The Last Exorcism Part II - DVD Review

'After the first five minutes, very little happens for about an hour. With a running time of under ninety minutes, that’s a pretty serious problem.'

In truth, there’s very little to say about The Last Exorcism Part II. You don’t really even need to have seen the first film, The Last Exorcism, which ended up as yet another forgettable entry into the exorcism subgenre of Horror by marrying hackneyed genre clichés with a found footage style that reminded you why found footage is currently one of the most stale film-making methods around. The reason you don’t need to know much about Part II is that there’s literally hardly anything within it to say much about. After the first five minutes, very little happens for about an hour. With a running time of under ninety minutes, that’s a pretty serious problem.

There was some potential here, such as in ditching the found footage format, but most prominently in returning lead Ashley Bell as Nell Sweetzer. Following the events of the first film, Nell starts a new life at a home for young women a world away from the isolated rural life she previously knew. Bell does well with the little material she is given, making Nell a believable and sympathetic character of whom we’re simultaneously wary, not entirely sure how to take her thanks to Bell’s unsettling turn.

It’s just a shame that everything Nell is given to do for much of the film’s running time feels incredibly mundane. She gets a job at a hotel, she starts a relationship with fellow hotel employee Chris (Spencer Treat Clark), she hangs out with other girls from her home. Apart from the odd unexplained supernatural occurrence, there’s very little here to keep you interested. Even the Horror elements which do crop up here and there feel uninspired. There are unexplained appearances of characters thought to be dead, bad dreams that haunt Nell at night, and the occasional floating above the bed. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before done a lot better but, more importantly, you’re given no reason to care about any of it. A sequence where Nell becomes an unwitting YouTube star, incorporating a somewhat smart reference to the first film, is a lone nice touch despite its maladroit execution.

The last fifteen minutes or so by contrast feel decidedly rushed, with peripheral characters reintroduced out of nowhere as key players, alongside others who suddenly join the narrative with no introduction. A host of additional supernatural elements are also brought in abruptly, making the film’s final section feel disconnected from much of what has come before. Bell does well transforming Nell from the fragile, unstable character of the film’s first hour to what she finally becomes, but her performance is an island surrounded by a sea of terrible choices. The Last Exorcism Part II is, at best, a jumble of clichéd lore, tired Horror tropes and undeveloped plot threads. There’s plenty of other Horror films, old and new, which deserve your attention before this, so watch one of them instead.

By Ben Broadribb. Ben is a regular contributor to Film Intel, having previously written at Some Like It Hot Fuzz. He is normally seen in the wild wearing t-shirts containing obscure film references. He is a geek, often unashamedly so. He's also on and Twitter.

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