Starring: Ashley Bell, Julia Garner, Spencer Treat Clark, David Jensen
CHRIS – “Is it true that you’ve never had a boyfriend?”
NELL – “What? Who’s been saying that? It’s none of anyone’s business.
CHRIS – “No, I just… I think you’re really pretty. And…”
NELL – “No. No boys. I was pregnant though. But I think they took it away. Well, at least I thought I was. See, I told you I was nuts.”
In 1999, The Blair Witch Project was released. Masquerading as an unfinished documentary and winning audiences over with its found-footage style camerawork, it was massively succesful.
A year later, the inevitable sequel Book Of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 was released. Gone was the fake documentary gimmick and the first-person viewpoint, replaced with the typical glossy, commercial, high-budget presentation the first film was praised for subverting.
Most people despised the new direction the series had taken, and Blair Witch 2 was roundly panned. I actually quite liked it, but that’s for another time.
Why am I giving you this seemingly pointless history lesson? Because The Last Exorcism Part II is this decade’s Blair Witch 2. This time, however, I agree with the general consensus: it’s shite.
The film opens with the only genuinely creepy scene, in which a couple find a demonic-looking girl who’s broken into their house. It turns out this girl is Nell, the young lass possessed in the first film.
Nell is taken to a hospital and is then sent to a home for girls where she can be taken care of. There her condition starts to improve and she becomes friends with the other girls in the home.
She even begins to start enjoying ‘normal’ life, after being kept secluded by her dad and not allowed to interact with others for so long. Now she actually has friends, which feels like a whole new world is opening up for her.
She even starts getting interested in boys, with one shy lad in particular taking a fancy to her. Yes, things are looking up for Nell. Except, obviously, they aren’t.
You see, she’s still been getting the odd hint that Abalam, the demon who possessed her in the past, has come back. She sees masked men watching her, has nightmares about the events of the first film and even witnesses one of her housemates die from a bizarre seizure.
It’s pretty obvious to Nell that, try as she might to get rid of it, freaky-deaky shit is still very much present in her life.
Things are exacerbated further when the lost footage from the first film is discovered and put on YouTube, causing her housemates to find it and look at her with that look you give people when you’ve just seen a video of them being exorcised in a barn.
There may be some hope for Nell, though. A secret society called the Order of the Right Hand has been watching her and wants to help her defeat Abalam once and for all in order to prevent it returning and potentially destroying the Earth.
Can Nell and the Order get rid of the demon, or is it just too powerful and is the world as good as doomed? The answer may surprise you… if you can be arsed to make it to the end.
First of all, the sole positive: Ashley Bell is once again fantastic as Nell, and really does carry this film. She’s great at doing the whole ‘weird girl getting used to modern society’ thing and gives off a real Sissy Spacek Carrie vibe.
Literally everything else about The Last Exorcism Part II, however, sucks a watermelon through a drinking straw.
The first film may not have been the scariest film ever made – far from it, in fact – but at least it tried to make things creepy with some interesting ideas, clever plot twists and the aforementioned pseudo-documentary film style.
This, however, does away with all that, switches back to conventional Hollywood gloss and resorts time and time again to that lowest of common denominators in horror film, the jump scare.
Even worse, it’s almost always the fake jump scare: you know, the type where it isn’t even something frightening happening, just another character walking into the frame as a loud musical sting plays.
When it does try to introduce something that’s actually supposed to be scary, it’s always either dumb as fuck (a busker dressed as a statue just isn’t creepy) or an overused cliché (oh dear, your eyes have gone completely black, that old ‘five minutes on Adobe AfterEffects’ chestnut).
As if purely to complete her Possessed Bingo card, Nell even levitates while sleeping one night. No other characters are around to see it, obviously, because that would introduce some degree of horror to proceedings. Instead, the sheer sight of witnessing it yourself (and nothing else happening as a consequence of it) is apparently supposed to scare the viewer.
Then comes the exorcism itself, as in the main set-piece the entire film is named after. The Order prepares to summon Nell’s demon and transfer it to a chicken (yes, really), yet somehow what actually happens manages to be even less engaging than that already shit premise sounded.
The whole thing ends with the blatant suggestion that a third film’s on the way. However, nearly two years later we still haven’t heard the slightest murmur of The Last Exorcist Part III. And if ever there was proof that there is a God and he’s listening to our prayers, that might just be it.
The Last Exorcism Part II‘s low rating earns it a place in the notorious TWABM Hall Of Shame. Click here to see what other pishfests made the grade (or, indeed, failed to).
HOW CAN I SEE IT?
The Last Exorcism Part II is widely available in both the UK and US, so here’s some links: UK DVD, UK Blu-ray, US DVD, US Blu-ray. Alternatively, if you’re an Amazon UK Prime subscriber and are morbily curious you can stream it on Amazon Prime Instant Video as part of your subscription. You can also rent or buy a digital version at Blinkbox.
SHOW ME THE TRAILER: