Daniel Stamm’s frustrating faux-documentary about a charlatan exorcist confronted by a seemingly genuine case of demonic possession sustains its intriguing conceit until the last ten minutes, when a contrived generic ending pops up out of nowhere and erases all of its troubling ambiguities. It’s a crushing disappointment as the intimate immediacy of the preceding scenes is emotionally involving, psychologically disturbing and often downright terrifying.
The Reverend Cotton Marcus, a charismatic evangelical preacher who has lost his faith, invites a documentary film crew to record and expose the truth about his final ‘exorcism’. Even when confronted by 16-year-old Nell, the daughter of a fundamentalist Louisiana farmer, the lapsed believer is sceptical: fragile and naive, Nell appears more psychologically distressed than demonically possessed. Since the death of her mother six years before, Nell has been locked way by her strict father and fiercely protective brother. There are whispers about a secret boyfriend and a faint suspicion of incest but Nell is initially calmed by the reverend’s hollow religious ministrations. Then the demons return with a vengeance.
The credibility of faux-documentary filmmaking relies on clear plotting and convincing, semi-improvised acting. German-born director Stamm is well served in both departments: Huck Botkoand Andrew Garland’s script toys with our scepticism, assumptions and fears, and Ashley Bell, as the shockingly feral Nell, and Patrick Fabian, as the charming showman priest, are both utterly believable. Sadly, the promise of the initial set-up and the atmospheric intensity of the central scenes are squandered by the ending.
Cast and crew
Caleb Landry Jones
Average User Rating
3.3 / 5
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absolute rubbish, avoid! Started with good intentions and it could have been very good if the atmosphere had been continued and the storyline had been half way decent. The ending spoiled the entire film and we were left thinking not very nice thoughts!!!!!!
One of the turkeys of the year. I expected a lot from this as the only film that can potentially challenge it in the genre is Paranormal Activity 2, but this was boring, lazy and just crap in general. Listen to the reviews here and avoid at all costs!
what a rubbish film, wasnt scary at all. it just starts 2 get better then it finishes, worst film seen in a long time
Tbh the trailer is scarier than the movie its self a few scare bits to it but my personal oppion i prefer the exersm of emily rose to this
ONE of the worst films i have seen this year-only because as per usual its the SCARIEST film apparently! IT IS NOT! I went along with the script right to the end- RUBBISH
Wasn't sure what to expect - and really enjoyed it - it freaked us all out - and had some genuine scare moments. Patrick Fabian isn't someone I've seen before - but was excellent as Cotton. The ending didn't feel like a let down - it had to finish someway - and we've spent the journey home on conspiracy theories about which family members were innocent and which may or may not have been guilty. Well worth a watch!
This film had a great tone and used the documentary method of film-making well to induce some genuine scary moments. (The count to ten bit was awsome) I do agree with the critic though that a lot of the good work was undone by the ending. It's not that I think it was a bad ending, just not too original.
Frustrating is the word. A lot of fine, atmospheric work marred by sillyness...and not just at the end. Look out for...(POSSABLE SPOILERS).... 1) "lets all take a nap!" - 2) "She isnt possessed, she's ********!" & 3) Hot Fuzz scenes near the end. so near to being good. OR, if you love unintentional laughs...just pure gold! 6+/10
3 stars for this clusterf**k of a movie? I'd say it's the one film worse than Last Airbender, plus it's not scary at all. PG13 horror for people who don't get horror