The Last Exorcism Part II
Hopefully the last
The Last Exorcism was a great horror movie. It hopped aboard the found footage trend The Blair Witch Project institutionalized, and its low-key horror was a creepy crescendo into a haunting favorite. If only it had fulfilled its title.
Because of its success, we now have to deal with The Last Exorcism Part II, a movie whose title mocks itself. Seriously, I tried making a joke out of the title, but it just came out as the actual title. Director Ed Gass-Donnelly didn’t exactly break his back trying to live up to the original on any fathomable level. The supposed sequel wasn’t even filmed in the same format as the first one. The found footage style that made the first one special? Let’s get rid of that crap and reference it as an irrelevant plot point halfway through. Thank Abalam Ashley Bell was there to keep it somewhat watchable.
For convenience of plot, Part II forgoes found footage style to instead unfold in a film’s typical third person camera angle, which was the only option to make a sequel possible, I guess. Unless someone, you know, thought about it creatively for a second. But who has time for that? No one! The only good thing about this movie (besides Ashley Bell) is the poster. I’ve spent more than my fair share of time ogling at it. Did you know her body makes a ‘2’?
Picking up right where the last one should have left off, disturbed and possessed farm girl Ness (Bell) is discovered biting some guy’s leg and is brought down to a girls home in New Orleans for treatment. Ness has lived on the farm her whole life, and also has a demon living inside of her, so life is pretty tough down in the city. She jumps and screams every time someone talks to her, which, believe it or not, is the source for most of the scares in the movie’s opening third. I’m so sad.
As Ness tries to get by in this world, increasingly disturbing events happen to her. Abalam tries to contact her via every piece of technology within a five-mile radius. Her father comes back to the dead to blankly stare at her from across the street and say pointlessly mysterious things. The phone rings. People keep saying hi to her. It all becomes too much when a video leaks on YouTube of her demonically contorting herself into impossible shapes (like 2s!!). The video was the iconic climax of the first movie, as well as the writers’ feeble attempt to bridge a connection between the two stunningly different installments. It really did not work.
The absolute worst thing about the movie? It’s not scary. It’s the least frightening horror movie I’ve seen in a while. The film’s trailer prepared me for about 75 percent of the scares; the rest were either cheap thrills or half-hearted attempts at spooking audiences, or Ness screaming when someone greets her from off screen. There are a lot of bad horror movies out there, but I’m confident when I say The Last Exorcism Part II is quite possibly the pinnacle of trashy, generic horror. The fact that it came from a movie with such potential makes it a lot worse.
I will admit that the sequel almost provided an interesting insight to Ness’ character. What made the first film such a success was the characterization of Ness (and a few other major characters not present in the second film). She’s an innocent and charming girl who never stepped foot off her father’s farm, suddenly forced to deal with a number of unimaginable horrors. We don’t see much of normal Ness in either installment, but Bell forges a believable and terrifying character between the 250-degree backbends. She’s a massive talent. She’s also extremely good at making her face look morbidly disturbed, so good for her, making a career out of that.
We can only hope this cinematic vacancy flops hard at the box office and we won’t have to suffer through a third installment (which, given the potentially interesting premise the ending of this film provided, is quite possible). Let’s pretend this movie never happened, and wish Bell good luck as she (hopefully) moves on to better things. Professional back-bender, anyone?
Is everyone having a good Crappy Horror Movie Week? Check back Tuesday or Wednesday for my review of Part I, which was so much better than I expected it to be.