Before I even start to review this movie, let’s all take a moment to reflect on titling your film “The Last” anything. See, once you call something “the last (insert thing here, preferably scary), you’ve kind of given up your right for a sequel. Hey, you called it the last, right? Not in Hollywood, my friends! There, you can have another Last Exorcism – which then makes the first one The Second-to-Last Exorcism? What if there’s another sequel? Sorry, We Really Thought That Other One Was the Last Exorcism? I don’t mean to beat a dead (possessed) horse, it’s certainly not the only movie in the world with an unwieldy title. So let’s talk about the actual film, and leave this title behind us.
The Last Exorcism 2 follows returning character Nell (played again by Ashley Bell) as she tries to move on from the ordeal she experienced in the first film. She moves into a halfway house with a shrink and a few other girls and tries to begin a normal life. But Abalam, the demon who impregnated her in the first film (maybe with her consent, maybe not???), isn’t done with her yet. Nell is hounded by Abalam and his followers at every turn. They thwart her attempts at a normal life (including a possible love interest) and implore her to let Abalam back into her, because only he loves her. Racy stuff, people. Nell tries to resist, but she still has a small piece of the demon inside her, so she tries another exorcism (because the last one worked out really well).
The hilarity of this movie is that it’s essentially a will they/won’t they comedy, except it’s horror and one of the “theys” is a demon. Let me into you, only I love you, only I have ever cared for you – if these words were spoken by a dude and not a demon, we’d totally be in a rom-com.
The movie doesn’t have much going for it. The plot is wafer-thin (WAFER-thin? Get it? Get it????), the supporting characters are undeveloped, and really, not much happens until the last 10 or so minutes of the film. What it does have is Ashley Bell, and she is the saving grace of the film. Bell has real talent – we’d already seen her knock it out of the park as Nell in the first Last Exorcism, and she brings just as much depth to this second last exorcism. Nell has a sweet fragility about her, which makes her moments of temptation that much more affecting. Her shaking hand as someone offers her a kindness, her terror mixed with desperate desire as she confronts Abalam in several forms – Bell makes all facets of the character believable.
In short, Bell is the reason to watch The Last Exorcism 2. Pretty much the only reason. But she’s a good reason.