The Last Exorcism
Cleverer and more devious than it needs to be, this superior little horror jape draws on a bunch of our favorite films—the Oscar-winning doc Marjoe, Zak Penn’s Incident at Loch Ness, Jack Starrett’s Race With the Devil, Edmund Goulding’s Nightmare Alley, and Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez’s The Blair Witch Project—and turns them into something horrifying and original.
The Rev. Cotton Marcus, a jaded evangelical con man (Big Love’s Fabian) hits the road with a small film crew to expose the secrets of his trade for the world to see, but the subject of what is supposed to be his last exorcism, home-schooled Nell Sweetzer, is in way deeper trouble than he can imagine. When the first ritual doesn’t take, her drunken, psychologically troubled dad insists on a second, while Cotton and appalled filmmaker Iris (Bahr) start to insist the girl needs medical and psychiatric help. Meanwhile, a folksy local pastor (Bentley) insinuates himself into the household to mediate among the fake healer, the true believer, the increasingly violent Nell, and her creepy brother Caleb. Pretty soon it’s unclear who believes what, who’s playing whom, and where the bloodshed and weirdness are going to end. Huck Butko and Andrew Gurland wrote the sick, funny, subversive screenplay.