The Last Exorcism Part II is the epitome of the unnecessary sequel. The story is slow to develop, the scares are scarce and the screenplay itself is half-baked. However, for all that’s wrong with it, there are some truly incredibly awful scenes that approach awesomeness that it would make for perfect “MST3K” material.
Genre(s): Horror, Supernatural
Sony | Unrated – 89 min. – $35.99 | June 18, 2013
Directed by: Ed Gass-Donnelly
Writer(s): Huck Botko & Andrew Gurland (characters); Damien Chazelle (story), Damien Chazelle and Ed Gass-Donnelly
Cast: Ashley Bell, Julia Garner, Spencer Treat Clark, Louis Herthum, Muse Watson
Theatrical Release Date: March 1, 2013
Features: Audio Commentary, Featurettes, UltraViolet Digital Copy
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 23.0 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 1.5/5
I think the poster, and in turn Blu-ray/DVD covers, tell everything about this movie: it’s beyond reason, but that might be the film’s best asset. One would assume this was a Scary Movie sequel than one to the relatively popular The Last Exorcism which took in a healthy $67.7m worldwide gross on a $1.8 million budget. But like all sequels, they had to amp things up and The Last Exorcism Part II got a bump in budget ($5 million) but apparently somebody forgot to write a lively script…
The story opens at a young couple’s home where they are awoken by strange noises coming from the kitchen. The husband investigates and finds the demonically possessed Nell Sweetzer (ASHLEY BELL) crouched on the counter. We next find her getting examined but won’t answer the doctor’s questions but she comes to life while getting cleaned up by the nurse, Cecile (TARRA RIGGS), as she witnesses some sort of transformation.
Fast forward several months, Nell is living in New Orleans at a state home for girls and things seem to be looking up. She has no memories of the events that transpired in the first movie and she’s making friends with fellow housemates including roommate Gwen (JULIA GARNER). Nell has a steady job working for a low rent motel and also catches the eye of co-worker Chris (SPENCER TREAT CLARK). All of this is new for Nell having never experienced society with sights, sounds and love.
Things seems to be looking up for Nell but slowly, and I do mean slowly, she begins seeing people, like her father, who are supposed to be dead and having unusual dreams which result in the demon professing its love for Nell who has its own plans for something truly horrific. Even the safe haven of the girls home is breached when one of the girls dies of a strange seizure and then the others discover the exorcism tapes, including the demon baby birth, online and rightfully so, they’re not quite comfortable with Nell being in their presence.
But Nell isn’t entirely alone and receives help from Cecile. She is a part of the “Order of the Right Hand” who have been monitoring Nell and as the demon continues to gain strength, they must come up with a plan to stop it before it’s too late.
Alright, one would think that with a running time of 85-minutes, sans credits, this would be a breezy little horror movie but instead, we get a character examination for Nell and the scares are few and far between, but even so, they’re mostly bangs on the walls or jump scares more than anything. It’s painfully slow to the point I was finding other things in the room to watch.
Another issue, aside from the screenplay — written by Damien Chazelle (first major release) and Ed Gass-Donnelly, who also helmed — making no sense or having little actual suspense, The Last Exorcism Part II is an all around silly film with more utterly laughable scenes rather than anything you can take seriously. It’s also pretty bad when you have a scene when, in her sleep, Nell hovers in the air in an arched shape. For any supernatural horror fans, you might remember something very similar in Paranormal Activity 4… So they, likely unintentionally, ripped off a third sequel to an, IMO, overrated found footage franchise.
If I had anything positive to say is that director Gass-Donnelly chose to break out of the “found footage” form of the original and go strictly traditional filmmaking, so rather than continue on with an overused gimmick, just scrapped it; it’s just a shame the screenplay stunk. The other encouraging aspect is… at times this may very well fit in the “so bad, it’s good” territory. As much as I appreciate the difficulty star Ashley Bell went through, and she was excellent the first go-around, she’s asked to mainly do facial expressions rather than dialogue as the filmmakers chose this to be more of an introspective piece early on.
I find it hard to find fault with the cast as they, Ms. Bell in particular, try their hardest but have some of the dumbest things to do or say. I especially have sympathy for Spencer Treat Clark, who I last remember in Unbreakable playing Bruce Willis’ son, had perhaps one of the most preposterous scenes of recent cinematic history to perform. Again, I don’t want to spoil it, but I hope it’ll become something of legend.
The finale is also laughable and while I won’t spoil anything, it does involve a chicken. ‘Nough said. I don’t know, I think by this point in the movie, I had entered into some kind of delirium because I couldn’t help but chuckle at the sequence. It’s really bad but at the same time, oh so awesome.
The Last Exorcism Part II is a dreadfully dull movie early on with very few scares and it seems Ed Gass-Donnelly was more interested in seeing Nell’s reintegration into society than making a horror movie that, you know, actually scares the audience. In the end, for all the good will the first film had, this is a bad film all around.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 1.75/5
The Blu-ray release comes with a matted/textured slip cover and inside is a download code for the UltraViolet Digital Copy.
Audio Commentary – The movie may be crap but Co-Writer/Director Ed Gass-Donnelly and Producer Eli Roth try their damndest to prop it up chatting up giving behind-the-scenes trivia and on-set anecdotes. However, and on the nose, Roth surmises those listening to the commentary either really like it or is somebody who writes for a blog and had to listen to it. My friends, I think I found Nostradamus! Anyway, the movie is terrible but at least Roth and Gass-Donnelly keep things interesting.
Nell’s Story (2:37; HD) is a short interview with Ashley Bell and Eli Roth talking about the main character. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Shooting in New Orleans (2:16; HD) is more of the same, including some of the same sound-bites, with Eli Roth explaining filming in New Orleans and how it was integral to her character.
Hair Salon Scare – The Last Exorcism Part II Goes Viral (2:21; HD) is a prank set-up where an actress sits behind a two-way mirror to scary the living crap out of patrons.
Previews – The Call, Evil Dead
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment unleashes The Last Exorcism Part II on Blu-ray presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a solid 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture here, especially for what I assume is a low budget, looks pretty good with great details throughout, stark black levels and a finely balanced color array which seems to be in keeping with the director and DP Brendan Steacy’s intentions.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
Though the scares might be scarce, the audio certainly picks up when we get the jump cuts, thumps on the wall, demonic voices, etc. The dialogue levels are also well done coming through the center channel with a crispness and clarity. Other audio, like “creepy” old radios, possessed TV’s and ringing phones help expand with Michael Wandmacher’s score rounding things out with this lossless track.
OVERALL – 2.0/5
Overall, The Last Exorcism Part II is the epitome of the unnecessary sequel. The story is slow to develop, the scares are scarce and the screenplay itself is half-baked. However, for all that’s wrong with it, there are some truly incredibly awful scenes that approach awesomeness that it would make for perfect “MST3K” material. The Blu-ray released by Sony is pretty standard with great audio/video transfers while the supplemental features are minimal outside of a good commentary track.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.