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DVD Review: The Last Exorcism (2010)

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The Last Exorcism (2010)

Directed by Daniel Stamm

DVD: The Last ExorcismThe Last Exorcism is a found footage, mockumentary-style film about a disillusioned Anglican preacher and exorcist named Cotton Marcus. Cotton comes from a long line of preachers and he cast out his first demon when he was just ten-years-old. When he was older though, he realised that he did not believe in God, the Devil or possession, but he carried on with the show because he knew that the people who came to him were believers and it was Cotton's opinion that he was delivering a service to the people who needed it, in a way that they needed it, and one way or another it worked. It paid well too.

Cotton reached a turning point when he read about an autistic child who was killed during an exorcism. This shocked him so much that he decided to ‘expose exorcism for the scam that it really is’ by performing one last exorcism and allowing a film crew to film it. Unfortunately for Cotton and the camera crew his last exorcism proves to be a little more complicated than expected.

Nell Sweetzer appears to be a very sweet girl, but her father Louis is convinced that she has the Devil in her and is killing his livestock. Nell cannot remember disembowelling any cattle, but the amount of blood that it splattered on her nightdress does tend to point the finger of suspicion in her direction.

The Last Exorcism (2010)

Cotton goes ahead with his fake exorcism and, ever the professional, he makes the process appear so convincing that everyone believes that Nell is cured. Cotton believes it as well and he goes right on believing it until Nell turns up a few hours later in his hotel room. How she got there, or even knew where to find him, is a complete mystery, even to Nell.

After this unexpected turn of events Cotton suggests that Louis gets some medical help for his daughter, but stethoscopes are not renowned for their success rate when it comes to casting out evil spirits and Louis is so convinced Nell is possessed that he tells Cotton that he will save Nell himself. This convinces the preacher to repeat the exorcism because Louis’ kind of exorcism would involve a shotgun.

This time Cotton takes things more seriously and attempts a real exorcism while Nell busies herself snapping the bones in her fingers and manages to bend her back in ways that backs are just not meant to bend. Once again though, it appears that Cotton has got to the bottom of the problem, but he is wrong. Things are not what they seem and by the time Cotton realizes this it may just be too late for all concerned.

Lesley Bell in The Last Exorcism (2010)

The Last Exorcism starts of pretty slow and for the first ten minutes it really does seem like you are watching a very boring documentary about a born again atheist who want to spill the beans about the trade that he hates. The story starts to pick up though, when Cotton arrives at the Sweetzer Farm and much of the action takes place between the two exorcisms. It turns out that Nell is pregnant and at one point she tries to drown her doll in the bath, something which is perhaps not the best indication of her fitness for motherhood and the doll must feel that way too judging by all of the screaming and crying it would seem to be doing. It’s a strange doll all right and Nell is a strange girl. Heck this is strange film, but once you get the boring bit at the beginning out of the way it is pretty okay. The ending? It’s not bad, but it falls a long way short of being brilliant and it leaves a few questions unanswered, but isn’t that always the way with these found footage-type of films. The camera can only show the viewer what it has seen and it always stops filming when the last man (or woman) dies. Is it, as stated at the top of the DVD cover, the scariest movie that you’ll see all year? Well I suppose it might be if it’s the only horror film that you see all year. The Last Exorcism might make you jump a few times, and will probably surprise you in places, but is it a serious contender for the scariest movie? I don’t think so.

As with most DVDs these days there are some extras included:

 Audio commentary with the producers
 Audio commentary with the Director and actors (Ashley Bell, Patrick Fabian and Louis Herthum)
 Audio commentary with witnesses to an exorcism (haunting victim, deliverance minister and clinical psychologist)
 The Devil You Know (the making of  The Last Exorcism)
 Interview with Daniel Stamm and Patrick Fabian
 Interview with Eli Roth and Ashley Bell
 Ashley Bell audition footage
 Patrick Fabian audition footage
 Caleb Landry Jones audition footage
 Louis Herthum audition footage
 Protection prayer
 2009 Cannes Film Festival teaser trailer
 Theatrical trailer
 Real stories of exorcism

DVD: The Last Exorcism

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I was quite interested in watching the real stories of exorcism, but the warning at the begging of the footage changed my mind:

 ‘The following documentary contains audio recordings which are purported to include actual demon voices.

Our religious consultants have advised that listening to these recordings could result in adverse or unwanted contact with demonic forces.

They have suggested that viewers recite the protection prayer that can be accessed from the special features menu.’

Call me a wimp, but I read that little lot and then pressed eject.

Runtime: 87 mins
Certificate: 18 (UK), PG 13 (USA)


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