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John’s Horror Corner: The Last Exorcism 2 (2013), is it really the last “last” exorcism?

March 3, 2013

Let’s start by addressing the obvious…the “last” exorcism “part 2.”  No.  You know what?  This is just going to upset me. That’s enough.

MY CALL:  A completely unwarranted sequel that nobody wanted and did nothing for the storyline.  [F!]  WHAT TO WATCH INSTEADThe Last Exorcism (2010)

Abandoning part 1’s director and the found footage, shaky video camera POV for a more traditional approach, part 2 picks up right where The Last Exorcism left off.  The day after Cotton and his cameraman bit the dust at the cult rally during Abalam’s “birth”, 17 year old Nell (the possessed farm girl from part 1, Ashley Bell; The Last Exorcism) is found in a neighbor’s house under severe psychological shock.

Nell is taken to a transitional home (sort of a juvenile halfway house) for troubled girls after being diagnosed as the victim of cult abuse.  Eventually she starts acclimating to a less simple, superstitious, God-fearing world to which she’d never been exposed; a world with boys, jobs, YouTube, catty roommates, alternative music and iPods.

During Nell’s social rehabilitation she begins to have visions and strange things start happening.  The delusions are a mix of warnings about the demon Abalam and others of some force (presumably Abalam) coming to claim her.  Her caretaker thinks she’s unstable, but Nell eventually finds members of some kind of good cult who wish to help by dispatching her demon–resulting in a ritual which is similar to an exorcism.

Attempts to set a creepy mood with eerie special effects largely fail.  There is almost no action outside of Nell’s vision-induced hysteria and, worse, I never felt any suspense or shock.  This movie wasn’t scary, hardly even seeming to try to be scary, nor was it interesting.  The justification of this movie was limited to one repeated notion: that Abalam wouldn’t be complete with her.  Yet I never felt nervous/worried about Abalam at any point in the movie.

So…dumb plot, ineffective effects, no suspense, and no story-based reason to really make this movie.  On top of that, this felt in no way like a possession/exorcism movie!  It was more like some scared, fragile girl being stalked by an evil force/cult/whatever.  The one upside is that this movie can stand alone for any viewer who missed part 1.

A lot of sequels don’t need to be made and, really, aren’t even wanted by the fans.  In this case, part 1 told a whole story ending with a twist and was presented as a satirical documentary in first person POV narrated by the exorcist star.  Part 2 is traditional third person POV and presented as a traditional (non-satirical) horror film.  This isn’t the continuation of a story.  This is a re-imagining of The Last Exorcism that happens to take place after The Last Exorcism with a crappy plot.  Sinister (2012) had its sequel announced before it hit Blu-ray release!  Again, I’m baffled at how they plan to continue this story.  Insidious (2010), another movie which told a whole story ending with a twist, was loved by many.  As such, I’m nervous about Insidious 2, but at least that movie ended in such a way that I can clearly see how one could extend the story instead of simply reiterating the previous installment.

When a sequel comes out and we say to ourselves “they made a sequel to that?”  That’s probably a good indication that you should skip it.  For this movie, that’s the case.  Skip it.  Don’t wait for RedBox or an HBO premiere, just skip it forever.

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