The Last Exorcism Part II
Film Title: the last exorcism part II
Director: Ed Gass-Donnelly
Starring: Ashley Bell
Running Time: 88 min
“Make it stop!” shrieks the unfortunate heroine of The Last Exorcism Part II as some unseen entity – damned showy director – CGIs the girl into ragdoll shapes. You said it, sister.
It’s not that this unwanted and unnecessarily tautological sequel (why didn’t they just call it The Last Exorcism Part Deux and have done?) doesn’t know how the genre works. On the contrary: Canadian director Ed Gass-Donnelly is more than capable of sustaining a spooky atmosphere and can play a mean game of hide-and-go-scare.
Scream queen Ashley Bell keeps possession and her one-woman game of Twister on the lowdown as she reprises her role as troubled Nell Sweetzer. Writing from a Louisiana halfway house, she tells Absolom, her ex-demon possessor, that she no longer believes in him.
For a time it looks as though Nell might be out of his clutches. She gets a job cleaning hotel rooms and develops a crush on her supervisor. She makes friends with the resident loose-looking rock chick and leaves the redneck woodland cult that raised her far behind. Or does she?
Sure enough, folks around her soon develop foams around the mouth and reddened eyes that are medically unrelated to conjunctivitis. A day trip to mardi gras turns into a low-budget imitation of Live and Let Die. Symbols appear on walls and the guardians of something or other appear. Plus ça change.
Most of the movie plays out in a low register (moving-statue street performer: can you withstand the fear?) before delivering a payoff that seems grand enough to warrant the “Eli Roth Presents” credit. It’s almost as if the director looked up “parody” in the dictionary on the last day of production.
It hardly needs to be said that 80 awfully familiar minutes is a long time to wait for what is effectively a punchline to a joke that nobody needed to hear. The supernatural has seldom seemed more superfluous.