Okay--this one is DEFINITELY worth your time. It's not necessarily the greatest exorcism film ever, nor the greatest false documentary ever, nor a perfect thriller... but THE LAST EXORCISM succeeds at much of the above while also delivering some truly exceptional characters and performances.
The single greatest reason to see THE LAST EXORCISM is Patrick Fabian's portrayal of evangelist preacher/charlatan/exorcist Cotton Marcus (whose character was barely even hinted at in the trailer for this film; which, frankly, said "nothing new here" to me). Fabian leads the way with one of the most natural, charismatic and fully believable portrayals of such a character you're ever going to see on film... my guess is that the movie will win you over within the first ten minutes--by the time you get to "banana bread," you, too, will be a believer. You can guess the drill from there... Cotton allows a documentary crew to follow him as he agrees to one last "exorcism" performance (for the sake of his fellow man's peace of mind, naturally)--he cheerfully demonstrates all of his bells and whistles (he's supposedly reluctant to work on children, but that doesn't actually prevent him from subjecting her to a terrifying experience), and prepares to leave, cash in hand, demon out, gimme Hallelujah.
And then finds that he's in over his head.
The 'documentary' work is ALMOST completely convincing (one tends to notice background music where there ought to be none), and while Cotton's the star, the supporting cast is equally believable--and the 'scare' sequences are genuinely creepy. Unfortunately for THE LAST EXORCISM, it turns out to be the sort of film that doesn't require any serious pause for reflection before one can start turning it inside out... and the sadly hokey ending encourages one to do just that. The film hovers between the 'found footage' approach (CANNNIBAL HOLOCAUST, BLAIR WITCH PROJECT) and the 'finished documentary' style (DIARY OF THE DEAD) without any account of how it actually came to be--and once it's over, you're sure to start in with "But if... then how... then who...???"
Too bad. We've missed out on a classic, but we STILL have a classic character worthy of a Best (genre, at least) Actor nod... by no means should THE LAST EXORCISM be passed up altogether.
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