They promised us it was The Last Exorcism. They lied. They just made The Last Exorcism: Part II. More damned lies. The end of Part II opens up the possibility that they will voodoo you again ... and again. Run for your lives.
In the first of the series in 2010, German-born director Daniel Stamm took you down to the Louisiana bayous. That is where a teenaged girl, Nell Sweetzer, was possessed by a demon. A cynical evangelical minister was commissioned to perform the exorcism. He took along a documentary crew to do an expose on fake exorcisms, especially his own. But the hapless crew's "found footage" became proof that his exorcism, and the demon inside Nell, was real. People paid in blood.
In Part II, Canadian-born director Ed Gass-Donnelly takes you back to Louisiana, this time to New Orleans. This is an urban movie (but not an urbane one). Gass-Donnelly uses no new "found footage" -- praise the Lord -- except in brief nightmare-flashbacks to the events of the original movie. So we do not have to Blair-Witch his butt for keeping the "found footage" genre alive.
Instead, Part II is a dreary catalogue of what happens to nervous Nell after she survives those events. We first meet her when she jumps into bed with a stranger whose girlfriend just got up to go to the washroom. Why Nell chooses this place and these people for her creepy return is never explained. This is just the first of many inconsistencies and idiocies in the screenplay, which is credited to Gass-Donnelly and co-writer Damien Chazelle (who went to Harvard -- another smart guy wastes a perfectly good education).
In any case, Ashley Bell is back as Nell. She spends most of Part II moping about, living in a home for troubled girls and working part-time as a hotel maid. She believes her demon is gone. Perhaps he/it was never real. Oops, wrong, the demon manifests itself again. And now the fate of the world rests with Nell, a sad, naive and pathetic teenager.
The Last Exorcism: Part II is, of course, an American horror movie. By today's standards it is tame, as well as incredibly slow and deadly boring. The filmmakers seem to be going for a character study, except that Nell is a shallow pool, not a raging river. There is no character to study. Ditto for any notions that this exorcism franchise has any deep thoughts on Christianity, voodoo magic, atheism, sexuality, family dynamics or anything else humans struggle so mightily to understand. These movies are too thoughtless to be taken that seriously.
Part II gets even worse when the climax arrives. The demon is suggested, not really seen. There is no substantial action, nor even gore. Much of the most "interesting" stuff happens off-screen, as if Gass-Donnelly had no budget to shoot those scenes.
Not that it ultimately matters. The Last Exorcism: Part II is a lousy little movie. Nothing could save it. It is possessed. I suggest an exorcism.
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