Way late review: The Last Exorcism

Hi, my name is Josh. I’m addicted to watching fake documentaries. I have to be because I detest horror films but still managed to make time for The Last Exorcism.

The synopsis does a good job summing things up:

Ready to expose his miraculous deeds as mere trickery, Rev. Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) invites a documentary crew to film his final exorcism. But when the devil actually possesses a girl’s body, Marcus must regain his faith and engage in the fight of his life.

Cotton Marcus is a unique character. He’s a man who was raised to sell the gospel (lowercase “g”). Whether that was the intent of his dad, a long time preacher, it’s hard to say. But Marcus knows where he makes his money, never mind that he doesn’t believe a word he preaches. A man has to provide for his family he argues. An odd angst exists for Marcus though. On the one hand he wants to make his money off his pretensions of faith, even going so far as to perform fake exorcisms. On the other hand he abhors those who do the same. The main target of his anger is at those who bring harm to children as a result of trying to perform exorcisms. Thus he wants to perform one last exorcism in front of the camera so he can prove that it’s nonsense and help stop the practice. Despite his sleazy tactics, the Cotton Marcus character is likeable. He has a charisma that is difficult to ignore. It’s easy to see why people would fall for Cotton Marcus’ schemes.

After Marcus’ last exorcism he’s faced with a crisis of faith. He’s forced to consider whether he’s met his match and is dealing with something supernatural. The deeper investigation into this case is interesting until about the last quarter of the movie. It is at that point everything shifts to pure horror genre. I can’t say I fault the director (Daniel Stamm). The movie is called The Last Exorcism. Expectations have to be met at some point. But therein lies the biggest problem – the movie won’t likely please the majority of horror fans as it takes too long to get to what they crave, yet it doesn’t completely satisfy people like me who are interested in the fake documentary format. Stamm takes what could have been a very good film and makes it less so by compromising the story to appease an audience he likely lost thirty minutes into the film.

 ★★★☆☆ 

This post is part of my Way late reviews. Read more reviews here.