Features, Film, Review | by — September 1, 2010

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by Marko Domazet

I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but here are the things I know:

– Eli Roth has a bad taste in women (see: Peaches Geldof), but good taste in casting actresses (see: Last Exorcism, The)

– Eli Roth has better taste when it comes to making horror films (see: Hostel, Cabin Fever)

With that in mind The Last Exorcism, Roth’s latest horror offering, kind of touches upon all of the above points. The documentary style flick (think Blair Witch, but with a hell of a lot less shaking), tells the story of Rev. Cotton Marcus, a man who’s lost faith in the more evangelical aspects of his work. By taking the part in a documentary he agrees to perform one last exorcism and expose the fake and theatrical elements of his work. Said and done, Cotton and the tiny film crew respond to a plea from Louis Sweetzer, a farmer convinced his daughter Nell is possessed by a demon. Dead livestock, freaked out virginal daughter, a moody son and a farm in the middle of nowhere could mean trouble, but Cotton soldiers on and performs the exorcism thinking he’s done the family a huge favour.

Needless to say, one exorcism isn’t enough and without giving away too much of the plot, Cotton and the crew are forced back to the farm. Questions such as whether Nell is being abused by her family, if Louis Sweetzer is a physically dangerous man and if there is anything else to fear are asked in clever ways whilst a whole lot of mysterious things happen around the film crew and Cotton.

In addition to the way the story unfolds, the solid performances (in particular Ashley Bell in the role of Nell) are another key element as to why this slow paced horror works for so long. The fact that it’s presented as a series of rushes adds to the story as well and although it all goes down a rather traditional route towards the end, The Last Exorcism is still well worth seeing if you’re up for a scary autumnal mid-week treat!

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