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Movie review: The Last Exorcism Part II

A disappointing sequel proves a good exorcism is hard to find

CBS Films

March 2, 2013 | 12:21 p.m. CST

Piggybacking off the success of the 2010 horror hit, The Last Exorcism Part II picks up where its namesake left off. The film’s heroine, Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell), is back after somehow surviving the fiery backwoods shindig where audiences last saw her birthing a nonhuman demon child.

The film opens with a brief recap of Nell’s bone-crunching backbends and demon-fueled rampages, reminding audiences of the spiritual and physical torment she’s already suffered at the hands of the demon, Abalam. Then, we find Nell terrorizing the home of a young couple before being quickly whisked away to an all-girl halfway house in New Orleans.

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Here, Nell slowly begins to whittle away at her previous misfortunes and takes the shape of a still odd but less demonically troubled 17-year-old girl. She gets a job in a hotel, befriends her housemates and even goes on a date. But, soon enough, hallucinations from her dead father begin to appear that warn her that the demon plans to seduce her. A slur of eerie incidents follow that confirm one thing to Nell: Abalam is back.

At this point, the film loses all semblance of relation to the first. The plot is lazily dragged along though a series of cheap screams, including intensely creepy and awkward sexual moments between Nell and whomever Abalam is currently possessing.

And then, surprise! Another not-so-last exorcism is called for, which then leads to the film’s unimaginative and all-together disappointing ending.

In short, the gradual buildup of fear and horror that characterized the first film is traded in for a two-bit sequel. The filmmakers’ decision to switch from the effective faux documentary technique of the first film to a more classical narrative is yet another reminder of the vast superiority of the original.

While Bell’s performance showed restraint and some degree of poise, The Last Exorcism Part II fails to deliver the brilliant fear factor of the first and instead turns out to be just another boring, watered-down ghost story.

Vox Rating: V

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