Who's seeing the 'The Last Exorcism' this weekend?
August 27th, 2010
04:51 PM ET

Who's seeing the 'The Last Exorcism' this weekend?

Anyone in the mood for a good scare?

Eli Roth’s “The Last Exorcism” opens in theaters Friday, and is reported to be in the fine tradition of other films from the sub-genre, like “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” and “The Exorcist."

Starring Ashley Bell (“United States of Tara”) as Nell Sweetzer, a 14-year-old girl with some serious possession problems living in rural Louisiana, “Exorcism” follows the cynical preacher Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) as he attempts to perform one last exorcism for a film crew documenting the practice with the intention of proving that exorcisms are all hoaxes anyway.

But of course, in this genre, as soon as you downplay something it starts to break its own neck and claim a demonic name.

Yet critics seem unresolved as to whether or not this horror flick is truly frightening, rather finding the performances to be more praise-worthy than anything else.

As Cinematical points out, “'The Last Exorcism's' tension comes from its characters and situations, not from its genre cliches like foul-mouthed demon voices or a sweaty, panting little possessed girl.” The review added, “Those dusty, tried-and-true bits are fine, but the real reason to care about the film is because it's more spiritually complex than even most faith-based films.”

Time film critic Mary Pols agreed, saying that “Exorcism” “is itself fairly shallow — the ending yields not only no real answers, but worse, no real mystery to debate on your way home from the cinema. But Fabian, an actor whose lengthy résumé has been largely limited to television work (he plays Bill's brother-in-law on 'Big Love'), gives such a cunning performance that for once, when you're whispering 'Don't go in there,' you actually mean it."

The New York Times agrees that “Exorcism" is “grounded in strong acting (with a notably unsettling performance from Caleb Landry Jones as Nell’s hovering brother) and carefully doled out shocks. Smart but never smirky, the script (by Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland) doesn’t swing for the fences, relying on dry humor and an accumulating atmosphere of psychological dysfunction.” However, the Times does note that Stamm’s direction "falters" by the end.

So it seems that if you’re ready for a fairly smart examination of faith and fear, Stamm and the "Exorcism" cast delivers – but nearly all the critics caution against a disappointing ending, so be forewarned.

If you do go to see “The Last Exorcism,” drop us a line in the comments and send in an iReport review with your thoughts – we’ll round up the best of the best on Monday.

Filed under: movies

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soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Joel

    Waited to see this movie on dvd...for $1.00....I want my dollar back! Not to mention my lost time!!! This movie was everywhere and none of it was scarry. The ending was so bad you sat through the credits trying to digest what you had just seen and all you could say was, "oh no they didn't!" Save your buck and time...walk the dog instead of watching this.

    January 8, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tinys

    Free Online movies

    October 10, 2010 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Pete

    saw it this weekend....made me motion sick...i literally threw up after the movie...most of the time i had to just look to the side to keep from getting sick....i've seen movies with that type of camera movement, but this one got me....

    August 30, 2010 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  4. sheilag

    I thought this movie wasn't worth the film is was put on. This was just another form of the Blair Witch Project. This movie made me literally sick to my stomach that I had to go to the bathroom and throw up. I told my husband that I would wait on him out in the lobby because I couldn't stomach to watch such a horrible movie. Tell everyone you know about this movie so that you can save them the pain of watching so HORRIBLE.

    August 29, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lindsay

    this movie was AWFUL! i mean...when they did a mass preview before they even let it release, did they really think it was going to be a hit? gah i want my $$ back.

    August 29, 2010 at 6:37 am | Report abuse |
  6. HUntellor

    Stopbesingle Com

    August 28, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Devildog

    This was a waste of time, film and anyone's money!! It SUCKED .... if you have not seen this movie don't waste you money, this should'nt be considered a movie but a GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 28, 2010 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mkjp

    It was an attempted cross between the exorcist and the blair witch project. i did at first enjoy the premise that this southern preacher (who had been preaching since childhood in the typical southern preaching fashion of yelling at the congregation) was attempting to debunk the practice of exorcisms. but then it was totally formulaic until the ending which was just weird and bad.

    August 28, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. GMAN4457

    I just came back from this movie! I wish I had left after 15 minutes just like so many in the theater before me. This director Daniel Stamm, well I would say go back to directing school. Perhaps it was the script was a dog. The theater that I watched this was lucky there was not a riot of people demanding their money back. You may have thought 1 or 2 or a few to be upset, but it was almost a packed crowd and we" all "felt cheated. This movie did not deliver as advertised, unless it indeed will be the "last exorcism"!!!!!

    August 28, 2010 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
  10. Sadie

    Ok yeah, the movie kept me on the edge of my seat, breathing shallow and somewhat scared but the ending? Pfffffft. Why did I bother?

    August 27, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. desertfox

    This was a HUGE disappointment. The scares and unsettled feelings throughout most of the movie are decent but the ending was so bad that when the screen went black, everybody in the movie theater sat up and yelled "IS THAT IT?" What a disappointment....definitely not worth the money I spent tonight – I should have asked for my money back.

    August 27, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • tohio194

      have to agree, was so ready for a good scare last night..... was so disappointed........... like you said i should have asked for my $$$ back..... i know we all did the same..... is that it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! sooooooooooooo disappointed...

      August 28, 2010 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  12. ljellis

    this was the worst movie I have ever seen. I would like my $15.00 back please

    August 27, 2010 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. iVoodoo

    Another quick cash grab for a studio with another yet weak attempt at this topic. There is one and only one Exorcist Film, stop tryign please

    August 27, 2010 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Obama Llama

    I liked this movie when it come out in the 70s and didn't suck

    August 27, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      This movie was absolutely terrible. It tried to build it self up and for about 40 seconds i was scared and then she said blowing job and i geeked out. last time i checked you arent supposed to geek out in a scary movie. i want my money back. i want my 2 hours back. who do i talk to for this?

      August 29, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |

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