Movie Marathon #20: The Last Exorcism

by thethreepennyguignol

As we move into the last ten days of my movie marathon, I’ve decided to bring up a movie I feel very strongly about. As if I hadn’t run out of them already.

I have very fond memories of The Last Exorcism, primarily because it’s the first horror film I ever had the pleasure of seeing in the cinema (and also because there was briefly a Sweded version in the works, my main memories of which involve birthing a troll doll and running around the woods with some big axes until we aroused enough suspicion to retire back into the shadows. And my brother delivering a monotone “No” in every scene.). It terrified the living hell out of me, and really sparked my interest in seeking out movies that genuinely made me uncomfortable to watch. I believe my viewing companion left the cinema with my nail marks in his arm, but I could equally be remembering my reaction to Sean Penn in Milk (vis; I hate Sean Penn).

I’m not convinced it’s a great film. Certainly, the first two acts- detailing a Reverend who has lost is faith but ends up involved in what appears to be a real demon possession- is adequatley interesting, poking some mild fun at the scores of exorcism movies that have infected our screens since Max von Sydow’s mother first sucked cocks in hell. And there are some pretty unnerving sequences-such as one where the main character beats a cat to death with a handheld camera, producing a really seasick, surreal affect that seemed to be lacking in most of the rest of the film.

However, the film fell flat on it’s face with the third act. Descending into possesed demon baby birth, redneck cults and Caleb Landry Jones sprinting around the woods slicing people up with big knives. As my viewing companion pointed out, it’s one of many films that could have the ending replaced with a choir singing “Everybody dies; THE END” in sonorously drawn-out monotone. All that said, there will always be a small place in my heart for The Last Exorcism. Crap as it is, it threw me down a mouldy well of horror that I never totally got out of.