The Last Exorcism
the last exorcism | daniel stamm | huck botko | andrew gurland | patrick fabian | ashley bell | iris bahr | drama | thriller | france | united states | possessed | possession | hand-held camera | faux documentary | found-footage | found footage | exorcism | demon | caleb landry jones
Film: The Last Exorcism
Director: Daniel Stamm
Writer: Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland
Starring: Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell and Iris Bahr
This film follows a pastor played by Patrick Fabian. We see his home life with his wife, played by Shanna Forrestall, and his son played by Justin Shafer. We learn that Fabian’s father was the pastor at a church; he is played by John Wright Jr. It is revealed that Wright has groomed Fabian to be a pastor since he was a child. We see that Fabian is really good at what he does and is a showman. He also has a great home life. We do learn that Shafer is deaf.
Wright opens up his safe and takes a book from it that is very old. We learn that it contains all of the names of the demons that were cast out of heaven with Satan. It also turns out that Fabian has lost his faith. He is an exorcist and he was shaken when he saw a failed exorcism that killed a young boy. The camera crew following him, making a documentary about his last exorcism, is led by Iris Bahr who is the sound woman. The camera man is played by Adam Grimes.
Fabian opens a letter from a backwoods town in Louisiana. Along with the crew, they leave Baton Rouge to meet with the family. They first stop off at a gas station. Fabian tells them that a town like this is prime for thoughts of possession, because there is a lot of illiteracy and put a lot into their faith. There are a lot of churches in the area. They actually interview citizens who all know someone who was possessed and even one lady talks about a temple in the area to evil spirits.
They then go to the farm where the possessed person is. On the way they pass a truck and both stop. A young man get out of the truck, he is played by Caleb Landry Jones. He wants them to turn out and go back to where they came. He then throws rocks at them. They come up to a large house and are met by the father of the family, played by Louis Herthum. It turns out that Jones is his son. Herthum is not happy about the cameras, but is convinced by Fabian to allow them to film. There is also a daughter and she is the one possessed.
Fabian is not happy about this since he doesn’t like to perform exorcisms on children. The daughter is played by Ashley Bell. She is a plain girl that comes off as nervous. Fabian hits it off with her and starts to figure out if she is possessed. All they have to go from at the moment is that animals are turning up dead and there is blood all over clothes. She doesn’t remember doing any of it. Jones asks him if he will perform one and he tells him that doesn’t know yet. We know that he is going to perform one and we see things he sets up to make them believe there is a demon involved. Fabian tells him it is named Abalam. This demon prays on the innocence. He convinces Herthum that he can drive it out.
Jones knows that Fabian is faking this and he is okay with him doing it. He goes through with the exorcism and gets paid. The crew goes back to a hotel before going home the next day. Something is up though when Bell comes to Fabian’s hotel room. She is starting to act funny and then throws up. They take her to the hospital.
We then learn there is something more to the story. A doctor leaves a message stating that Bell is pregnant. Immediately Bahr believes that Herthum is molesting his daughter. Jones is attacked by his sister with a knife, as she cuts his face. Fabian tries to convince her father that she now needs psychiatric and medical care. Fabian tries to get the local pastor involved Tony Bentley. Is Bell possessed or is this something in her head? Is she pregnant? Who is the father? We see Bell kill a cat with a camera and there are three violent drawings she made. Will they all come true?
I have to say that when I first saw this, I didn’t know what to expect. I really liked it the from the beginning. What makes it really great to me is that the first part we see that Fabian doesn’t believe in his faith anymore and only does it because he is good at it. He wants to show that exorcisms are a fraud to ensure that no other children die due to having one performed. The second part of the film makes you question though if Bell is really possessed or if there is something else happening. The acting is pretty good, no one was going to win awards, but I definitely felt they were very believable. I like how the story progressed. I also really liked the ending as well. I also liked that this is filmed as a faux documentary and done with hand-held cameras. It really makes it feel more realistic. I also like that as the film starts to get more suspenseful, the filming becomes more erratic as well.
I will say that I liked the acting, but quite a bit of the actors do not have a lot of experience at the time of being in this film. I have seen Bell and Jones go on to do other things and they are pretty good in roles in this film. At times it can be hard to hear some of what is going on or see some of the things in the film, due to the filming style. The film isn’t overly long and we don’t get a lot of information about the ending, which I would have liked to know more, as I am really interested in the back-story and getting all of the history. This doesn’t ruin the film, but something that helps me to enjoy more when I view something.
With that said, I would recommend this film if you like found footage films or if you like films about demonic possession. I feel the acting is good enough for this film and the story progresses very nice. There isn’t in the much of subplots or back-story of the cult in it. This film is made like a faux documentary and does have some parts that will make cringe as well as jump. If you do not like handicam films, please keep that in mind, because it can be shaking which I know some people dislike. If you can get past that, this film is worth a viewing to try to piece together what is really happening.
My Rating: 7 out of 10