This week has inadvertently been a week of negative reviews. I haven't been in a bad mood or anything but this is the way the randomizer works, I guess.
The Last Exorcism is almost a really good horror movie. I have one problem with it but it is a pretty big one. We'll get to that in a minute. In the meantime, this movie is another found footage beast with a camera crew following around a preacher who performs exorcisms. Almost immediately, the preacher admits he is a charlatan and that he has a series of little tricks and gimmicks he can pull off to make people feel like they are getting the full treatment. He says psychology does the rest so most people walk away feeling better than when they came in. Of course, putting all this in a documentary means he is giving up his role as a preacher and moving on. Also of course, he has agreed to film one last "exorcism" for the cameras to show them how he does it.
With that kind of setup, I was already more intrigued than with a normal exorcism movie in that it was coming from a place of cynicism rather than belief. So when the preacher finds out (spoiler?) this exorcism needs to be real, things start going sideways fast.
The cast of this was really spot on. Patrick Fabian plays the preacher with high charisma and intelligence, making him a formidable lead for a horror movie. The creepy family with the possessed daughter hit all their notes just right with Ashley Bell as the girl giving a limber performance if nothing else.
Really, 90% or so of this movie worked for me. The one part that didn't was the end. I can't go into the whys without getting into spoilers but I will say they lose any pretense of suspense. The movie goes all in the final seconds and it kind of ruined the ride for me. Your mileage may vary but I prefer movies that involve the audience by making us use our brains to decipher the action, rather than spelling things out.