The Last Exorcism Part II Review

last_exorcism_part_ii_reviewYear: 2013

Director: Ed Gass-Donnelly

Summary (from IMDb): As Nell Sweetzer tries to build a new life after the events of the first movie, the evil force that once possessed her returns with an even more horrific plan.

Neoli’s Short Review:  In a word: NO.  The Last Exorcism Part II provides the necessary chills and goose bumps, especially in its first seven minutes or so, but after that it’s all downhill.  You’re better off scaring yourself with an inflated balloon painted with a horrific face than watching this watered-down horror film sequel.

Am I being harsh?  Maybe yes, maybe no.  The thing is, a lot is expected from this sequel, considering the original The Last Exorcism was positively scary two years ago.  Filmmakers should already be aware now of the dreaded sophomore jinx, which is all the more reason for them to ramp up the scare factor in The Last Exorcism Part II.

Instead, everything is so-so in this film.  Unlike the original film which is done in a found-footage format (just like Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity),  The Last Exorcism Part II is in conventional narrative mode—which is fine, but then it does not bother at all to remind the audience (especially first-time viewers) what exactly happened in the first film.   The Saw series always treats you to a flashback, but The Last Exorcism Part II seems to expect you’ve already watched the first film, and plunges you right ahead into the story.

In the sequel, the perennially-possessed Nell (played by Ashley Bell) is starting a new life in a halfway house in New Orleans, working as a hotel chambermaid.  Exciting stuff.

There’s a Mardi Gras scene which briefly explores the fright inspired by masked, costumed men, but eventually simmers down to a false alarm with a Silver Man.  The whole film is like that: relative calm punctuated with jolts and surprises over and over, until it becomes predictable.  You almost find yourself saying, oh, it’s been three minutes already, the scare bit is right next.       

Not that we want The Last Exorcism Part II to be all hellish scenes from start to finish.  It’s just that everything fails to connect here.  You find yourself asking, what’s exactly at stake anyway for Nell?  In William Friedkin’s The Exorcist (Now, that’s a good horror film), we feel for the little girl Linda Blair because she’s a little girl for chrissake, little girls aren’t supposed to be demonically possessed, and there’s so much future that would have lay ahead of her.

As for Nell, we don’t know why we should care at all.  We don’t even feel scared for our own life, or at least for the life of our daughter (if we have one).  A good horror film should do that.

Despite this, The Last Exorcism Part II has a few saving graces, specifically in the person of Ashley Bell, who plays the fragile, tortured Nell so convincingly.  Plus there’s that creepy, unforgettable scene where she levitates in her sleep after presumably being molested by her demon possessor.  Nell’s back is bent and arched to the point of breaking, as if she just overdosed on yoga.

Anyway, Nell is subjected to one final exorcism (the last one, we hope) to horrific results.  The filmmaker then decides to end the story by making Nell declare that “Everything is okay now, I know who I am, and what I need to do.”  Or something like that.

Verdict: Watch only as a last resort.  Or Watch this first, then watch the original film afterwards.

Neoli’s Rating: 5/10