Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Last Exorcism Part II Review: Yet another unnecessary horror sequel

Dir. Ed Gass-Donnelly
88 Minutes
Rated PG-13

This is the definition of an unneeded sequel.  The LAST Exorcism.  I guess the exorcizing in the first film was a lie.  Because there is clearly a second, totally separate exorcism going on in this one.  Anyway, I was a huge fan of the original movie directed by Daniel Stamm - it was a genuinely creepy, unique take on both the found footage and possession genres.  Part II takes place immediately after the first left off, only this time it's just a normal movie - no documentary crew this time.  Minor spoilers: Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell), having escaped from the farmhouse, has forgotten everything about her past and ends up in a group home for girls.  She starts to slowly integrate into normal life, making friends, getting a job, etc. but in the back of her mind, she knows the DEMON wants to fucking GET her.  Throw in some terrible dialogue and questionable CGI, and you've got The Last Exorcism Part II.

This movie sucked.  All of the originality of the first is stripped away, resulting in this bland, boring, at times nonsensical, assembly line horror flick.  On a pure script level it lacks any sort of suspense or meaning.  The first film was brilliant in that you weren't sure if this girl was actually possessed or if she was just crazy.  The reverend himself Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) didn't believe in demons and performed exorcisms as a sort of parlor trick - so when he starts seeing what looks like a "real" possession, his faith is tested and there's a richness added to the character.  In Part II, nothing has any kind of depth.  It's all basic jump scares, with hardly anything resembling real people.

If there is a saving grace of this movie it would be Ashley Bell.  She is certainly playing below her talent level, and I really wish she will get better roles in the future.  Although the script is just poor, Bell's delivery heightened it a little (at least for me).  She kind of reminded me of Saoise Ronan in Hanna in that after being kept isolated for so long she was finally experiencing the outside world;  although in Hanna those moments were well thought out and realized and here it seems like Bell was making something out of nothing.  Remember, this is the same woman who performed that iconic shot in the first movie where she bent her back...back.  If I recall correctly, that move was improvised by her during her casting audition.  If only she could get a good role (on Wikipedia, it says the only thing she's set to star in is a direct-to-video title The Marine 3: Homefront. You know that has to be good.)

It wasn't necessarily a badly shot/put together film, it just had nothing on the page.  I guess it's that time of the year where studios churn out cheap horror movies and get quick cash.  Texas Chainsaw 3D, Dark Skies, Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia...enough already!  And how the hell can you have a haunting in Connecticut, while the ghosts are from Georgia?!  What are they on vacation or something?  Little to no thought went into this movie, and as a horror fan it's upsetting.  I do have to say though: that is one badass poster.  1000 points to the poster designer.

Rating: D

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