Yes, Abalam returns in the sequel to 2010′s The Last Exorcism. Unlike its predecessor, Part II frustratingly drops the found-footage format, and instead opts to take on a more generic style of film making. Comparable to how REC 3 absolutely ruined that series of films, The Last Exorcism Part II isn’t just a step down; it’s an entire staircase.
Personally, I love found-footage films. I think people have to get over the fact that this isn’t just a fad any more. We all just need to accept the fact that found-footage films aren’t going anywhere, and they will have to be cemented as an actual genre, just like drama, thriller, action etc., and no longer a horror sub-genre.
The original ‘Exorcism’ had everything that makes a found-footage film enjoyable. Original, unexpected scares. Unusual scenarios that wouldn’t be effective if shot normally. A sense of domesticity that makes the scares more intimate and ultimately more chilling.
The plot too is unsurprisingly bland and predictable. Hospital. Foster home/mental asylum. Freak occurrences. Exorcism. Usually terrible and unsuccessfully vague ending.
Nell (the possessed girl in question from the first film), somehow makes it to a random couple’s home, and is found in their kitchen hiding behind the refrigerator. She is sent to a hospital, and throughout the entire film, appears to be in a hypnotised or catatonic state. After getting cleaned up at the hospital, she is sent to an all girl’s home, where she tries to fit in with the other young ladies and works as a chambermaid at a hotel. Bad dreams, hallucinations of her dead father and harassment from the townspeople who are seemingly under a demonic influence themselves all lead to a conclusion that I was MORE than expecting (almost HOPING) that the movie wouldn’t lead to.
Of course, this is a 2013 sequel to a mixed-reviewed found-footage horror movie, and I should have known better. The scares are just annoying and pitiful. Terrible attempts at jump-scares with no genuine suspense felt before them. Bad story. Bad writing. Bad directing. At least Ashley Bell (Nell) has some obvious talent, she just needs to be given the chance she deserves; her skill is better off else where.
Oh, and Eli Roth? Don’t put your name on things like this. You’re better than that.
Director: Ed Gass-Donnelly
Writers: Damien Chazelle and Ed Gass-Donelly
Cast: Ashley Bell, Julia Garner, Spencer Treat Clark, Muse Watson, Louis Herthum
Distributor: CBS Films
Running time: 88 minutes