Every year, at this time of year, movie companies come out with a fresh batch of horror movies. Each year, they try to outdo each other. One of the leading concepts in the new horror movies is the “documentary” style of horror movies. This year’s first big horror movie of the year was The Last Exorcism. But is it really worth seeing?
I must say, I don’t normally get excited about horror movies. As a child, my parents allowed my older brothers and sister to watch them all, but wouldn’t allow me to see them, because I was a good bit younger. As I got older, I never quite saw the appeal. The concepts were too far-fetched for me, so I didn’t feel like I missed all that much. When I saw this movie advertised though, I was genuinely intrigued. Religion has always been one of my favorite topics, and a movie that claimed to be about demon possession and questioned whether or not exorcisms were real sounded like it was right up my alley. So my wife and I waited until we finally got a chance to see it.
It was really interesting, for the first hour. It’s the story of a preacher, Cotton Marcus, who is a leading protestant exorcist. However, he doesn’t really believe in demons, and recently realized he doesn’t even believe in God anymore. So he decided to film an exorcism, and then come clean to the world, and confess that he is a fraud. The people he claimed to heal are good natured, but confused, people. He receives a letter from a man, who claims his daughter was possessed. The famed pastor decides this is the perfect case, for his last exorcism, and heads off on his epic journey.
Being a horror movie, though, things aren’t as clear as they seem. Cotton is convinced the child is abused. She has problems, he knows, but doesn’t believe it is anything more than that. He quickly sees though that there is more to the story than this. The family has issues with the local pastor. The girl, he soon discovers, is also pregnant. She attacks her brother, leading the father and son to have to leave. Cotton decides to stay and rescue her from her father, who he believes is abusing her. The “demon” begins talking from the girl, and even attacks him. However, he stays convinced that there is nothing more than paranoia and delusions.
Up to this point, I thought the movie was worth watching. I don’t want to ruin the movie for those who still plan on seeing it but I must confess it suddenly takes a turn way off course. It goes from being a movie on whether demons are real and exorcism is still needed in the world to being a movie in the vein of the Wicker Man, which was not a good idea. Cotton becomes the typical stupid character in a horror movie, although he does grow as a character. I personally cannot recommend the movie, though, and see it as a movie with a ton of potential, that drops the ball completely. I also would hope that it would be the last “documentary” horror movie for a while, but with Paranormal Activity 2 on the way, I doubt it.