Movie Review: “The Last Exorcism Part II” – Unfinished Business

Written by Leo Panasyuk March 03, 2013

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It’s maybe not for me to question what goes on in the minds of Hollywood execs and producers, but when you make a movie like “The Last Exorcism”, such a title doesn’t exactly warrant a sequel. Such is not the case, however, with Ed-Gass Donnely’s “The Last Exorcism Part II”. Now while I was originally skeptical about this film because it falls into the pile of the other thousand exorcism films Hollywood churns out annually, skepticism became interest. I really had hopes for the sequel because it looked as if they were taking it in a new-ish direction but in the end, my hopes were dashed.

“He Has Great Plans For You…”

“The Last Exorcism Part II” picks up where the first film left off – Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell) escaping from her cult family in the woods and emerging back in society. Nell is still traumatized by her experiences with Abalam, the demon who possessed her, and struggles with putting this dark past behind her. When she is taken in by Frank Merle (Muse Watson), a man who runs a home for troubled youth, things begin to turn around for Nell as she makes friends and learns to live a normal life. But it’s not long before strange things start happening to Nell and she begins to realize Abalam is still possessing her.

When you see it...

When you see it…

I Guess ‘Sequel’ is the New ‘Last’

I was happy to see that this film ditched the whole found-footage approach that was present in the first film. The absence of shaky cam, awkward commentary, and silly jump cuts were certainly a welcome change. I wouldn’t say the cinematography was anything to boast of, but certain scenes were made quite tense by the camera-work. With that in mind, this film wasn’t the scariest thing I’ve ever seen, but it did have some genuinely creepy moments. There were also some subtle undertones of rape I detected in the film that were never really brought into much light, but were present enough to make it awkward. Apart from the many (annoying) jump scares, it was the atmosphere of the film that really made me uncomfortable – in a good way. Then there were the things that made me uncomfortable in a bad way.

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Almost the entire supporting cast felt awkward in their roles, their dialogue, and line-delivery really could have used some work. While the character of Frank really seemed like he was trying to be the father figure Nell needed, his performance was submerged beneath the awkward performances of Nell’s love interest Chris (Spencer Treat Clark) and fellow housemate Gwen (Julia Garner). There’s also the typical secret order who wish to help Nell, but they are so underdeveloped that they’re hardly believable. Nell’s performance, however, fares better than that of her supporting cast. She’s naïve, scared and cautious and I believe these were her strongest traits (yes, I know that sounds weird but it’s true). She’s believable in the fact that she is a woman trying to integrate into society for the first time and be social and, at times, you do feel sorry for what she has been through and wish her well. She also bears the appearance of the most innocent-looking person you can imagine, which I believe really helped her performance.

Is the Demon Really Gone?

While this film had strong points in terms of the overall tone and in the lead character of Nell, there were far too many weak points to create an even balance. And with the inclusion of one of the absolute worst endings I have ever seen, “The Last Exorcism Part II” is yet another example of the dying exorcism sub-genre Hollywood seriously needs to put down. But if you’re just looking for some cheap scares and something to whet your horror appetite, I guess it’d be wrong of me not to recommend this. Here’s hoping no one’s penning “The Last Exorcism Part III” any time soon…

My Rating: 4.5/10

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About Leo Panasyuk

A fan of all things film, Leo never really lets himself get tied down to one specific genre. He's always interested in watching new and old films and especially loves the IMAX format. When he's not choosing which movie to watch next, he's studying Film and English at Western University.

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