The Last Exorcism: My Thoughts

The Last Exorcism Impressions

I got a chance to check out the Eli Roth produced “The Last Exorcism” last night so I figured I’d give a quick rundown on my thoughts. I really hate calling these things reviews because I don’t like the stigma that comes with movie critics. This is my opinion of the movie and what I saw, some of you will agree with it and some of you won’t. Maybe you’ll agree with some of the things I say, but not others and I totally respect that because clearly not everyone has the same taste in movies, and that’s not a bad thing.

If you’re not sure who Eli Roth is he’s the man behind such flicks as Cabin Fever, Hostel and Hostel II. He’s also had some bit acting roles in movies like Piranha 3-D and Cabin Fever, but more notably he played The Bear Jew in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds. Basically if you’re into the horror genre you’ve probably heard this guys name and could recognize his face. In this instance he’s only on as a producer with Daniel Stamm behind the camera.

The movie follows a documentary film crew as they learn about fake exorcisms and how one preacher uses smoke and mirrors to “help” rid people of their demons. I don’t want to give too much away so I’m going to keep the plot light, but at it’s core that’s what it is. So after receiving a letter from a man a few towns over, they head out to perform an exorcism, or basically fake an exorcism, to help a young girl.

I know what you’re probably thinking, “Really, another found footage/documentary style horror movie…” and honestly I’m starting to feel the same way. I’m a huge fan of The Blair Witch Project, not necessarily because it was the greatest movie in the world, but for it’s originality in it’s presentation. Before that movie came out the only other one that I know of that was similar was Cannibal Holocaust and that didn’t really play as well due to the graphic nature of it. So needless to say I’ve been a fan of the creativity that comes with the “found footage/documentary” style movies. I thought Paranormal Activity was very well done, I thought Cloverfield was good as well for a higher budget go at the genre, but upon hearing that “The Last Exorcism” was being hailed as amazing and was yet another movie of this type, I was a little skeptical.

I will say that Lionsgate did a tremendous job of marketing the movie because I wasn’t even really sure what it was completely about before going into it. I essentially thought it was the documentation of a real exorcism, which isn’t really the case as I mentioned above. So kudos to you Lionsgate for filling the seats and pulling in $20+ million opening weekend. I hope this leads to more low budget movies like this getting attention.

My thoughts on the movie are a little mixed, to be honest. While I was watching it I felt like the first hour or so kind of dragged, but after it ended and I think back on it, the first hour was actually a really good setup for the last act of the movie, so I don’t feel as cheated as I may have felt while watching it. I felt like there were more subtle scare moments in the first couple acts of Paranormal Activity than there were in this film, but the last 30 minutes or so of this flick delivered more than PA. I thought the story was pretty interesting and pretty well written. I thought most of the acting was good, but since it’s a documentary style film the acting doesn’t have to be perfect because we’re supposed to believe that they aren’t actors. From a technical aspect when it came to editing and sound I was a little disappointed, but I’m sure 99% of people won’t be bothered by the few things that bothered me. For example, the use of music I thought took away from the realism of the film. Just comparing to other movies of this style, they normally don’t have soundtracks playing because there wouldn’t be music playing, unless there was a source within the actual setting of the movie, so this was a little distracting to me. I was also able to pick up on a few moments where there was obviously a scene cut together in a creative manner to make it look like it was one continuous shot. But again, I know this has to be done and 99% of people aren’t going to notice it.

Despite it’s few minor flaws I thought it was a good flick. As far as the ending goes, since that seems to be what everyone is talking about, I didn’t really see how it could have ended any other way and honestly it was pretty predictable, but not bad by any means. I thank Eli Roth for putting this one together and getting it out to the masses and I thank Lionsgate for taking a chance on an independent horror movie. And if either of you ever read this and want to support another little guy, I have a pitch for you if you’re wiling to listen, haha.