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Doesn't the word 'last' in the title automatically make it subject to limitations? The Last Exorcism was supposed to be the last exorcism, right? What's with this 'Part II' baloney?

Things were going so well for Nell (Ashley Bell) in the group home where she was deposited after all the mishigas that went down in the first Last. She broke free from the found-footage format, made new friends, dabbled in cosmetics, and even met a boy. But Abalam, a Pazuzu by any other name, refuses to allow Nell to kick the crummy sulfur off her shoes and move on with her life

For 75 minutes Ed Gass-Donnelly's The Last Exorcism Part II chugs along with the requisite amount of shrieking violin strings, schlock-shocks, and radio transmissions that only our heroine can hear. Then suddenly, there is a change and the proceedings begin to veer in the direction of nutzy.

No casting call went out for an evangelical type and a gofer wasn't sent to Western Costume with instructions to rent a purple stole. Neither priest nor fundamentalist was invited to the casting out party. This time it's Calder (David Jensen), a corporate suit, who performs the title cleansing.

SPOILER ALERT

From Reagan and Audrey to Abby and Emily, I've seen just about every filmed exorcism there is and to the best of my knowledge, this is the first time the exorciser takes the "kill or cure" approach. At one point Calder basically throws his arms in the air and calls for a lethal injection.

It doesn't stick. The filmmakers are banking on Nell's presence in yet another finishing installment and for its final third the film takes on a loopy life of its own. Sheltered Nell -- prior to the group home she had never heard so much as one rock song -- is suddenly possessed with the ability drive a car and cause just about everything that comes in her path to explode.

While the ending didn't entirely justify the means, it was engaging enough where I didn't leave the theatre angry. The four people who joined me at the opening weekend screening (and a paltry $8 million take) should indicate that this will indeed be that last Last Exorcism.

Reader Rating: Two Stars

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