BY ARIANA POTICHNYJ
It seems as though the first-person camera/mockumentary style horror movies are starting to realize that Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project did it best, because the first difference you’ll notice between the first Last Exorcism and its shiny new sequel is that it is shot in the traditional third-person perspective. And since the horror genre has really been courting the mockumentary style for the last few years, it’s nice to see that it’s still big enough to know when to change things up.
Nell, the main character being observed in the first film, tries to have a normal life after, you know, being possessed by a powerful demon. Our young Nell, played by Ashley Bell, does try her level best to move on from the horrors of her demon-riddled past, but as you may have guessed, and as the great Enrique Iglesias said: you can run, you can hide, but you can’t escape Abalam (some slight paraphrasing).
Bell gives the audience a more fleshed out performance than the one she gave in the first one, but that could be because this time she is forced to actually act as opposed to acting like a rabid dog. My only real worry going into this film was Bell’s transition from mockumentary to not-mockumentary, but the worry was a silly one. I hope Bell is able to move on to other things outside of the horror genre, because I quite like watching her perform.
This movie works with a lot of your basic essentials for a twenty-first century demon possession movie: you have your Christianity, you have your fragile-looking lead actress, you have the American South (which continues to be the scariest place on Earth), and, of course, you have your demon. But The Last Exorcism II, it doesn’t really do anything too fantastical outside of what it was expected to deliver. It’s a safe scare. It’s got a few great scenes that will burn into your memory forever, but out of the two films of the series, if you want to see a slightly more creative twist on your run-of-the-mill demon flick, I would suggest the first Last Exorcism.
The first film, which should have really been the only Last Exorcism, offers up some twists and turns, adding in a lot of psychological thriller elements, as well as your classic genre horror. The second film, especially in comparison to the original, lacks the interesting details of a well-rounded horror film. In the first one, for example, we are shown the horrors of the incidents through the eyes of a priest who is completely corrupt. This isn’t like in The Exorcist when a priest has lost his faith, this man simply exploits people. The comparison of that complex character against the sequel’s leading role simply does not match up.
Overall, it was okay. I will always be super picky when it comes to demon possession movies (possibly because it is my not-so-secret dream to write/direct one of my own), but it was just all right. For a real scare, watch the first one. For those who frighten a little more easily and want to play it safe, The Last Exorcism II may be more your speed.
If you liked this post, you might also like: