It was nice to see a little mutual love for both Bloody Valentine's in our last Face-Off
. I, too truly am a fan of both and it was tough picking a winner. The comments sort of balanced out the same way as well between the remake and the original. So much love!
With The Last Last Exorcism, I mean The Last Exorcism 2 (how paradoxical) opening this past Friday, it only felt right to bring you a battle between two flicks with some serious "babe demonic possession" action! And if you're wondering why we didn't include the mighty classic The Exorcist in one corner, the power of Christ compels you to exit our beloved genre! Okay, enough preaching! Prepare your petrified peepers for the Face-Off of The Exorcism of Emily Rose Vs. The Last Exorcism!
We get a different spin on the demon-fighting father with Father Moore. Although his intentions are only to help, he comes under fire for taking part in poor Emily's fate. Tom Wilkinson, as always, provides a perfect performance as the quietly strong Irish priest who wants nothing more than to defend his faith. All this man wanted to do was save a terribly troubled girl and still ended up in jail for it. Tough stuff.
The Reverend Cotton Marcus is quite the paradox. On one hand, he is a caring, preaching family man. Yet on the other, he is quite the scam artist, being driven to obtain as much cash as he can with his "exorcising" skills. He is quite the layered character and Patrick Fabian does a great job progressing gradually from religious huckster to true believer.
Jennifer Carpenter turns in a star-making performance here as the titular possessed lass. While wrestling with the indescribably evil force trapped inside her, she showcases a wide range of contortions and wails that perfectly exemplifies the torture she is going through. Honestly from her sorrowful sobbing to her powerful eyes, Carpenter's entire performance borders on Oscar worthy.
Ashley Bell does a fine job as the damsel in demonic distress. Her down home, sheltered farmer's daughter act in the beginning has a real authenticity that makes what she endures seem all the more harsh. Once fully possessed, she belts out a bad-ass display of insane head jerks, creepy eye expressions, and sick contortions. Some very effective, scary shite!
The way that Emily becomes possessed with those blackened eyes and sharp twitches will creep the crap out of anyone. Carpenter really knocks it out of the park in terms of freaking folks out. That coupled with the fact that the possessing demon's evil spirit could be virtually anywhere f*cking with people is a pretty ominous constant reminder.
The filmmakers actually used the "found footage" angle here to a surprisingly effectively creepy effect. The dark corners of the farm house, the creepy artwork painted in blood on the house's walls, and the general sense of the unknown that is always in the back of your head. When the shit really starts hitting the fan, this flick does an admirable job and comes close to the level of Blair Witch.
The demon going after Emily is no f*cking joke. Not only does it batter and scare the shit out of the girl before taking possession, but even after she is no more, it still ain't through. Those participating in the trial after her death become haunted. Now, there's a f*cking demon that goes above and beyond.
The demon, Abalam, is certainly one downright evil motherf*cker. He likes to prey on the innocent, ie: virginal girls. Even worse, the only way to save the possessed person's soul, without an exorcist, is through death. How about that? Death is the only out. Harsh stuff. And the biggest, most depraved insult of all? He actually knocks up poor Nell with his little, rat-looking demon seed. Damn!
In a finale that cross cuts between Emily's exorcism and the court's final arguments, we are treated to a intense spectrum of revelation. It turns out that Emily was possessed by SIX demons! Also, a key witness for Father Moore's defense dies in a freak car accident! We go on to learn of Emily's brave decision to endure the pains of the Devil in order to prove that he exists, thus proving that God exists as well. Some deep, intense stuff!
Well, the possessed Nell gets taken captive by some crazy local cult and is made to give birth to some icky, bloody, rat-like creature that is subsequently thrown into a bonfire. That alone is pretty f*cked up, but then there is the little matter of the reverend and his film crew. All three of them end up being burned, chopped up, and beheaded just like a picture that Nell had drawn earlier in the flick. How's that for some poetic justice?
The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Oh Lord! We had ourselves a close one here! I guess I shouldn't be surprised that with heaven and hell hanging in the balance, the result was nothing short of epic. But what I really want to know is what you think. Should Emily have bested the Last Exorcism? Are higher powers at work here? Spit them bullets below and let me know! And feel free to send any future Face-Off ideas to me at firstname.lastname@example.org