By Roger Moore
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
OK, so it wasn’t “The Last Exorcism” after all. Here’s “Part II,” an 88-minute bore without the nervy, shaky-camera found-footage conceit, without the doubting exorcist’s moment of truth, without the chills of demonic possession thrills that the low-budget original film served up.
“Part II” is every bit as cheap and far more generic, nothing more than a run-of-the-mill ghost story masquerading as “The Devil Made Her Do It.”
Ashley Bell, as Nell, the teen lusted after by Lucifer, seems exhausted, frazzled, out of her acting league and nowhere near her teen years in this sequel. Nell has stumbled into New Orleans, hounded during Mardi Gras even as she tries to convince doctors and those in a mental-health halfway house that “I’m not crazy.”
But she’s seeing her dead daddy (Louis Herthum). She’s hearing voices.
“Last Exorcism II” is a slower-than-slow thriller built around Bell, who isn’t at her most subtle or empathetic here. There’s no urgency to the performance, or that of anybody else trying to save poor Nell from Hell.
It’s a film of cheap shriek scares and fizzing frights that pack no punch. The effects are skimpy and cheesy, with that crazy contortion business that the first “Last Exorcist” took to new extremes rarely used.
Filmmaker Ed Gass-Donnelly sets too much of the action in broad daylight, which isn’t spooky. The dull acting doesn’t hide that there’s not enough story to justify setting this in Voodooville, USA — New Orleans.
So one can only hope that when the say “The Last Exorcism,” that they mean it.
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