Screen Gems Movie Reviews
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The Last Exorcism August 27, 2010
The Last Exorcism
Studio: Lions Gate
Rating: PG-13 for disturbing violent content and terror, some sexual references and thematic material.

"The Last Exorcism" tells the story of Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian). He's a southern preacher who has spent his life casting out demons. But there is a catch. Cotton doesn't believe in God...or the devil.

So, he invites a documentary crew to follow him and film his final act as an exorcist. He wants to show exactly how he's been fooling people for years. To expose the truth about what he's been doing.

However, Cotton still thinks he's been been a force for good.

Even though he's been perpetrating a fraud, Cotton feels that he's truly been helping people with mental problems overcome their fears. He just doesn't think their troubles are supernatural in origin.

For his final ceremony, Cotton answers a letter from desperate father. Cotton and the film crew head to Louisiana to save his daughter, a teenaged girl.

The group makes it to the farmhouse and Cotton meets Nell (Ashley Bell). She is obviously disturbed and her father Louis (Louis Herthum) thinks Satan is the root of the problem.

Although he's performed countless fake exorcisms, Cotton quickly discovers this one is going to be very, very different.

As the story moves forward, the preacher has to consider the possibility that greater powers are at work here. And that what he thought was phony might be real after all.

I have very mixed feelings about this movie. For the most part, "The Last Exorcism" is a well-made, tension-filled horror film. It's shot documentary style, like "The Blair Witch Project" and "Cloverfield." And that adds to the creepiness you feel as strange things start to happen.

On the acting side, Fabian is great as Cotton. He's genuine and likable and truly believes he is doing good deeds. As he gets mixed up with Nell you see his passion and his strength come to the surface.

Speaking of Nell, Bell is equally good. She convinces you that something is seriously wrong without the benefit of computer graphics or digital trickery. Her facial expression, screams and otherworldly movements get you believing that maybe she really is possessed.

Unfortunately, all of their good work doesn't matter. The ending of this movie is a joke. It's ridiculous to think that someone actually got paid to write this conclusion. I'm not going to give it away but it ruins the story.

It's rushed, cheap and frankly....stupid.

You can make up your own mind, but this is one of the biggest clunkers I've seen in a while.

On my rating scale, "The Last Exorcism" earns a STRIKE OUT.

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