Friday, September 10, 2010


... with my usual disclaimer:  I don't think I have any particular insight, but this does tie in to issues of casting, realism, etc., that we deal with, and it's an interesting, relatively inexpensive format.

--   Jim Terr  Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA    Tel. 505-989-9298        Over half a million YouTube views - but who's counting?    


            Film Review Jim Terr – KUNM - © 2010

                        Hear Audio

I’m fascinated by the mockumentary, or mock documentary, or faux documentary, genre. SPINAL TAP is probably the best-known example, but it was so loaded with comedy that almost no one could have thought it was real. Many others have been produced with seemingly the intention to really make you wonder whether they’re real, with perhaps just the slightest wink to those discerning enough to figure out that they’re not.

 Great fun for the filmmaker, and occasionally amusing and thought-provoking for the viewer, and instructing for me, since I’m working on one in the mockumentary genre myself.

 A new release called THE LAST EXORCISM follows a disillusioned young preacher who sets out with a film crew to document what a sham are the exorcisms he and his colleagues have been practicing for years, and charging big bucks for. The final case he plucks at random from his inbox is a request concerning a young girl in spooky Louisiana bayou country.

 The clues that this final expedition is going to go very wrong start popping up immediately, and before long, the wink-wink as he shows his exorcism props and tricks to the camera crew give way to real terror and deep doo-doo.

 It’s really quite effective and scary, as we feel the panic of the minister and the film crew trapped with some real and suspected crazies, and real and suspected demons. We wonder, they wonder, and it all gets pretty terrifying, as they want to get the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of there but are drawn back  by concern for the teen girl in question, who may be abused, possessed or both.

 My main objection to THE LAST EXORCISM – and it may be just me – has to do with the casting and acting. Most of the actors, particularly the lead character, the preacher, look a little too much like actors, and you can see them – or him – acting. Which spoils the illusion a bit. I think it’s a very difficult thing to pull off, a fine line to walk, but THE LAST EXORCISM misses the 100% mark slightly on the realism score, due to being slightly too slick somehow.

 I’ve read that there’s been some controversy and audience anger about an ending that’s too abrupt and too ambiguous, but I, normally the easily-confused filmgoer, thought the ending was clear and appropriate, and the story is more clever and engaging the more I think about it.

 THE LAST EXORCISM is just opening in theaters throughout northern New Mexico. This is Jim Terr.


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