The Last Exorcism Part II
Horror sequel is a by-the-numbers rehash of the original film’s weakest elements
The Last Exorcism was a curiosity of the found-footage genre in that it purported to be a documentary exposé of fake exorcist, the Rev Cotton Marcus. This created a believable background to the drama before the film reverted to genre expectations. The possession of Nell (Ashley Bell), therefore, worked as a pay-off to a rather nasty joke about how a minister’s disrespect of supernatural lore came back to bite him.
The Last Exorcism Part II abandons the shaky-cam aesthetic in favour of a more straightforward possession story, following Nell (Bell again) as she attempts to rebuild her life after the harrowing exorcism featured at the end of the previous film. After moving into a halfway house where her housemates’ view of her is coloured by watching disturbing online clips of her possession, Nell finds that the demon Abalam is still hungry for her soul, and she struggles to fight him off.
As with the misbegotten sequel to The Blair Witch Project, The Last Exorcism Part II is fundamentally misconceived by not using the same visual approach as the original. Since the only potential audience for this is those who liked the first film’s styling, the results are decidedly wayward; only Bell’s somnambulistic performance provides any continuity, despite the return of Eli Roth’s name on the executive producer credits.
The box office success of mediocre films like The Devil Inside and The Possession shows that this demonic possession genre is still of interest to audiences. But writer/director Ed Gass-Donnelly’s film offers little ironic edge or incisive imagery, pushing far too hard with an unpleasant emphasis on sexuality, and ending up as a by-the-numbers rehash of the original film’s weakest elements.
General release from Fri 7 Jun.