Hopefully it Really Is The Last Exorcist (2020)
Title: The Last Exorcist
First Wide Release: October 12, 2020 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Robin Bain
Writer: Robin Bain, Amy Brown Carver, Lizze Gordon
Runtime: 79 Minutes
Starring: Danny Trejo, Terri Ivens, Rachele Brooke Smith
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Two sisters, Maddie and Jo (Terri Ivens, Rachele Brooke Smith), both survivors of their mother’s fatal possession, are haunted by something sinister. During a startling nightmare, one of them has a vision that the exorcist that saved them has passed away. We then learn that a terrorist attack on the Vatican kills most of the world’s exorcists with only one man, Marco (Danny Trejo), is left to teach others. It’s not long after that this woman’s sister gets possessed by a demon. It’s up to Marco to teach Maddie how to save her sister.
An absolute mess of a film, The Last Exorcist will have you praying for the closing credits to roll.
It is apparent that The Last Exorcist is a train wreck the moment we watch terrorists bombing the Vatican. From the get-go, we know this film has no interest in taking itself seriously, yet by the end we realize it has little ability to inspire either joy or laughter. Who exactly is supposed to enjoy this film? I’m still struggling to find an answer to that question. From the looks of it Danny Trejo certainly isn’t it, as he looks more bored than I felt watching it. I only had to suffer for an hour and twenty minutes, he had to shoot over the course of several days, maybe even weeks. I’ll pray that his next project won’t take so much out of him.
There are plenty of flaws in The Last Exorcist, but the script is easily its weakest link. An absolute muddled mess of silly and cliched dialogue, exposition dump after exposition dump, and its insistence on telling this interminable story through a sequence of flashbacks that never seem to end, it never really had a chance. Its characters are written with as much subtlety as a Michael Bay explosion. The possessed woman’s main character trait is how dependent she is on drinking and how that makes her close to the devil. Not only is this lazy writing, it’s also offensive. We love to see it!
Everyone is also just awful in this film. The aforementioned woman, Racehele Brook Smith, does her best impression of a drunk Kristen Chenowith and fails at capturing anything other than the lifecycle of an average bar patron: wasted out of their mind, getting horny, angry, and sad throughout the course of a night. Trejo and Ivens don’t do much better, which is sad considering just how solid of a character actor Trejo has been throughout the years. Their character’s plot together also makes little sense. Why doesn’t Marco just perform the exorcism himself? I’m sure there was a reason in the film, if I’m being truthful I’ve blocked most of it out of my memory since watching it, but it never made sense to me when watching. Oh well.
The Last Exorcist is an endurance test that I failed as I couldn’t keep my focus on it for more than a few minutes at a time. How can something 79 minutes long feel like three hours? I guess time slows when you are treated to terrible cinema. What was with the score? Why did it feel like they just turned on pandora and hit shuffle on a playlist titled “Generic Scary Sounds” and called it a day? Why did they show the Vatican actually being bombed from the outside when they didn’t have the budget to make it look even remotely realistic? Furthermore, why did they even bother with an explosion at all if they couldn’t take the time to ensure it synced up with the actual effects? This film’s entire production is a mystery to me.
At the end of the day, I really need to stop watching movies churned out by this company. I won’t because they are almost always easy to access for free, but I will continue to lie to myself! While it isn’t the worst film, it’s certainly bad in almost every way. It isn’t unwatchable but the acting, writing, production, and direction choices get pretty close sometimes. Hopefully, this will be this production team’s last attempt at demonic horror because we would all be much better off.
Overall Score? 3/10