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Home | Film Reviews | Film Review: The Last Exorcism (2010)

Film Review: The Last Exorcism (2010)

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A shyster reverend with financial problems decides to answer the plea of a farmer & remove his daughter from under the influence of a demonic possession. He decides to bring a film crew along with him to chronicle the exorcism for financial gain.


A great & grand f*ck you to all of my acolytes & minions today! It is I The Black Saint back with a review of “The Last Exorcism”. A film that it was my misfortune to watch at a private screening tonight. Why do I refer to it as a misfortune? I’ll get to that in a sec or two but first I have to describe why I was ready to be completely terrified & ended up completely non plussed.

This may be a shock to all of you but your favorite saint does have a phobia or two. One of them is deep water, don’t like going into water where I can’t see the bottom. I think “Piranha 3D” will only enhance that fear but that’s for another time.

I also have an “Possessed by Satan” film phobia. Ever since I saw “The Exorcist” when I was 9(!) years old & it traumatized me, I have not been able to stomach any kind of “Possession” movie at all. Even the really crappy ones of which there are too many to even begin to list here. True, I am The Black Saint & Satan might be a buddy of mine but he does his thing & I do mine, you know what I mean?

So here I am & I get to the screening 20 minutes before it starts & suddenly a perfectly blue sky turns black & rain pours down from the sky & thunder rolls across the skies & I gotta wonder: “Is somebody trying to tell me something”? Then I decide to go to the concession stand for my customary bag of M & M’s & pretzel nuggets when I decide to add a blue raspberry icee to drink. Now mind you I usually get a diet coke but whenever I take the little saint to the movies it’s what he drinks & he loves em’ so I figured I’d try one. I place my order & get the drink first, now I don’t know what you guys know about icee’s but they’re frozen drinks..sorta like slushees I guess. As the lady behind the counter gets the rest of my order the icee suddenly starts to bubble over the top of the cup & make a big blue mess all over the counter. Mind you she hadn’t filled it up to the top of the cup either. It was as if something was pushing the drink up from underneath the counter. Somebody like…SATAN!?!

But I ignore the strange goings on & get to my seat with a couple of buds of mine (That’s right, although I truly hate people I do have a few of them that I suffer…barely). We’re waiting for the film to start when I realize that we are literally surrounded by a group of very loud transsexuals. Now before I continue let me point out that I have absolutely no problem with homosexuals, transsexuals or any other kind of people. All of you are beneath me anyway so why would I care? But I hate loud people period. And it seems to me that these people seem to feel they have to be louder & more flamboyant than the next one. I suffered it for the time being but once the movie starts everybody better shut the f*ck up. I don’t give a f*ck who you are. The Saint enjoys his silence & really hates people who talk at a movie. It was at that point that I realized that this screening was taking place in the Chelsea part of Manhattan & the theatre is probably full of gay/lesbian film fans. But it’s all good as long as they quiet down once the movie starts.

Lo & behold the movie started. Well not actually, what we got was an introduction to the movie by one of it’s producers the semi-talented Eli Roth who has notified us that we were among the first to see the film & how excited he was for us to be able to view the wonderfully scary film that was about to follow. He did have one caveat though. He asked us to go straight home & sign on to our Twitter accounts & spread the word about how good the movie was. According to him, word of mouth is the best promotional tool horror films have to be successful & make him a whole bunch of money. So we were being charged with promoting the film as well. Great, I just love helping Eli make money. By the way all the trannies were begging Eli to take his shirt off..out loud. If only I had a portable scythe…

Now we get to the movie. “The Last Exorcism” is the story of the right Reverend Cotton Marcus played by Patrick Fabian. An admitted scam artist who is all too willing to tell the film crew about how gullible people are & how he can concoct a sermon about anything, which he does when he is bet $20 he can insert the recipe for Banana Bread into a sermon & then does it most convincingly. It’s one of the better scenes
in the movie.

I should note at this point that this film is shot in cinema verite style. That meaning basically that there’s a whole lot of shaky cam going on here. It doesn’t bother me at all but there may be a few of you who might get nauseous watching it.

We are (slowly) introduced to his family. His wife Shanna (Shanna Firestall) & son (John Wright Jr) who suffers from a hearing disability because of a premature birth. Even the child knows that his father is a fraud. When asked if he believes in ghosts he says no. When he is asked if he believes his father believes in ghosts the child just smiles & puts his finger to his lips. Cotton’s dad shows off a book called the Hortis something or other & claims that there are “only 25” of them in existence. It is a book listing various types of demons & how to get rid of them. It’s a book Cotton takes with him when he accepts the pleas of farmer Louis Sweetzer who sends him a letter asking him to rid his daughter of a demon that has her in his grasp.

At this point I’m still interested in the goings on but it is slow going & I’m waiting for some good Exorcism sh*t to go down. Cotton packs his car & his film crew & goes to Baton Rouge to assess the state of the young girl Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell, who looks a hell of a lot like Michael Cera in a wig). She seems sweet enough, 16 yrs old & all rosy cheeked. Unfortunately every morning there’s another one of dad’s animals mutilated & sweet little Nell covered in blood not knowing where it came from.

At this point in the film Cotton runs some tests on the girl to decide whether or not she is possessed or not. These “Tests” are comprised of listening to her heartbeat, feeling a lump in the back of her neck (Shades of The Manitou)! & placing her feet in a basin of water which promptly starts to boil. Cotton declares her possessed by a demon & will perform the exorcism shortly after he prepares himself. It is here where we see Cotton prepare the room he plans on performing the exorcism in & how he rigs it & his paraphernalia to make it seem that he is performing what is being asked of him.

The ritual takes place & all of Cotton’s tricks go off like clockwork. He claims that the girl is possessed by the demon known as “Abalam”. A most heinous demon whose specialty is “Defiling The Flesh Of The Innocent”. If you got this bad boy in you death is the only way to salvation unless you got yourself good old Cotton Marcus to help you out, for a price…

Cotton declares Nell free of the demon & accepts what seems to be a fairly hefty payment for his duties. When he returns to his hotel room he gets a call from his wife asking about an outstanding bill that hasn’t been paid yet although Cotton swears it was. It’s not a secret to anyone watching the movie that Cotton is a shyster. But he obviously isn’t a very good one if he has bills coming back to haunt him.

Suddenly Cotton’s sound lady Iris (Iris Reisen) looks out the window & sees Nell standing there watching them, standing perfectly still. They go to her & return her home where it is suggested that maybe she should see a Doctor. It is here that we find out that Nell is pregnant…but by who? Iris believes it’s her father & her father believes that it was good old Abalam. He reminds Cotton of what he claimed was Abalam’s specialty: Defiling the innocent.

I can’t go into it much more than that without spoiling the “Twist” ending but i will make a few salient comments about the film itself & the nature of Horrorwood in general. Firstly, scenes that are in the commercial & trailers for the film are not in the movie. i mean some of the scary sh*t in the trailer isn’t in the movie. Why is this? As a matter of fact the poster for the film has Nell bent over backwards in an impossible fashion & that scene isn’t in the movie either but it’s in the trailer. Classic case of bait & switch folks. I really hate sh*t like that & it is noticed by a smart audience.

Secondly, besides a few jump scares in the movie it just isn’t scary! Come on people..How can you f*ck up an exorcism movie? The acting doesn’t have to be good, The script can suck but you can still make a way scarier movie just by throwing in some spinning heads or something like that.

Thirdly, if you’re not gonna deliver the scares then write a movie that makes a little more sense & isn’t a mash up of a few different movies. “ace With The Devil” with Peter Fonda & Warren Oates came to my mind as the film ended. If you’re not going to be scary be original dammit.

Finally, a film dealing with this topic cannot be rated PG-13 & be scary. It just can’t be done. Making this film PG-13 only assures that teens will get in to see it. But they’re gonna hate it. Trust me on this one Horrorwood. This movie needed to be a hard R for sure. PG-13 just tells me that you guys wussed out like pussies & wanna make a quick buck. I’m ashamed of director Daniel Stamm, writers Huck Bates & Andrew Gurland & most ashamed of Eli Roth’s involvement in this picture. The way he was pleading with us in his intro to give the film good word of mouth proves the point that he has no faith in the picture either. He just wants to pull a Steve Miller and “Take The MoneY & Run”. Fuck all 4 of them.

Originality is a scarce resource in Horrorwood nowadays. I understand that. But there hasn’t been a good film of this type since the original “Exorcist”. So if you’re not going to add something to the plot to make it original or at the very least scary then why make it? All these schmucks did was cherry pick bits & pieces of other, better movies & claim them for themselves. I’m hoping Abalam pays them all a visit, I
know I might….

So yours truly gives “The Last Exorcism” 1 1/2 Shrouds. The performances were believable & what scares there were made a few people jump & squeal a bit. But cannot recommend this to you my acolytes in bad faith. It’s a bad movie & deserves to flop terribly for fooling us into believing it was going to be greater than the sum of it’s parts. And to think the tag line is “Believe In Him”. Fuck that noise!! Believe in me, The Black Saint for i will never steer you wrong my minions. My word is law & truthful. If I say it…I mean it.

So with this sh*tbag of a movie behind me i think I’ll return to my mausoleum. Maybe I’ll give Abalam a call & we can play a few rounds of canasta. i don’t think he’s gonna like the way he’s portrayed in this movie that’s for sure. I’ll let him win a few rounds so he doesn’t go buck wild on the filmmakers collective asses.

And remember people, only you can stop forest fires, Mcdonalds $.99 cent Sweet Tea is awesome & most of all don’t forget your nightly prayers…TO ME!!

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