The Last Exorcism was one of those great movies that can only exist if many, many more terrible movies cover the same ground first. This found footage horror told the story of a down-South exorcist who decides to be frank with the public and out his job for the farce it truly is. He shows all his tricks, charming the audience in the process. The twists eventually come, but it’s only because they must. Like Cabin in the Woods, it’s one of the few really clever post-modern horror films.
The Last Exorcism Part II pretty much misses the point on all counts. Instead of taking us down another clever avenue and finding some last wrinkle in this ridiculously well-worn genre, Part II does everything the original film seems to playfully make fun of. It’s really just another fucking exorcism movie to toss into the pile.
Even in terms of that low standard it’s pretty horrible. Last week I reviewed Dark Skies, which wasn’t great by any stretch, but it did one thing I really respected. For all it’s stupidity it never used fake-out scare tactics. It didn’t blast the theater with unnecessarily loud screams or slamming doors for no reason. When the scares came, it was because there was actually a goddamn creepy alien stalking the protagonist. By comparison, The Last Exorcism Part II is pretty much like this video:
You could make a movie about a person who goes to the store, buys groceries, rents a movie, comes home, and makes some dinner before passing out on the couch, and if you included enough unexpectedly loud sounds and ominous music it would be scary in exactly the way this film is.
On every level, short of Ashley Bell’s genuine performance, this is a waste of filmmaking. Horror franchises are notorious for doing this kind of thing, so it’s kind of whatever. It’s just too bad that the sequel grind will inevitably diminish the brilliance of the great film this shit follow-up is built upon.