The Last Exorcism: A Preacher Heads Down To Louisiana

‘The Last Exorcism’ is a found footage supernatural horror film about Preacher Cotton Marcus, (Patrick Fabian), a man who has lost his faith in exorcism after reading about how a young boy lost his life during one, as a result of this Cotton tries to make a documentary film exposing the practice for the sham he believes it to be. While doing this Cotton meets Nell, (Ashley Bell), a young woman who believes she is possessed by the Devil.

‘The Last Exorcism’ is special, in a sea of possession film each more alike than the next this film stands out and, it is not just because it has a unique gimmick in its documentary-style as this was during the found footage craze, no no the thing that makes this film so good is that for a good 85% of the film you don’t know whether Nell actually is possessed or if she has been the victim of abuse and, as a result, is mentally unwell.

The horror sequences in the film are incredibly strong, Horror Master Eli Roth was heavily involved with the making of this film and, it is clear to see. However, this film does not suffer from Roth’s, often criticised, overuse of gore; instead, it builds its scares through character and, the atmosphere.

Said characters are well done mainly Cotton, Nell and, Nell’s father Louis, (Louis Herthum), are the ones I would single out for praise. Fabian makes for an excellent preacher as well as a conman he also delivers a masterful performance in the film’s third act when his faith is proven to be true; he makes for a thought-provoking lead. Bell does incredibly well in her portrayal of Nell capturing her childlike innocence but, also being a believable physical threat in the possession sequences being not only creepy but, menacing as well; which makes for a nice duality.
Herthum’s praise comes as a result of a sequence when he pursues Cotton and, co around the farm with a gun this one sequence is more tense and, nervewracking then all the possession scenes that follow; which isn’t to say they aren’t scary as well.

The ending of the film as well also helps to add a nice sense of hopelessness to the film, suggesting the idea that no matter what Cotton did it was always going to end the same way; which personally I greatly enjoyed.

Overall this is an underrated horror gem, often discounted by people thinking, “oh this is just another possession film”, but if you watch this film and, give it a chance you will see that it is one of the finest horror films of recent memory.


Reviewed by Luke

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