Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Last Exorcism Part II (2013)(Spoiler Review)

**This review contains spoilers**

Following the events of The Last Exorcism, Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell) is alone and frightened. After a psychiatric evaluation, Nell is sent to a home for troubled teenage girls. Frank Merle (Muse Watson) is the caretaker of the home, and Frank dismisses Nell’s demonic possession as trauma from a troubled past.

Eventually, Nell is accepted into the inner circle of teens at the home, and Nell catches the eye of a potential boyfriend named Chris (Spencer Treat Clark). Nell is finally at peace with her new happy life, but everything changes after a series of eerie warnings from random strangers. Nell is forced to relive a deadly nightmare, because the demon Abalam is back to possess Nell.

With no other options, Nell puts all of her faith in Cecile (Tarra Riggs), a nurse, who cared for Nell at the hospital. As a member of a secret order dedicated to stopping demons, Cecile receives help from the leader, John Calder (David Jensen) and his assistant, Jeffrey (E. Roger Mitchell). Nell clings to a second chance to vanquish a returning Abalam once and for all, but the crafty demon offers Nell an irresistible proposal…….

 Ashley Bell takes the honor for best performance again in the sequel. Although, Nell’s character is too one-dimensional this time around. In the first film, Bell was able to bounce back and forth between the innocent, pure teen, and this raging psychopath. In the sequel, Bell doesn’t have the freedom to show her talents, because for the VAST majority of this film, Nell is stuck in one gear as this frightened and panicky mess of a person.

The Last Exorcism featured some nice twists, turns, and thrills towards the end. The sequel? Not a chance. I had trouble keeping my eyes open throughout the movie, because Part II is so painfully boring. We KNOW Abalam is back, and we know he’s real, so the constant “Is Abalam back? Is he real?” teasing didn’t make any sense at all.  If you didn’t watch The Last Exorcism, the teasing MIGHT fool you, but I’m one of the people, who took the time to watch The Last Exorcism, and yeah, I know Abalam is real.

A few noticeable plot holes are another problem here. Okay, so Gwen (Julia Garner) is another troubled teenage girl living in the home with Nell, and she’s obviously working with Abalam. A girl in the house has a violent seizure one night, and while all the other girls are terrified (including Nell), Gwen is the only one smiling. One night Nell’s father shows up out of the blue, and Gwen murders him. Gwen confirms her demonic status, when her eyes turn black all around. Eh, okay, If Gwen is working with/for Abalam, then why did she spend so much time toying with Nell? I don’t get it.

And Gwen murdering Nell’s father leads me to another dilemma: How did Louis (Nell’s father) find her? Remember, at the end of the original, Louis is tied up, while the cult is performing the ritual on Nell. So how did he escape? They never bother explaining Louis’ whereabouts, or how he found Nell. So frustrating.

Part II takes a dog chasing his tail in circles approach to storytelling, and the finale? Egads it’s awful. So Nell is seeking the answer to one big question: How do I stop Abalam? Well after Cecile’s voodoo magic fails, she calls in the rest of the team (Calder and Jeffery) for Plan B. I was expecting some grand shocking surprise, but Part II delivers another deflating gut punch at the end, because Plan B is another freakin’ exorcism. That’s right, Calder’s big plan is another exorcism.

Let me get this straight. Calder and this secret order followed Nell’s story, they know all about her, and they know an exorcism didn’t work the first time around, so why would you try another exorcism again? Well, I guess the caged chicken (the planned vessel to contain the demon, after a successful exorcism) counts as a change, but it’s a disappointing finale either way you look at it. Part II leads you to believe they’re building towards a different solution to finally take care of Abalam, but you’re forced to sit through a dull movie and wait for an underwhelming and unsatisfying “grand finale.”

Sorry, but I couldn’t feel the SHOCK with Nell finally embracing Abalam. To give you a brief explanation, the attempted exorcism on Nell failed, so Calder makes the tough choice to give Nell a lethal dose of morphine, because killing Nell is the only surefire way to stop Abalam and free Nell. Nell, realizing she’s seconds away from death, accepts Abalam’s help, and Nell uses Abalam’s powers to kill Calder, Jeffery, and Cecile. After escaping the failed exorcism, Nell returns to the home, kills Frank, and Nell uses her new powers to burn down the house, killing all the girls inside. You know something, if Part II didn’t bore me to tears, I might’ve felt something during Nell’s rampage……but Part II bored me to tears.

A demon in love? Yep. Apparently, Abalam fell in love with Nell, and without Nell, Abalam is lost and “powerless.” Wow. Nice way to completely destroy the mystique for an evil demon, who can‘t function without his targeted victim, because he‘s too lovesick. Seriously, at times I got the feeling Part II was trying to agitate the audience, and the heartbroken demon is a shining example of some head-shaking moments throughout this one.

Part II Completely drops the found-footage style, so there’s no sense of realism. On top of that, Part II uses this schizophrenic technique of randomly inserting archived footage from the first film for flashbacks. And to make things worse, Part II shackles Bell into a one-dimensional role with a “I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON!” character, so Bell doesn’t have a chance to show off her true talents. Plus, Louis Herthum (Nell’s dad) is the only returning cast member from the first film with a physical appearance here. The other cast members from the first film only appear in the archived footage used for flashbacks.

The Last Exorcism Part II is an excruciatingly boring sequel that’s void of any tension, suspense, or thrills. The tacky and cheap CGI is hard to ignore, the story is stuck in standstill mode, and you’ll see one too many unintentionally funny moments here. Believe me, I’m 100% serious, when I say this, I’m shocked Part II received a theatrical run, because a straight-to-video release would’ve been more appropriate for this one. Congratulations Part II. Now you’re free to join the crowded group of unnecessary and poor quality horror sequels!

Rating: 1/10

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