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SONY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Ed Gass-Donnelly
Cast:
Ashley Bell, Julia Garner, Spencer Treat Clark, David Jensen, Tarra Riggs, Louis Herthum, Muse Watson, Erica Michelle
Writing Credits:
Ed Gass-Donnelly, Damien Chazelle (and story), Huck Botko (characters created by), Andrew Gurland,(characters created by)

Tagline:
The Second Coming.

Synopsis:
Continuing where the first film left off, Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell) is found alone and terrified in the woods. Back in the relative safety of civilization, Nell realizes that she can't remember entire portions of the previous months only that she is the last surviving member of her family. Just as Nell begins the difficult process of starting a new life, the evil force that once possessed her is back with other, unimaginably horrific plans that mean her last exorcism was just the beginning.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$7.728 million on 2700 screens.
Domestic Gross
$15.152 million.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $35.99
Release Date: 6/18/2013

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Ed Gass-Donnelly and Producer Eli Roth
• “Nell’s Story” Featurette
• “Shooting in New Orleans” Featurette
• “Hair Salon Scare: The Last Exorcism Part II Goes Viral” Featurette
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


The Last Exorcism: Part II (2013)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 21, 2013)

When you call a movie The Last Exorcism, don’t you paint yourself into a corner? Doesn’t that title leave no room for a sequel?

Apparently the flick’s producers intended “last” to mean “the last one until the next one”, as the 2010 film did well enough to spawn 2013’s The Last Exorcism Part II. In the first flick, Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell) underwent an exorcism. Since that time, she’s tried to move on but she remains haunted by the alleged presence of the demon Abalam.

To aid in her recovery, doctors send Nell to live in a New Orleans group house. Initially she does well and prospers, but inevitably, Nell’s past catches up with her. She gradually starts to see more creepiness around her and once again must confront the demon that haunts her.

Just like Jaws wrote the book on shark movies, The Exorcist defined its genre. Does that mean no one else should ever try to make a movie related to that subject matter? No, but it does mean that any subsequent efforts will be directly judged next to the 1973 classic – and that they’ll almost inevitably pale in that comparison.

I never saw the original Last Exorcism, so I can’t discuss how good/bad/indifferent it may have been. I can’t say that Part II gives me many hopes that its predecessor would’ve been a worthy effort, though, as it’s just a big mess of horror cliches in search of scares that never materialize.

Nor do we find anything that vaguely resembles a narrative. There’s no plot or character development, as we find little more than a bunch of allegedly creepy elements without much to sustain them. Perhaps part of this comes from the nature of the sequel, as Nell would’ve been better detailed in the first flick, but the stagnant nature of this film’s progression still seems problematic.

If the movie did something to pique our interest and involve us, I might not mind the absence of compelling story/character components, but instead we get the kind of lazy filmmaking that seems to sink so many modern horror flicks. Rather than earn scares, they tend to overwhelm us with ominous music and cheap jolts.

Those dominate Part II. We find tons of slow-motion shots of creepy characters – clad in Eyes Wide Shut masks for no logical reason – and spooky music along with the occasional “shock” moment. None of these do anything other than make the viewer want to watch The Exorcist instead.

Essentially Part II just asks us to watch Nell look spooked for about 90 minutes. There’s not a scary or interesting moment in this slow, pointless endeavor.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

The Last Exorcism appears in an aspect ratio of approximately :1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The transfer consistently seemed satisfying.

Sharpness was usually very good. A few wide shots looked a smidgen soft, but not to any serious degree. The vast majority of the film appeared well-defined and concise. No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. In terms of print issues, no concerns materialized.

Like most modern horror movies, Part II went with a stylized palette. Much of the flick stayed with a pretty desaturated set of tones; a few brighter colors popped up in some moments – particularly during street scenes - but that was about it. Within those constraints, the hues were appropriate and well-rendered. Blacks seemed dark and tight, while shadows showed nice delineation and didn’t appear too dense. Overall, this was a positive presentation.

Similar thoughts greeted the fairly good DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Part II. The soundfield mostly delivered a mix heavy on atmosphere. Ominous noises cropped up in the side and rear speakers, and scare moments added to the track. Those elements created a nice sense of place and added impact to the material.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech sounded crisp and distinctive, and music appeared robust and full. Effects were accurate and dynamic. Low-end response showed good thump and richness. Nothing here dazzled, but the audio merited a “B”.

When we shift to extras, we launch with an audio commentary from director Ed Gass-Donnelly and producer Eli Roth. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific look at changes from the original film and sequel-related challenges, sets, locations and production design, influences and inspirations, cast and performances, music and effects, cinematography, and some other areas.

From start to finish, Gass-Donnelly and Roth provide a strong commentary. They lapse into a little too much praise at times, but they usually concentrate on film-related subjects and cover them in a concise manner. We learn a ton about the flick in this brisk, informative piece.

Three short featurettes also appear. We find Nell’s Story (2:37), Shooting in New Orleans (2:16) and Hair Salon Scare: The Last Exorcism Part II Goes Viral (2:21). In these, we hear from Roth and actor Ashley Bell as they discuss story/characters and locations.

The first two featurettes are purely promotional. “Story” is a decent recap if you never saw the first film, but we don’t really learn anything from these snippets. “Salon” shows a practical joke played on the patrons at a shop. It’s pretty lame.

The disc opens with ads for The Call and Evil Dead. These show up under Previews along with promos for Dead Man Down, The Woman in Black and Seven Psychopaths. No trailer for Exorcism appears here.

If you want a good supernatural horror flick, look somewhere other than The Last Exorcism Part II. Slow, plodding and pointless, the movie lacks anything to make it compelling. The Blu-ray delivers very good picture, appropriate audio and a useful audio commentary. I have no complaints about this release, but the movie itself bores.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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