Quoting Jérémie's review on G2unit
Jérémie / JackSlater wrote:The Last Exorcism is the latest movie of this weird new wave that consists of filming fake documentary, sometimes for the better (Rec), most often for the worst (Paranormal Activity, The Fourth Kind, Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield….). The concept is to shoot the movie at the first person aiming to bring authenticity to the story, to make it more real.
The horror movie genre is therefore the greatest ground for this kind of shooting. The goal is to make a paranormal event looks real so it can fright you. But they practically all failed by forgetting that movies are visual, so if you show nothing to the audience except some shadows, your audience grow bored. It’s false documentary : mockumentary. Most of then are “found footages”. The Last Exorcism at least takes a more original path.
The film follows reverend Cotton Marcus. After a child has died during an exorcism, the reverend wants a documentary to be made in order to reveal the world that exorcism is fake. He takes us on a journey to New Orleans, where he visits a very Christian farmer who hardly believes his daughter possessed by a demon. Not being able to deal with his wife's dead, this father is sinking into alcoholism while their daughter is retiring more and more from the World. In order to help this shattered family, the reverend practices a false exorcism. He intend to use the farmer's faith to convinces him through his preach to start living again. But during the night, the daughter shows up at the motel, totally disoriented and we starts to wonder if she is really possessed. As we go in the movie, we go in the fantastic genre, around that question: is the daughter really possessed? or does she pretend to get attention from an entourage she doesn't know anymore how to reach?
The last half hour of the movie is driving the audience between those two sides. The reverend is becoming a confident for the girl, who needs someone to take the time to listen to her, understand her feelings and help her to understand them. She catches this required attention by stealing the camera in what is supposed to be a scary sequence which turned to be pathetic (in the first meaning of the word): she gets naked so she can show that she isn’t so innocent.
Doing it in false documentary is good sense. What we see in movies is just illusion, but the documentary/making of format on its own tips the scales in favor of skepticism; for the audience the girl isn’t possessed, she can't be in the real life, can she? The end of the movie is totally different than its beginning and we are then just falling into pure horror. So what seems interesting at first is totally destroyed by the director, who in the end just wanted to scare the audience.
Well he failed! Worst; he passed next to the interesting human side of this tragedy which could have been developed forward and fall into basic easiness making his movie resuming itself to "a man finding faith after having met evil". Meh.
By ending his movie this way, he simply destroyed all the work done in the hour and half that precedes this most stupid twist ending.
Huge fail - 2/6!