Review: The Last Exorcism Part 2
PLOT: After surviving the tragic events that took place in the first film, Nell Sweetzer finds herself starting over. Soon however she realizes that the demon that once possessed her has more in store for the innocent young woman.
In THE LAST EXORCISM, we meet a naïve and troubled young woman named Nell (Ashley Bell). Sheltered all her life by her father Louis (Louis Herthum), she became victim to a seemingly demonic force. Her performance as Nell was compelling as an innocent possessed by a monstrous evil. She survived! However so did the darkness that followed her in the first film. In the sequel, she is taken into a home for troubled girls in order to put her past behind her – at least what she can remember.
The best thing I can say about THE LAST EXORCISM PART 2 is the fact that it avoided churning out another “found footage” flick about the same story. Director Ed Gass-Donnelly avoids the trap of re-exploring this world via a camera operator. We witness Nell attempting to start her life again and the people that bring her in and try and convince her that nobody is coming after her. Apparently none of these good folks have ever dealt with a demonic entity.
Ashley Bell once again breathes life in Nell. You would be hard pressed to find another actress who could convey the vulnerable state that she is required to do here. Her kind of sort of romance with a young man she works with named Chris (Spencer Treat Clark) works better than it should have thanks to her engaging performance (as well as Clark’s for his limited role). Yet much like all the supporting characters in this sequel, he oftentimes seems superfluous to what is going on. This is a battle between Nell and her demon past, all others be damned.
THE LAST EXORCISM PART 2 attempts to rise above the first film and it certainly does on a budgetary level. Sadly, the story meanders along as we witness Nell wandering around Louisiana surrounded by people we don’t care about. As good as her performance is, everybody else falls by the wayside. They’re fodder and it seems as though you could have taken out several of the players and not felt a thing. In the finale, those that attempt to help Nell just conveniently show up and have no real substance. However the final few frames of this film are a tad better than I would have thought, especially after the poor ending to the first film.
Exorcism movies are clearly very difficult films to pull off. Aside from a very small handful, they tend to disappoint rather than really build tension. THE LAST EXORCISM PART 2 has a few creepy moments and once again features a very strong and interesting actress leading us through. It is a better film than it could have been thanks to Gass-Donnelly taking a different path than the original. There are a few jump scares yet it lacks any real momentum. It seems that they were on the verge of creating a sequel that is scarier than the first, but with too many minor characters muddling it all up with a meager payoff, it only amounts to an average and dull thriller that’ll be a better bet for home viewing.