As if the world needs another exorcism movie, The Last Exorcism Part II hit theaters last Friday. The sequel to 2010’s surprisingly stellar film, this movie picks up right where its predecessor left off.
However, unlike the first film, there is something stale about this one. While it was heavy on pop-out scares, Part II does not have the staying horror power The Last Exorcism had two years ago.
It begins with Nell Sweetzer, the young girl who was exorcised in the first film, alone and scared in the woods. She cannot remember what happened to her father and the rest of her family, whom were all sacrificed by a group of satanic cultists fixated on her possession of the devil.
Furthermore, Nell cannot even remember the months she spent possessed by the Satan. Forced to begin a new life, she starts adjusting without her family. But the force that took hold of Nell before comes back with a horrific vengeance, and it forces her to relive the turmoil all over again.
One of the first qualities about this film people will notice is its format. Unlike its predecessor, Part II is filmed like a normal film, not in homemade footage. This immediately exhibits the rushed and chintzy making of this sequel. Not making the two films in similar aesthetics makes the entire Last Exorcism franchise look cheap and choppy. But once viewers can adjust to the new format, the movie is not all that bad.
26-year-old Ashley Bell does an excellent job playing the frightened and frantic Nell. With every gasp, unusual twist in body and word of dialogue, Bell manages to capture the essence of a young girl lost and forced to relive the terror.
Unfortunately, she cannot save the monotony of this plot. There seems to be a formulaic layout to films like this one—girl gets possessed, priests fight demon, priest fail and cut to black screen. With a minor exception, Part II follows this layout, leaving viewers rolling their eyes at every predictable cheap thrill Director Ed Gass-Donnelly throws their way.
But don’t rule this film out yet—you will jump out of your seat, especially with its peculiar ending.
Overall, The Last Exorcism Part II is just…blah. Casual horror moviegoers will appreciate the campy and crass plot, but the horror fanatics will yawn at the trite and tedious pace of the film.