“Exorcism” a horrific letdown

RACHEL SIMMONS – Hoof Prints Staff

What is the use in standing up for something you don’t believe in? That’s the main question behind what Reverend Cotton Marcus does every day.

In “The Last Exorcism,” Reverend Marcus is played by Patrick Fabian as the preacher’s son who started preaching and practicing exorcisms on people at a very young age. When he was interviewed prior to the exorcism, he admitted on camera that he didn’t really believe in demons and ghosts and doubted that he even had faith at all.

I was really surprised at how he basically said that he was a complete fraud and he was cheating everyone out of their money. He’s been a minister/exorcist for many years, and the whole time it was all just a mask to the public to hide his lies. This added a lot of contrast and suspense to the story, but I personally felt a little offended by his arrogance.

After being interviewed, the documentary team followed Reverend Marcus to what was supposed to be his last exorcism. He thought it would be a quick get in-get out job, he’d get paid and that would be the end of his career. Little did he know, he was in for a big surprise.

Reverend Marcus and his crew traveled to the Sweetzer farm. There they met a troubled girl named Nell, played by Ashley Bell, whose father thought she was possessed by a demon. She had been having strange symptoms and random sleepwalks. It was when Nell started going to the barn in her sleep and murdering the livestock that her father, played by Louis Herthum, contacted Reverend Marcus.

Marcus set up his props, such as hidden speakers and a crucifix that is fixed to blow out steam when you press a button. The props worked successfully through the first exorcism attempt. Nell and her father were very relieved and convinced that things would return to normal. Later that night, Nell paid an unexpected visit to Reverend Marcus’ hotel room that would change his outlook on demons for what turned out to be the rest of his life.

After several more failed attempts at trying to cure poor Nell, things only began to get worse. She started attacking actual humans instead of just livestock and everyone started to get even more concerned. She had a few outbursts and not only continued to hurt others, but began to hurt herself as well.

I was very impressed with Nell’s outbursts. Ashley Bell is double-jointed and all of the outrageous positions in the movie are, in fact, performed with her own talented abilities. It was also nice to watch something that was actually believable. There wasn’t tons of gore or scary monsters, which was a definite plus.

What I did not care for was the style of directing chosen for this movie. Throughout the film, it is a documentary. The camera man did not have a steady hand, and at times the sound quality was very poor. As I mentioned earlier, I took offense to the way the Reverend was a complete fraud and didn’t have true faith in his heart, yet he was passing himself off to be a wonderful minister of God’s word.

Though I will not reveal how this story ends, I will say that the last 20 minutes were a complete and utter let-down. They fell right back into the fictional horror movie theme, and did not go along with the rest of the plot. It was also very confusing with everything ending the way it did.

All in all, I would have to give “The Last Exorcism” a neigh. Though there were a few highlights, I just couldn’t deal with all of the cons. It was a poor choice of directing and an extremely disappointing ending. I just wish those few bugs could’ve been worked out because this movie definitely has five-star potential.