The Last Exorcism Part II - Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
IF Daniel Stamm’s The Last Exorcism was one of the better examples of a found footage horror film that genuinely chilled, then it’s all the more disappointing that Ed Gass-Donnelly’s follow-up fails to feel like anything other than a pointless sequel.
Hopes had been high once producer Eli Roth had chosen Donnelly to direct, given both the critical warmth that had been given to his Small Town Murder Songs and his decision to approach the follow-up with more of a Roman Polanski/Rosemary’s Baby approach in mind. His decision to dispense with the found footage format also seemed wise too.
But while far from being a retread, The Last Exorcism Part II panders to one too many genre cliches, relies too heavily on jump scare tactics and crawls along at a relatively sluggish pace. And that’s despite another great central performance from returning cast member Ashley Bell.
The story picks up as Nell (Bell) is found in New Orleans and placed in a halfway house to begin her rehabilitation, where she is encouraged to put the past behind her and make her own choices about faith.
But just as her life appears to be getting back on track and romance is about to blossom with a co-worker (Spencer Treat Clark), Nell begins to notice weird things starting to happen and soon realises that the demon from the first film is far from finished with her.
Gass-Donnelly’s film works best when examining the inner turmoil surrounding Nell’s conflict of faith, thereby allowing Bell to tap into the terror and confusion of her predicament. But he also seems a little too distracted by the need to throw in scares every so often, most of which are false alarms or way too telegraphed.
There’s not enough to genuinely disturb in the horror stakes while the science versus religion debate and questions of faith that so marked out the original are only really paid lip service here.
Gass-Donnelly attempts to go for broke during the final 20 minutes, in which Nell finally has her showdown with the evil force, but even that feels contrived and struggles to deliver a climax that’s anything other than cheap and underwhelming.
The Last Exorcism Part II is therefore yet another case of franchise desperation that ought never to have been entertained.
Running time: 88mins
UK Release Date: June 7, 2013
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