Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Last Exorcism Part II

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  I hope there's a third last one.

The Last Exorcism Part II – 1 out of 5

When I finally decided to give The Last Exorcism a shot (and yes, I hyperlinked my review despite the fact it is literally the post right before this one), I was pleasantly surprised with the movie. Granted, I didn’t find a single second of it scary but it was interesting and it actually used the “found footage” element wisely rather than gimmick-ly. However, I have never seen a sequel so boring or seen a sequel perform so poorly when compared to its predecessor.

"Oh refrigerator, you're the only one who understands me."

Not long after the events of the first film, it is discovered that Nell (Ashley Bell) has survived the awesome ending events of the last movie and is now alone. She is sent to a home for wayward girls and, it seems, that all is normal. She makes friends with others living there, becomes interested in a guy and it appears that the horrors she used to live are now behind her…but this is a horror film so that shit won’t last. Soon, Nell becomes haunted by her past as she begins to hear voices, she sees creepy masked men around every corner and, it seems, the demon that once called her body a home is back and, as she finds out from a mysterious organization that says they are out to help her, it has fallen in love with her. But rather than flirt moronically, make her mixed tapes and send pictures of its demon junk like a normal human being would when in love, the demon settles for murdering all that gets in his way.

"Yes, Nell, the demon is in love with you.  How do I know, who am I and what am I doing in
this film?  Those points don't matter.  The important thing is...wait, what's the
actually point of this movie?"

It’s usually expected for a sequel to be slightly worse than the original film (and rarely we get better than the first) but never have I seen a film have such an incredibly steep drop in quality. The film does away with the documentary/”found footage”-style of the last one and, while such a step in progress towards keeping the franchise fresh isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it did little to help this film's cause. However, the film suffers even more from a sloppy story, even sloppier plot, terrible acting and absolutely no scares that can’t be forgiven thanks to a great story and acting like the first film.

"A demon, you say?  Well, that just curls my suspenders."

Everyone and their comedian friends at an open mic have made the tired old joke about this film and its title; with the punchline being that the first film wasn’t LAST enough. The joke, while funny the first time you hear it and then got tired of it when you heard it the third time by the guy in your office who thinks he’s funny and the fifth news site on the internet talking about the movie, actually has some merit because the first film stood fine on its own and didn’t require a sequel—at--fucking--all! Sure, this sequel helps answer a plot hole in the first movie in a small, roundabout way but the plot hole wasn’t that bothersome to begin with. And since the character of Nell doesn’t really grow or develop much in this film with the exception of a major change in the end, there literally is no reason for this film to exist.

"Croatoa?"  Okay, now the film is just playing Horror Film Overused Cliche Bingo.

The story is utterly pointless but its nothing compare to the haphazard and messy plot. Events often make little sense as they unfold and all the characters within the story look like a gathering of aliens trying to pretend they're humans in their pretty convincing costumes (I’m trying to say the acting is awful but I’ll get to that soon). Very little going on in the plot makes much sense to the journey of Nell and most sequences are just kinda thrown into the story with little to no reason—for example, the love story between Nell and one of her coworkers. Nothing is established to explain why these two have any feelings for each other and this character just sort of comes and goes and no mention is made of him when he’s not around…it’s almost like they were throwing him in for some weak payoff in Nell’s journey towards the demon—oh, wait…they fucking were.

"Don't worry about remembering my name, the story will forget about me in the
next scene..."

The same treatment is given to the fellow girls who live in the home with Nell. Ashley Bell’s character comes off incredibly socially awkward (which is justifiable when you have a demon renting out your insides) and nothing ever happens in the plot to show that the girls have accepted the damaged goods that is Nell; it just happens (One could argue that due to their own fucked-up-ness they accepted her without question, however, when you watch the movie, this argument quickly folds in on itself). One scene they have an attitude towards her but in the next they are friends having fun…before suddenly it changes again to have the girls hate her and mock Nell when video of her possession is uploaded to YouTube (granted, this answers the plot hole I hinted at but the explanation of why they are watching this and NOT leaving racist and homophobic comments on YouTube is NEVER explained.  Aren't those comments required now on YouTube?). Sure, the movie will give you a half-hearted excuse for this shitty plot by saying the demon has a hand in the events going on. Nice, blame the demon for your crappy writing but using the demon as a plot device because the screenwriter and director failed to make dynamic and well-thought out characters and a story that makes sense; that's just lazy.

The scared looks are what the producers want you to look like when watching this but
the girl with the curly has is most likely the reaction you'll have...only with more frowning
and realizing that doing literally anything else would be a better use of your time.

Then you have the acting (which only assisted the writer and director with their character-based failures by being unable to be convincing) and it is just outrageously awful. I thought Ashley Bell was passably bad in the first one but this film only proved that limiting her screen time is what is required to make her work in a film because she is just painfully questionable as Nell. In the first film, she was decent when she was the demon controlling the body but in this one, there are no combinations of Nell/Demon/Demon Nell that works and helps the film.

Behold, the only convincing actor in the entire film!

In the last movie, I didn’t find any second of the film scary but rather I found the film to be interesting. Like the last one, this movie isn’t scary at all. Since the story is boring and the characters about as captivating as a garbage can, I can’t forgive the lack of scares because the film has nothing to fall back on.

"The shadow people are watching us, they are demanding we dance!"

The story of The Last Exorcism was interesting because you had a camera crew following a disillusioned preacher who turned his craft into con game and all his illusions came crashing down when he found out he was wrong when he met Nell. The Last Exorcism Part II proves that the character of the preacher was the major selling point in the first one because a Nell-focused story where Nell is the main character is awful. Thanks to a shitty script and the glaring fact that the main star can’t act to save her life (not to mention a complete lack of atmosphere and scares), this movie proves that the first one was last enough and Nell’s story didn’t need to be elaborated on.

I'm sorry, Nell, but even with a demon raging in your insides, your story is
boring and pointless.  Yes, look sad about his revelation.

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