Monday, November 29, 2010

"The Last Exorcism"(2010)d/Daniel Stamm

Your body is suddenly invaded by a foul denizen of the nether regions.You spout obscenities,blasphemies,and speak in dead languages that you've never learned.Welts,bruises,and stigmata appear upon your skin.Your joints lock up and your back and extremities flex at impossible angles.You crawl around on the walls and ceiling like a hellish insect.Others are frozen in terror,while I have just one thing to say.Baby,where you been all my life?You come at me oozing sexiness like that,and I'll send your soul parasite screaming back to Hades with an ice pack between its tentacles after a non-stop weekend in Grafenberg Heaven.You may be demonically possessed,but I'm Italian.That's a sucker bet.I've got Giardiniera coarsing through my veins,I've got more obscenities,blasphemies,rough foreplay,and pioneered pleasure positions(that'd have the peanut colored rascals behind the Kama Sutra turning beige)that you can shake a biforcated tail at.Don't make me have to chase you up the ceiling.Compared to most of the so-called "normal" chicks I've sampled,you're deep soul kisses at sunset in a suite at the Chateau d'Esclimont.
Needless to say,I was amped to hear about the upcoming release of tonight's feature,co-produced by Eli "Hostel" Roth,with visions of pillow-chested sex kittens skittering across my walls.The viral ad campaign on the interwebz was classic and effective as fuck.Of course,after I finally screened it,I was faced with a different kind of film than I was expecting at the outset.Exorcism is a mockumentary,in the "you are there" style and tradition of Blair Witch Project,[rec], and Paranormal Activity(which we'll be checking out some time this week,so keep your eyes rolled back for it)with a twist ending that seems like a throwback to Satansploitation fare of the seventies.Sounds great,right?Well,it would have been,if not for that goddamned shaky handheld camerawork that got real old about two movies after it caught on.There's plenty of it on display here,cockblocking a really cool idea from rising above mediocrity.Not to say there aren't cool things happening in Exorcism,because there are a few.If you're into movies about abductions by dark otherworldly forces or a stickler for mood-capturing camera placement vaguely reminiscent of the degree to which your humble N is,you might have a harder time coming out of a viewing feeling much good about it.
Cross illumination?Just make a right past the second cornfield then pull in behind Skeeter's Bronco.
Cotton Marcus(Patrick Fabian)is an evangelical minister who's lost his faith.Naturally,he gathers a documentary film crew to debunk his whole former existence like a jaded magician revealing his secrets in front of the camera lens.He proves his flock are mindless sheep who don't even listen to the words of his sermons by randomly throwing "banana bread" into a filmed one and getting the same applause and cheers from his religious followers.Another of his Godly tools,exorcism,he has sworn off of after reading of a child suffering from autism being smothered to death during a botched rite,too close to home for a father of a disabled boy,as he is.Deciding to perform one titular last exorcism for the cameras,he randomly chooses a letter from a desperate farmer in a remote area of Louisiana who claims his teenaged daughter Nell(Ashley Bell)is possessed by the Devil himself.While seeking directions to the Sweetzer farmhouse,Marcus is advised by a teenaged boy(who turns out to be Nell's brother,Caleb)to go back from whence he came,and the back window of the crew van gets pelted by a cow patty to boot.Nice neighborhood.At the farm,Marcus meets Louis,Nell's father,and assures the God-fearing man that he will rid the girl of the demons inside her.Upon Iris(Iris Bahr)'s direction and in front of Daniel(Adam Grimes)'s lens,Marcus apes for the camera with hidden speakers in his clothes,smoke-billowing crucifixes,and a creaky bed repeatedly slamming the floor,convincing the farmer he is battling a powerful demon named Abalam.He collects a cash fee after he concludes the demon has been exorcised,only Nell mysteriously shows up at the crew's hotel room in the middle of the night,five miles away.
Another satisfied customer dragged kicking and screaming away from the kid over here.Abalam bam,thank you,ma'am.Sorry...
Marcus takes the girl to the hospital,hoping psychological and physiological tests will prove to her father that she suffers from an entirely worldly problem,but the tests all come back negative.Louis takes Nell home,and chains her to her bed for slicing Caleb's grill with a knife(seen that on Cops about three hundred times,big deal).While the farmer takes his son to get his face unfucked at the hospital,Marcus and crew free the girl from her chains,only to be awakened by the sounds of a crying baby in the middle of the night,and Nell standing blankly in the hallway,after which she retreats to the bathroom to drown one of her baby dolls in the tub.The crew finds a juvenile drawing of a dead cat.Hmmm,that's peculiar.That night she steals their camera,pulling and stretching her face in front of it,then smashing the beejeesus out of the family cat with it in the barn before trying to discreetly brain Marcus' dome with it.They find more paintings.Depictions of Marcus being consumed in a giant flame,his director mutilated,and the cameraman beheaded.Strange.Louis makes it home from the hospital to hear an answering machine message that his daughter has a cupcake in her Easy Bake Oven.Marcus deduces that the farmer is an incestuous kiddie fiddler when Sweetzer tells him the demon must have impregnated her,matter-of-factly.Nell attacks Marcus again,and the minister agrees to perform another exorcism rather than let the hayseed blow her away with a shotgun.Out in the barn,Nell lets the evil presence inside her come forth,contorting her body and neck at inhuman angles,speaking Latin,breaking two of her own fingers backwards,identifying itself as Abalam,and asking the holy man if he wants a "blowing job".Marcus,certain that a demon wouldn't flub such choice obscenity,gets the girl to admit she was knocked up by a local boy named Logan and committed her wild aggro play out of the shame of her deeds.Only when they question the alleged fornicator,they discover he's got a bright future as a hairdresser or interior decorator.They return to an empty farmhouse swathed in Satanic symbolism(pentagrams,inverted crosses,ICP graffiti)nad when they roam out into the woods to investigate weird noise,they stumble upon a horrible sight.Most of the town,led by the local Protestant minister, in black occultist robes,chanting over Nell,outsretched on an altar in front of a bonfire,while her father is tied to a pole nearby.She gives birth to something inhuman which the cult tosses into the fire,causing the flames to rise to towering proportions as demonic voices billow out into the night sky.Marcus,faith regained by the Hellish sight,pulls out his crucifix and rushes towards the flame,alerting the cultists to their presence.Iris eats axe-driven Satanic death as Daniel flees the scene,camera in tow.When he stops momentarily to catch his breath,Caleb appears out of the darkness,and beheads the shit outta him.The camera hits the ground,fade to black.Satan-1,Cotton Marcus-0.
Body by Auntie Anne,eyes by the dark lord and master.
The German Stamm's previous feature,A Necessary Death,is another palsy-cam production.There's a shocker.Ashley Bell,who's even pretty cute when she's in control of her own body(and did all her own twisting,being naturally hypermobile....mmmmmmm),acts next in The Day,an apocalyptic film(yaaaaawn) in 2011.The Pennsylvania native,Fabian has cut his teeth in television,appearing in everything from Big Love to Reba,ferchrissakes.Producer Roth,who recently had a cameo in Alexandre Aja's 3D Piranha remake,has giving his faux trailer for Thanksgiving a full feature treatment and The Funhouse 3D next on his "to do" list.I just really hate shaky camerawork,and you probably should by now,too.It doesn't signify "scared" more than "lazy" to me,and really detracts from the genuinely creepy bits which had a chance.I'd love to give this one a higher rating,but we don't grade on failed potential here at the Wop,only finished product.Two wops.Worth a look.
Stay just like that.I'm getting my Levi's off right now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pre-order your copy of The Last Exorcism DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack today!

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