The Last Exorcism Part 2 (d. Ed Gass-Donnelly USA 2013)

The Last Exorcism Part 2  (d. Ed Gass-Donnelly USA 2013)

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The Last Exorcism Part 2. Last and Part 2? Implying that, whatever was before shared the implication that it would be the last, before this sequel was dragged out. No matter. I will confess to not having seen the first, ‘last exorcism’ film. I decided to see how well the film stood on its own two feet. Without any prior knowledge, the title does give you quite an impression. There will be an exorcism. There will be a religious aspect pitted up against a science/realism/normality.

 

So there is a skepticism in exorcism films. Was the events of the previous film real? Was it in her head? The beginning of the film discusses this premise and begins anew, believing it was in her head. Only for this to be contrasted by the elements of horror later in the film. In typical horror fashion, the film descends further and further down the rabbit hole as happenings get stranger and stranger, and the protagonist is all the more horrified because of this. This element functions, less as a serious exploration of the protagonists’ psyche/whether exorcism could exist, and more as a way to suspend disbelief for the duration of the film. As a concept it is nothing new, and nor is it completely developed.

 

With exorcism films another common theme, implied by the act itself, is sexual promiscuity against purity. The act of the invaded body by a foreign entity, the demon, serves as a sexual metaphor. I confess to a distaste for this metaphor but c’est la vie. An interesting twist on the traditional metaphor, as the movie explores emotions as well as physical acts. In this way, the film problematises the role of the demon – antagonist or helper? This reversal also asks that traditional relationships be questioned. Are they loving or abusive? Are they acting or friendly? However, this theme would be more effective if the characters were better developed.

 

With characters left underdeveloped it is a shame that the film is also poorly paced. For all of the films ambitions, Last Exorcism Part 2 is slow paced and without many likeable characters. This causes a lack of interest that leaves the themes completely missed by most spectators. I shall say that the performances aren’t at fault. Key characters aren’t given the screen time to develop properly.

 

When all is said and done, Last Exorcism Part 2 is an unfortunate one. For such high hopes and ambitions, particularly by those who loved the first, the film is a misfire. Anything artistically interesting has been lost. Effective horror entertainment, it’s mediocre at best. Last Exorcism Part 2 awkwardly works an emotional tie in to it’s theme of rape. To the theme of what is real, a vague nod is given. I would like to see a future for modern American horror films but alas… it is bleak.

Further Reading

rottentomatoes.com

The Last Exorcism (d. Daniel Stamm USA/France 2010)

An analysis of Horror films



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