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Gavin Grades The Movies

The Last Exorcism

Aristotle was not only one of the best philosophical minds of all time, but he was also a caddy bitch-of-a-critic.  He invented a saying "Deus ex Machina," which is Latin for "god out of a machine."  I know that seems odd to bring up in a review for a horror film, but it basically means a great story with a horrible ending.  Aristotle HATED when he would spend the whole play getting deeply invested in the characters who find themselves in an impossibly entertaining and twisted plot just to have the whole freaking thing ruined by an ending (in his case) where a god would simply get lowered on the stage and fix everything.  It's lazy writing.  The Last Exorcism is just that!  This film is fantastic at first!  It is directed by newcomer Daniel Stamm in a mock documentary approach.  The reason for the documentary is to follow the main character, a preacher played excellently by Patrick Fabian (Big Love), in his quest to show how exorcisms are fake and religion in general is pretty much a sham.  It starts off very funny with some true laugh-out-loud moments.  He then finds himself performing a fake exorcism over the body of young Nell, who's played by the new and lovely Ashley Bell.  But we quickly learn that she might actually be possessed by a real demon.  The movie goes from funny to really scary in two seconds flat, with a scene that's more creepy than shock.  We see Bell bend and contort her body into awful and painful positions (these were real too since she has a background in ballet).  With that sudden switch in to 5th gear fear, I was hooked as an audience member.  The movie gets tense and spooky.  More and more discoveries are made about the characters that makes us think that there's more going on than just a classic ghost story about the devil in an innocent girl.  What started as a comedy, then bloomed into a horror actually starts rolling into a well-crafted mystery.  Then, as if the writers had no idea how to end it, the whole thing comes crashing down in a climax that isn't scary, isn't logical, isn't creative or even entertaining.  It's like eating a fantastic sandwich that has an aftertaste of old earwax - it's so bad it ruins the good parts.  I believe that no ending would've been better than the ending they created.  The good thing about this film though is that it continues to allow The Exorcist to rein supreme as the scariest film about possession of all time.  What they did in that movie was taboo and broke down walls of taste and preconceived notions of what horror could be. The Last Exorcism impresses at first with it working within the PG-13 perimeters but then feels stifled by them.  I understand that the mock documentary style of filmmaking is hard to squeeze an ending out of.  People bitched about the endings of Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity and Quarantine too.  But those films understood the problem and came to the conclusion that less is more and perhaps the simpler solution is the better ending.  I would agree with that and it would've helped this film.  Now I don't want anyone to think that I don't want movies to have plots twists and turns in them.  Just make sure that, as a writer, you don't get twisted up in your twists and you can still explain your way out.  An ending is more important than the whole of the film and The Last Exorcism is a prime example of that. The Last Exorcism  (Rated PG-13) Gavin Grade: C-

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08/26/2010 12:42PM
The Last Exorcism
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08/26/2010 2:56PM
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End Online » The Last Exorcism... I found your entry interesting do I've added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)...
08/28/2010 8:26AM
have you reviewed "Vampires suck" yet? i have heard mixed feelings but i am in love with the books and movies of twilight and think it would be kinda funny was it?
09/10/2010 5:22PM
@Ashley: Vampires Suck is VERY Funny i didnt go a second without cracking up at something! Wether it was Becca's teen angst or Edwards Stupidity or Jacob's hilarity! Yes, I admit it was a little stupid, but for me i love stupidity funny. Its not a major motion picture like Twilight of course But for a parody it was inpressive. It was inapropiate at times but over all since it PG-13, most of the 13 yr olds in the world should already know about s**. If u don't, Birds and the Bee's now or never. Haha! Anyway Vampires Suck is The Summer Movie, I would've chosen a diferent director though. But i saw it with my BFF Nikki. She loved it too. There's also some strong languge, But, again, 13 year olds today should be able to handle it. The plot surrounds Becca Crane (Jenn Proske) who moves to the small town of Sporks. Althought its obvious most of the population is Vampires, Becca's father is oblivious to vampires. Well you know Twilight, Becca falls in love with a vampire. And a wolf. As she deal's with her father, who treats Becca like a baby, she still has to deal with school, prom and everything life has bitten out of her (no pun intended). When Edward thinks shes dead he goes to the Voulturi in Volterra, The setting for a brutal Team Jacob(<3) Team Edward 'war'. Its awesome. In the end, you guessed it, Becca's a vampire! Its stupid.....but its FUNNY stupid! Haha!! I hope you like it! Via's Grade: A
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