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The Last Exorcism

Believe in Him. 

Year: 2010 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Daniel Stamm 
Starring: Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell, Iris Bahr  
An image from The Last Exorcism

The horror genre seems to have become obsessed with two things: firstly, mocumentary filmmaking (The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, Paranormal Activity, Catfish) and secondly, stories of exorcism (Requiem, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and of course The Exorcist). The Last Exorcism brings together these two strands and manages to create something far richer than this imitative mash up might initially suggest.

Reverend Cotton Marcus (Fabian) used to perform countless exorcisms before his relationship with his disabled son shakes his faith in religion is shaken, making him disillusioned with the practice. He decides to work with a film crew in the hope of exposing exorcisms as fake, using the case of Nell (Bell), a farmer’s daughter, as an example. Marcus uses his usual tricks to try and get the family to believe that he has cured their daughter, confident that this placebo procedure will alleviate Nell’s wild mental state. However, the unexplainable behaviour seems to have only just started, and it begins to look like Nell is in need of a more authentic form of exorcism.

The Last Exorcism explores the power of the camera as an instrument of distortion, intrusion and violence. The realist style of the film makes the action all the more gripping, lending a sense of authenticity to the crazy story. The characters are unexpectedly complex, and the performances from Patrick Fabian and Ashley Bell are the most notable strengths of the film. The exploration of major themes such as religion, mortality and authenticity is never heavy handed enough to override the principle narrative and there are enough genuine scares here to make this film appropriately disturbing, If you have the guts to watch this at midnight, then good luck to you!

Shoshana Eilon

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Screenings of this film:

2010/2011 Spring Term (35mm)