She even gets a job cleaning hotel rooms and attracts the eye of a boy who works there (Spencer Treat Clark, 2009’s The Last House on the Left remake). But she can’t escape everything — namely, the demon still inside her.
Still produced in part by Eli Roth (Hostel) but directed by new blood Ed Gass-Donnelly, this sequel does something new for this series without doing one damn thing new for possession pictures. I have to give it major credit for continuing the story without just telling the same story again. For one thing, it’s not another found-footage vehicle. For another, it transplants the action — or, as is the case for roughly half the running time, inaction — to New Orleans.
The NOLA culture of masked revelers, boobs for beads and urine-stenched streets is ready-made for plopping such a sheltered, homely heroine into. While I greatly miss Patrick Fabian’s charlatan preacher of the original film, Bell again turns in a solid performance as Nell. With her jumpy, fraidy-cat demeanor and homespun speech (“Shush, you!”), I believe she is that girl.
Unfortunately, while she may give it her all, The Last Exorcism Part II itself feels halfhearted. Its best scenes arrive at the very beginning and the tail end, with wildly varying results in between. It’s not the disaster its tepid theatrical take suggests, but neither is it a success. It sits somewhere in the middle, its head awkwardly arched.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s Blu-ray boasts one of the year’s most memorable extras in a two-minute prank compilation titled “Hair Salon Scare: The Last Exorcism Part II Goes Viral.” Unlike the movie, I had to watch it twice. —Rod Lott
Hey! Read This:
• The Apparition Blu-ray review
• Hostel / Hostel: Part II Blu-ray review
• The Day Blu-ray review
• The Last Exorcism Blu-ray review
• The Last House on the Left film review
• The Possession Blu-ray review