

    by bishopfan85

    and I have to agree with Massawyrm's review of the film which gives you a very spoiler free heads up of what to expect. For me personally though, this movie falls in the category of good horror that didn't succeed in scaring me. This doesn't mean it won't work for you since I can admit that Paranormal Activity and Blair Witch Project did manage to creep me out while Cloverfield and REC both fit in the same category as The Last Exorcism. In each case I couldn't walk away saying I disliked the movie but simply had to accept that I didn't get the "jumps" that my moviegoer neighbors seemed to. Great performances on the cast part and unlike Mass I did the faux-umentary style as long as it's done successfully.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 11:37 a.m. CST

    D.Vader... Thankyou

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    I was hoping someone would finish...

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 11:43 a.m. CST

    Another fucked up bit in that film....

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    Sarah Jessica Parker doing a reverse-Godfather gag. <p> Pierce Brosnan snogging a decapitated horse head = Tim Burton Genius.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 11:45 a.m. CST

    Of course NoMoreDirtyJokes

    by D.Vader

    =)

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Blowing job?

    by DEVASTATORS_BALLSACK

    Why do they call it a "blow job" anyway? Should it not be "suck job". For shits and giggles once I had this broad I was banging at the time to blow on it for a while. Not nearly as satisfying as when she was using it to punch her tonsils. Just sayin is all.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 12:14 p.m. CST

    huh

    by Wookie_1995

    I guess I shall check this movie out when I can

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Blowjob comes from the Jazz musicians

    by D.Vader

    Who called it blowing the skin flute.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 12:18 p.m. CST

    Bad movies deserve to be spoiled....support the cause

    by WhySoSerious

    The whole movie Rev. Cotton is trying to expose possessions as pure hoax. He sees his job as a "service" to "sick people." So when I brings a documentary film crew to record his "last exorcism" and reveal the truth, he is a bit shocked when odd things start happening. Towards the end of the movie, he is finally convinced that demons are real, that he must exorcise Nell (in a barn of all places) and he goes for it. During the exorcism she does things that are physically impossible. (Prior to this we learn that she is pregnant and suspect her drunk father for it). As the supposed demon talks through Nell's mouth, he says something to her dad about a "blowing job." Cotton responds, "Any demon would know that the correct term is 'blow job.' But a 16 year old girl wouldn't. Nell, you are faking. It's ok to stop now." Blaa blaa. She stops. Tells them all a local kid from the diner knocked her up. They pack up and leave. While driving out of town, they decide to stop by the diner and talk to the kid who impregnated her. He tells them he barely knows her and that the idea is preposterous - he is gay. Cotton and his crew drive back to the farm to find the dark house empty, but some noise is going on in the woods. This is when the movie completely loses it. They sneak out to investigate and find a satanic cult ritual in progress. Nell's tiny baby is being cut out of her by the town preacher. We see it is a demon baby. The town preacher throws it into the fire, which explodes and we see a huge CG demon. (Harry, did you sleep through this part. YES, THERE IS CG IN THIS MOVIE). Cotton runs towards it with a raised cross, chanting scripture. He somehow found his faith again and now believes in demons. This is the last we see of him. The documentary crew runs into the woods in the opposite direction and are killed off. The Blair Witch ending leaves the camera running and we have no idea what happened.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 12:26 p.m. CST

    @WhySoSerious

    by Lemure_v2

    Thank you. The trailer disinterested me, but all the hype on this site has been suspicious. Now, I know not to bother.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 12:30 p.m. CST

    I have a LOT of love for MARS ATTACKS

    by Sonny_Williams

    Never understood the hate it seems to bring out in so many. It's such a twisted tale, mega-quotable, and the huge all-star cast seems to be having a fucking ball. Probably the last Tim Burton movie that totally worked for me.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 12:34 p.m. CST

    First!

    by DadTimesTwo

    I don't know what possessed me to say that.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 12:36 p.m. CST

    The power of Frist compels you!

    by Sonny_Williams

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 1:12 p.m. CST

    Thank you WhySoSerious

    by JethroBodine

    I don't usually like having movies "spolied" for me, but since this one looked like a stinker to begin with, I appreciate the heads up. This movie appears to be just as I suspected. CRAP of the highest level, praised, pitched, and promoted by a supposedly objective review website site who has close ties with the crew behind this movie, and just so happens to have ads for this movie plastered all over it. AICN, guys, you're appearing to have all of the objectivity of FOX news. C'mon Harry and Co. you can do better.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 1:14 p.m. CST

    Mars Attacks

    by Lemure_v2

    Moving on from how this talkback got on to Mars Attacks, a lot of reason for the hate is that it's an oddball movie released close to ID4. It's very hard to place it into a genre and it takes a while before the chaos starts. It's a film that deserves a revisit, (partly for Nicholson as the President) mainly to appreciate the genius that made a film based on a series of trading cards.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 1:16 p.m. CST

    At least we now know

    by Lemure_v2

    If Eli Roth is involved, AICN love it.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 1:24 p.m. CST

    Three talkbacks, same site, for THE LAST EXORCISM???

    by thegreatwhatzit

    And all are positive! No dissenting opinion. It's bad enough that you're planting valentines for Eli Roth. Equally disturbing: that a Grade-Z turd-cranker like Roth is the object of your passion (thank God we're visually shielded from your fantasies). Do something practical--enroll in a high school writing class. You owe a debt to the talkbackers of this site--without their support and wit, Ain't/News would have already crashed and burned a long time ago. The end is near...

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 1:51 p.m. CST

    You know what we need now?

    by Le Vicious Fishus

    We need THELASTEXORCISMFAN.<BR><BR>Make it so.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 1:58 p.m. CST

    They need to fire whoever cut the trailer for this.

    by Ironhelix

    I am hearing that this is a pretty solid film, but my God the trailer makes it look so stupid.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 1:59 p.m. CST

    WhySoSerious's post

    by Bouncy X

    well that explains the huge explosion from the trailers. but i dont get this "twist ending" idea critics are throwing out there. either its real or its fake and well it turns out its real. maybe its not your typical demon possession but its still a situation involving actual demons. of course thats the problem with twist endings or ones claiming to be. its emphasized so much that when you finally see the movie, there's no way it'll make the impact or be as impressive as you imagined. they should really avoid mentioning so called twists in reviews and/or trailers and leave it a surprise for the audience.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 2:15 p.m. CST

    Nothing is as good as Exorcist III or Ninth Configuration

    by picardsucks

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 2:17 p.m. CST

    Does anyone remember Constantine?

    by RPLocke

    The first 20 minutes of that movie were great. Then it just fell apart and got all weird.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 2:18 p.m. CST

    Bouncy X, you make a great point.

    by DoctorZoidberg

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 3:09 p.m. CST

    Locke, Constantine

    by MattmanReturns

    I remember Keanu flipping off the devil as he got resurrected or whatever. That part made me chuckle, but the rest of the movie was shit.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 3:12 p.m. CST

    I cannot agree.

    by HorrorFan81

    While this film DOES have terrific character and plot work, the payoff is terrible. A good idea that lasts for about 2 minutes.<p> Don't waste your time, people.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 3:25 p.m. CST

    Where the FUCK was your Vampires Suck review, Massa?!

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Not reviewing that was downright CRUEL.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 3:27 p.m. CST

    For dark is the suede that mows like...a harvest

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    What the hell does THAT mean?!

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 3:28 p.m. CST

    They made the international sign of the donut!

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    Well, they're not eating off the Van Beuren china.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 3:29 p.m. CST

    You don't eat PORK?

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    When I'm callin' YOOOOOOUUUUUUUU

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 3:54 p.m. CST

    the last 5 minutes

    by m_prevette

    Pretty much bring the entire thing down. Up until then, I was along for the ride...not scary...not terrifying, but no doubt, creepy as hell. There were some terrific unnerving moments. Then the ending, which is just lower grade B movie stuff. B movie stuff is OK and I love it...but here, it was a complete shift in tone, and pretty much relegates the movie to the failed pile. BUT - the preacher is fantastic...he was truly wonderful

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 3:59 p.m. CST

    LOL REALL> A con artist exorcist?

    by Willbraham

    LOL!!!! That's stretching it.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 5:36 p.m. CST

    They kill a kitten in this movie

    by SmokingRobot

    In the words of the great humanitarian, George Carlin, 'Fuck these people in the ass with a big, black, rubber dong until they die'. Kill all the people you want, I don't care. Kill one kitten and I'll never see your stupid fucking movie.

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 9:47 p.m. CST

    I like to play a game called "Re-Cast Keanu Reeves movies"

    by mortsleam

    I bring this up because of the opening of Constantine, which featured an exorcism, so it's sorta related. Anyway, Reeves penchant for shitty, wooden, utterly unconvincing line readings ruins every single movie he's in. The reason I like Inception more than Matrix is because at no point during Inception is a line as howlingly badly, phonily delivered as "This is crazy" or "I know Kung Fu." Cringeworthy. Rips me out of the movie every time. All I can think is how much better the Matrix would have been if, say, Brandon Lee had survived to star as Neo. Or how much better Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula would've been with a young, still unproven but very capable pre-fame Johnny Depp as Harker. Or Paul Bettany as a blonde, English Constantine. The only role I wouldn't recast is Ted 'Theodore' Logan. That's Keanu at his best. Clueless. Spouting dialog without regard to meaning or nuance. Anyone else? Who should have played Johnny Mnemonic? Or Jack the Speed Guy? Or the fucking Buddha?

  • Aug. 27, 2010, 11:28 p.m. CST

    everything m_prevette said

    by Adelai Niska

    ditto

  • Aug. 28, 2010, 4:48 p.m. CST

    so basically this film is like inception

    by TheBaxter

    with a conclusion that throws the everything previous in doubt and leads to multiple different theories about what really happened. but i thought you didn't like that kind of ending?