Sunday, August 18, 2013

REVIEW: The Last Exorcism 2 (2013)

The Last Exorcism certainly was a movie. I don’t remember most of it because I fell asleep during it. But that’s okay, I still remember more of it than the people who made the sequel.

Director: Ed Gass-Donnelly
Starring: Ashley Bell

I mean, even the title is ridiculous. The Last Exorcism was the LAST exorcism. There can’t be a Last Exorcism 2! Are you shitting me? Do you just not know the meaning of the word? If we get a Last Exorcism 3, I guess that will seal the deal. Might as well subtitle it “The Lastest of Last Exorcisms, Finally.” Or maybe just call it ‘crap.’ Well, I for one can’t like a movie in which the title so obviously contradicts any kind of logical sense. Zero stars, review over!

Well now that THAT’S over with, I can finally fulfill my dream of making a blog post solely about my favorite topic ever…men’s fashion choices in New Zealand.

You see, men’s fashions in New Zealand consist of men wearing clothes. Isn't that amazing?

What? Fine…I guess I’ll go back and do the stupid Last Exorcism 2 review…

I guess we start off with a guy in bed who thinks his wife is next to him. Because, you know, wives usually growl like rabid animals. It’s just how things go. When the wife comes in from another room though, you might as well just put a laugh track in like a stupid sitcom. It’s really about the same level of seriousness.

Yeah, you keep on sleeping there, princess. We'll go get the canned laughter and the 'cut to commercials' jingle and it'll be the perfect mode of complete worthlessness...

Also, good job on locking your doors, morons. You deserve whatever’s coming to you. Even if it’s just an animal-like girl who looks like she came out of Mama.

Another one for review? Nahh, shit was too boring. PASS!

We then switch to a little while later, where the girl they found is now the main character…awesome. Her name is Nell. And she is just about the nicest, most innocent person ever. Like, seriously, I’d feel bad if she got even the remotest bit offended at anything I said in this review. So from this point forward, I will not say anything bad about this performance or even the character. Never say that I cannot be charitable.

Her whole role in this movie seems to be making puckered-up granny faces.

Oh, wait, it’s just a character in a movie…it doesn’t actually matter if I say anything bad at all…I guess this whole detour was pointless. Just like the movie. Nell asks if she’s in Hell and the doctor replies that she’s in a New Orleans hospital. Which is, I guess, the same thing.

They decide to take her to a house for damaged girls, although none of the other girls will ever be detailed as to why they are there…in fact, it doesn’t even matter that any of these other girls are in the movie. None of them really do anything besides sit around and re-enact 5ive Girls, except without the lesbian porn. I never thought I’d say a movie would do better by taking more notes from a piece of vomited up sewage like 5ive Girls, but c’mon, if you’re going to have all these hot chicks around without any complexity or character, why bother if you’re also not going to have lesbian sex?

Some of these scenes are just odd…like, really, she doesn’t know what rock music is? When the one punk-looking chick puts some earbuds in her ears and plays some generic rock music they probably got off a radio sound editing CD, she’s about as surprised as the caveman who discovered fire. I mean really, I get it if she was some kind of uber-conservative Christian girl growing up, but to act THIS SURPRISED over what should be relatively standard music? It’s just kind of backwards.

What is this strange, magical noise? Could it be witchcraft? Perhaps the devilry of the Dark Wizard that lives in his mountain at Mordor?

Oh well. They also show her Mardi Gras! Which is really cool to her because there are pretty much no topless girls around. Kind of a minus for everyone else though, but what can you do? Then she meets the Satanic living statue – and no, I’m not joking about that. He moves creepily and says some stuff about how “they are waiting for her” or something.

Which one is wooden and which one is an actor? You choose...pretty tough, ain't it?

This scene actually is one of the better ones in the film, and works as an atmospheric and scary bit. It’s more original than a lot of the rest of the scares in the film. But at the same time it’s just kinda funny. The devil, or whatever evil this is supposed to be, recruited a living statue? And then told it to go scare her for a few seconds on the off chance she’d even come near him? What if she hadn’t come to the Mardi Gras street where he was? What if she didn’t come at all? Maybe he’d just be standing there annoyed, possessed by evil, and a living statue. That would be funny.

There’s also some kind of subplot with an old man Nell sees in the distance who she claims is her father. We don’t know if it is or not, because the movie has given us the impression that Nell lost her memory – all of it – before she was saved from the woods. So how does she recognize her father? If she remembered who her parents were, and by extension, other things about her childhood and past, why didn’t she try and contact anyone and tell them where she was? If I was found insane in the woods AND still remembered who my family was, you bet I’d tell them straight away. Maybe Nell isn’t so nice after all.

Anyway, there’s also this kid she likes from the hotel she works at. He tells her he has a “surprise” for her after work. Ladies, if a guy you barely know ever tells you this…he’s probably going to rape you. Just run the other way. But he actually takes Nell to the zoo where they sit on a bench and he asks her if she’s ever had a boyfriend. She says no but she was pregnant once – a reference to the first movie, apparently. Either way it’s pretty horrifying for a guy to hear on a first date. Guys, if a girl you barely know tells you she’s never had a boyfriend but was once pregnant, with a happy look on her face…she’s probably someone you should be very afraid of. Just saying.

A smile that says "I'll probably end up a CNN headline someday, and not for a reason my mother would be proud of."

Back at the house, the girls are all talking about who they’re dating and shit, because that’s all girls ever think about. Nell looks bored because she’s a more in-depth character than them…oh, wait, she gets a call from a boy and then isn’t bored anymore! She goes downstairs and hears some guy telling her he wants to be inside her. And that isn’t very nice, so she hangs up the phone and runs away.

The next day she decides to make out with that guy in the closet. I’m sure Freud would have something to say about this series of events… just like he would about the following scene where she puts her ear to the wall to listen to the people fucking in the next room. Then a bunch of cracks appear on the wall like a Doctor Who outtake, and we flash to later on when she’s sleeping at night. Another recurring thing in this film – whenever she’s sleeping, she goes into a trancelike state and touches her face with elaborate arm gestures like a really flamboyant street performer.

It must have taken them ten whole minutes to do that photoshop
Also seen on the cover of the latest Nora Roberts epic
Teach me your yoga O Great Contortionisto!

At one point we even get some flashes of lesbian sex after all. They’re pretty poorly shoehorned in and never spoken about or mentioned again. Maybe she just thinks it’s part of being a growing young woman.

When she goes home the next day, she gets kidnapped by her father, who is incredibly loving and caring in regards to her current demonic possession problems, and is very glad to see her…

Hmmm, now is THAT what's happening here? Sometimes my sarcasm detector is broken...

Yup, he just whips out a shotgun and points it at her fucking face…I’m starting to see why she didn’t try and contact her family when she was found. Luckily for her, punk rock chick comes down and beats him up with a vase! Only it isn’t really her at all, it’s actually the devil, who says that only THEY can have her and that her father can’t kill her!

Seriously though: what is up with these movies that do shit like this? Why would the devil just blatantly reveal himself to her like that? Why does he HAVE to be all ominous? I think it would actually be scarier if it was more ambiguous, in a Rosemary’s Baby-type way, if you didn’t know he was involved…like, maybe Nell really IS just crazy. But no, instead we get stupid ‘spooky’ scenes where the devil reveals his clear involvement with the whole thing for no reason other than to raise her paranoia…because that’s what all good villains do, right? Put you on your guard so you’ll try and find more ways to beat them? Yeah, I guess that is what they do.

After that, we get the cliché horror movie scenes of the head of the house telling Nell she’s insane and just imagining things. All I’m wondering is, how does this old man run a house with that many teenage girls and not molest any of them?

Shave the mustache, cut your hair and maybe we'll believe you.

Later on, we see the girls all watching a Youtube video of the first movie with Nell all possessed and what not, bending over backwards in her best Exorcist impression.

The Last Exorcism isn't exactly my prime pick for what to watch in the middle of the least turn on something a little bit better, like paint drying, or watching cat videos on Youtube.

So somebody found that video camera out in the middle of the woods and thought “hey, better upload whatever’s on here to Youtube”? That’s just stupid. Also, this scene just goes nowhere – what was the point of it? To show that the first movie…happened? It’s not like having them watch this on Youtube really matters. These girls never show up again! This was their last scene in the movie! I guess they really just needed to remind us that this was a sequel to the first one, or else we would just forget…no, really, we would forget. Having a sequel to a shaky-cam found footage film be a regular movie is just bizarre and doesn’t make much sense in the realm of continuity.

So after that we get some more boring scenes like one where she goes into a church and starts praying. Unless this is the opening scene of Die Hard 2, I just don’t care. Some priest guy in a child-molester sweater comes out and tells her that “he’ll wait for her.” At first it seems like he’s talking about God, but uh oh, it turns out he actually means the devil! How did this guy get a job at a church then? They should review their hiring policy. Maybe add some more background checks. Also, wouldn’t the crosses and holy water be directly anathema to the devil’s whole gig and make him recoil in horror or something?

Never trust a man dressed like that if you're a girl and all alone in a secluded place. Man, two child molestation jokes in one review? Talk about NSFW.

Oh, who cares. The next scene involves a fat guy with no life bothering Nell for a picture with him because he saw the video on Youtube. Why would he want a picture, and how would he even recognize her? I dunno, I’m just amazed he follows her for as long as he does. It’s seriously to “stalker” levels of harassment. She yells at him to fuck off, which is a very justifiable response. Then some black lady grabs her arm and tells her to come with her. Gee. Would Nell also believe it if a fat guy in a trenchcoat opened the side door of a white van and told her there was free candy inside?

I just kind of like this picture. If anyone cares, the guy walks off and dies for some reason afterward. I don't really think anyone in the movie's universe cares that he died, though, so anyone in our world caring is kinda a stretch...

But yeah, this lady is…just a random New Orleans black woman, which means of course she’s into voodoo and all sorts of other stereotypical, racist bullshit. If she had a real character it wouldn’t matter, but her whole function in this movie is to help out the milquetoast white girl main character, so it’s pretty much just lazy as all hell writing. I think if you’re going to write stuff like this into your movie, you might as well admit to living in the 1800s in your mind.

"We're from Louisiana, all we do is sit around with turbans on our heads and breathe in the marijuana smoke from some elaborate bong..." 

She puts Nell in a trance and tells her to “tell her what she sees.” Nell is attacked by demons and starts screaming as the lights flicker on and off and some kind of miniature tornado starts. The whole thing is just so stupid because the voodoo lady keeps on shouting at Nell to tell her what she sees, the whole time! Lady, I think we’re a bit past that once the background noises is so loud that you have to shout over it.

Things calm down again and then Nell goes to see her stupid boyfriend, who’s been possessed by the devil and who slits his throat. Because she’s a good person, she doesn’t call the police or even try to notify any of that kid’s family or anything. Oh, did I say she does that because she’s a good person? I meant because she’s a horrible person! God. Maybe being possessed by the devil isn’t much of a stretch for her after all. I can see why Hell wants her back.

Anyway, back at racist stereotype voodoo lady’s house, we get introduced to these two guys, who are apparently our Ghostbusters of the film. One of them looks like he just came from a cage fight, and the other like he just came from an accounting job. Truly these guys are the most qualified to help! And no, we never get an explanation of who they are.

"We're the bargain bin Ghostbusters! She just found us at a bar half-drunk and high on coke...uh, ahem, I mean we were on an important case. Yeah. That's it."

The cage fighter guy puts these little nodes on Nell’s chest and back, and then they strap her down to a table and – sigh – reenact The Exorcist.

Yeah, you sprinkle that shit on the floor and hook her up to those machines and recite words out of a Bible; that ALWAYS works out in EVERY movie they do it in! It's never gone wrong!
What are you giving birth or something? Stop it. These facial expressions are too much.

Why do movies think scenes like these are still interesting? They’re not. Not when you have the same old crap every time…you have the shouting and the demonic forces and stuff falling and making noise all over the place. It’s just contrite. You could practically exchange the dialogue with this scene from any number of scenes in The Devil Inside. There’s nothing original about it and I seriously have a hard time imagining someone in today’s pop-culture obsessed world finding this in any way entertaining. Like what you want, but I’m just saying – how could you watch this and not go “hmm, this reminds me of The Exorcist only without the interesting characters and religious subtext”? What’s the draw? What’s the point?

There are some notable differences in the formula this time though - not in what happens; that's still horseshit, but in the little things. The minute details that make this so acutely funny when you stop and think. Like how their big plan is to transfer the evil spirit thing into, get this, A FUCKING CHICKEN.

He prefers to go by Herbert, or Master of All Living Things. Either one.

Yeah, real great idea there! The icing on the cake is a line by one of our bargain bin Ghostbusters: "The chicken won't feel any pain." Oh, thanks for telling me that. Lord knows, if the CHICKEN felt pain, I'd just keep the demon inside me forever. But now it's okay.

Also, how about the devil's choice in forms to take? He only seems to like turning into teenagers with baggy pants and bland, label-less clothing - he turns into the boyfriend and also into this weird kid with a Mardi Gras mask:

He takes off his mask later and it's actually Nell again. Ooh, symbolism...shut up Last Exorcism 2, go sit in the corner.

I think the best part is when they fail to get the demon out of her and then just decide it’s okay to kill her. It’s like, what the hell? If you’re going to trust people to tie you down to where you can’t move your arms or legs, it would probably be a good idea to reconsider how trusting you are to strangers. Seriously, they just give up! It’s like “welp, we didn’t get the demon out of her on the first try…time to kill her.” These guys have got to be the worst exorcists ever! Did that voodoo lady find them at the dollar store?

How would you like it if doctors acted like that? “Hmm, well, we couldn’t fix this person’s tumor with the first thing we tried. Oh well. Sally, put a lethal dose of morphine in her IV. She’s better off dead now anyway.”

Anyway, I guess she gives her life to the devil after all and is free to kill everyone in cartoonish ways, and go driving around a burning city in a cartoonish way. Yeah, this ending may as well have been written for a daytime Nickelodeon kids TV show. I mean come on, the way you pan out to the front of the house and then the guy just falls out the window? The driving with that stupid metal soundtrack playing? It’s hilarious.

This movie is just a mess. With the numerous characters and plot points that just get dropped halfway through, it feels unfinished and most likely was the victim of some heavy editing in post-production. It’s not the worst ever and there are a few scary moments, and a couple funny ones. Most of it is just lame though. I mean seriously, just lame – too much cliché, too little actual engaging ideas. This whole exorcism/possession trend is seriously the worst. I could write a script for one of these movies and get it green-lighted – anyone could! Don’t waste your money on this or The Conjuring, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Rite, The Possession, The Devil Inside or any of these films…go see something with more artistic merit!

Oh, I'm sorry, was my saying that too critical and snooty-sounding? Should I just accept movies the way they are and never criticize anything ever again, for fear of offending someone, anyone, anywhere on the Earth? Okay. Let me go put a rod up my ass and start on that right away.

Images in this review copyright of their original owners, I do not own any of them.