The Last Exorcism

The Last Exorcism

Theatrical Release Poster
Directed by Daniel Stamm
Produced by Eric Newman
Eli Roth
Marc Abraham
Thomas A. Bliss
Written by Huck Botko
Andrew Gurland
Starring Patrick Fabian
Ashley Bell
Music by Nathan Barr
Cinematography Zoltan Honti
Edited by Shilpa Sahi
Distributed by Lionsgate
Release dates
  • June 24, 2010 (2010-06-24) (Los Angeles Film Festival)
  • August 27, 2010 (2010-08-27)
Running time
87 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1.8 million[2][3]
Box office $67.7 million[3]

The Last Exorcism is a 2010 American found footage supernatural horror film directed and edited by Daniel Stamm. It stars Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell, Iris Bahr, and Louis Herthum.[4]

The film follows a disillusioned evangelical minister, who after years of performing exorcisms decides to participate in a documentary chronicling his last exorcism while exposing the fraud of his ministry. After receiving a letter from a farmer asking for help in driving out the devil, he meets the farmer's afflicted daughter.[5][6] This film received positive reviews from critics and was a box-office success.

A sequel, The Last Exorcism Part II, was released on March 1, 2013.


Reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with his wife and son. Marcus, who lost his faith after the birth of his ill son, is accustomed to performing fake exorcisms on "possessed" individuals. He chooses an exorcism request sent by farmer Louis Sweetzer (Louis Herthum), who claims his livestock are being slaughtered by his daughter Nell (Ashley Bell) who is possessed.

After listening to the details of the case, Marcus claims Nell is possessed by a powerful demon named Abalam. Prior to the exorcism, Marcus bamboozles the family into believing he is driving out a demon. After the ritual, Marcus and his film crew leave, believing they have cured her of a mental state that was misdiagnosed as a possession. That night, Nell appears in Marcus' motel room, apparently unwell. Marcus takes Nell to the hospital for tests, which conclude that Nell is in perfect physical condition. Marcus goes to see Louis' former pastor, Joseph Manley. Manley informs Marcus that he has not seen Nell for two years. In the morning, Louis takes Nell home, but chains her to her bed after she slices her brother Caleb's (Caleb Landry Jones) face with a knife. That night, the crew find a drawing of a dead cat.

Nell steals their camera and goes into her father's barn, where she brutally smashes a cat to death while filming it with a camera. She returns to the house and approaches Marcus with the camera, and just as she's about to make contact, the crew stop her. The crew then discover two more of her paintings. The first depicts Marcus standing before a large flame, holding up a crucifix. Also depicted is Iris cut into pieces, and Daniel decapitated.

When everyone learns Nell is pregnant, Marcus accuses Louis of incest, which he denies, insisting that Nell is a virgin and has been defiled by the demon. The crew has a confrontation with Nell, who slashes Marcus's hand with a pair of scissors and then flees. The crew decide to leave, and when they see Nell sitting on the porch, Marcus approaches her and she tackles him. Louis is about to kill Nell with his shotgun, while Nell is begging him to. To keep Louis from killing her, Marcus offers to attempt a second exorcism.

Marcus confronts the entity, Abalam, who agrees to release Nell only if Marcus can remain silent for ten seconds. Abalam begins breaking Nell's fingers as it counts aloud. After breaking three of her fingers, Marcus yells for Abalam to stop. Abalam then asks Marcus if he wants a "blowing job." Marcus realizes that a demon would know the actual name of the sex act and concludes that Nell is not a demon, but a very disturbed girl. Nell anguishes over losing her virginity to a boy named Logan, resulting in her mental breakdown rather than possession. Marcus arranges for Pastor Manley to come to the house, and leaves. On their way home, Marcus and the crew meet Logan, who explains that the only contact he had with Nell was a brief conversation 6 months ago at a party held at Pastor Manley's home. Logan admits that he is gay and therefore did not have sex with her. Marcus realizes that Pastor Manley was lying about having not seen Nell for two years. He returns to the Sweetzer farmhouse, where they find numerous occult and countercultural symbols on the walls, and Nell and Louis missing.

Marcus and the crew wander into the woods, where they see a large fire and a congregation of hooded cultists, led by Pastor Manley. Louis is tied up, gagged, and blindfolded while hooded figures pray around an altar, atop which Nell is bound. She gives birth to an inhuman child. Manley throws the child into the fire, which causes the fire to grow rapidly as demonic roars emanate from within. At that moment, Marcus' faith is restored, and he grabs his cross and rushes towards the fire to combat the evil. Iris and Daniel are discovered; Iris is tackled by a member of the congregation and killed with an axe. Daniel continues to run, until he stops to take a deep breath. He then looks around to see if he was followed, before turning back to find Caleb, who is wearing clean clothes and a bandage covering his wound. Caleb then decapitates Daniel and the camera falls to the ground, before it cuts out.



The film was slated to be a part of the South by Southwest Film Festival 2010.[19] However, on February 12, 2010, Lionsgate purchased the rights for the US Distribution[20] and pulled the film from the SXSW fest and set the release of the film for August 27, 2010.[21]

The film had its world premiere at the LA Film Festival on June 24, 2010[22] and was here introduced by Eli Roth and Daniel Stamm. Members of the cast were also introduced on stage, Patrick Fabian, Ashley Bell, Louis Herthum, Caleb Landry Jones, Iris Bahr, and Tony Bentley.[23] The Last Exorcism was the last screened film on August 30, 2010, on the Film4 FrightFest 2010.[24]

Bloody Disgusting hosted the screening of the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con International[25] and the second screening on 24 July 2010 is narrated by Eli Roth.[26]

Poster controversy

In the UK, a poster image for the film showed a young girl, wearing a blood-spattered dress, bent over backwards below a crucifix. This poster received 77 complaints, the complainants describing it as "offensive", "distressing", and "unsuitable for public viewing". Two people also claimed the girl in the poster seemed to have suffered a sexual assault, a complaint which was not upheld. The Advertising Standards Agency decided that the image could not be used on a publicly visible poster since that was an untargeted medium but was acceptable on the back cover of Cineworld magazine.[27][28]

Viral campaign

The Last Exorcism used Chatroulette as the medium of its viral campaign involving a girl who pretends to unbutton her top seductively, then stops and turns into a monster. At the end, the URL of the film's official website is flashed on screen.

Home media

The Last Exorcism was released on DVD and Blu-ray on January 4, 2011. The Blu-ray includes the DVD of the film and a digital copy as well.[29]


Critical Reception

The Last Exorcism has received generally positive reviews from critics, garnering a 72% "Fresh" rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes based on 151 reviews, with the site's consensus being "It doesn't fully deliver on the chilly promise of its Blair Witch-style premise, but The Last Exorcism offers a surprising number of clever thrills."[30] The film received a 63 out of 100 on Metacritic, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[31] At Yahoo! Movies the film holds a B- based on twelve reviews.[32]

Box office

The Last Exorcism opened at #2 at the U.S. box office the weekend of August 27, 2010, behind Takers. It grossed $20,366,613 from 2,874 theaters in its first three days.[33] The Last Exorcism had a budget of $1.8 million.[3] The film remained in the top five, falling to number four in its second weekend. The film went on to gross $41 million domestically and $26.7 million foreign to total $67.7 million worldwide.[3]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Recipient Result
2011 People's Choice Award Favorite Horror Movie Nominated
Independent Spirit Award Best First Feature Daniel Stamm Nominated
Independent Spirit Award Best Supporting Female Ashley Bell Nominated
MTV Movie Award Best Scared-As-Shit Performance Ashley Bell Nominated
Empire Awards Best Horror N/A Won


On August 23, 2011, The Hollywood Reporter announced that a sequel was in the works.[34] On April 20, 2012, an audition sheet revealed the film's full title as Beginning of the End: The Last Exorcism II.[35] The film was directed by Ed Gass-Donnelly,[34] with Damien Chazelle (Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench) providing the screenplay.[36] Ashley Bell reprises her role as Nell.[34] On January 2, 2013, the poster for the film was released, revealing the final title to be The Last Exorcism Part II.[37] The film was also produced by Eli Roth.


  1. "The Last Exorcism << British Board of Film Classification". British Board of Film Classification. 2010-07-12. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
  2. Fritz, Ben (August 26, 2010). "Movie projector: 'Avatar' re-release a wild card as 'Takers' and 'Last Exorcism' debut". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  3. 1 2 3 4 The Last Exorcism (2010). Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  4. Lionsgate Plans 'The Last Exorcism' for August. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  5. Lionsgate's 'The Last Exorcism' to Premiere at the LA Film Festival. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  6. Bloody Girl is Having a Bad Day in the Eli Roth Produced ‘Cotton’. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  7. Late Summer Debut for Last Exorcism
  8. Afm '09: First Ever Images From Eli Roth's 'Cotton'!!
  9. Hi-Res Look at Creepy Possessed Girl in Eli Roth's 'Cotton'!
  10. First Look: First Photo from Eli Roth's Exorcism Film Cotton
  11. Trailer Debut: Lionsgate's The Last Exorcism
  12. Back-breaking One Sheet Debut For 'The Last Exorcism'!
  13. Two New Images: The Last Exorcism
  14. The Last Exorcism Goes Viral – Visit the Church of St. Marks Online
  15. The Devil Finds New Host in 'The Last Exorcism' Trailer Debut!
  16. Viral Marketing Campaign Begins For 'The Last Exorcism'
  17. 'Cotton' to Be Shown to Sundance, Full Casting Released
  18. Wicked New One-Sheet: The Last Exorcism
  19. Possession at Full Mass in New Hi-Res 'Last Exorcism' Images
  20. Lionsgate Acquires Us Rights for The Last Exorcism
  21. Lionsgate Attends The Last Exorcism This August
  22. LA Film Festival Premieres 'The Last Exorcism', Other Genre Fare
  23. BC Catches Up With 'Producer' Eli Roth at the 'Last Exorcism' Premiere
  24. 'Hatchet II' Opens, 'Last Exorcism' Closes Film 4 FrightFest Film Festival!
  25. Bloody Disgusting Hosts Special San Diego Comic-Con Screening of 'The Last Exorcism'!
  26. SDCC '10: BD Hosts Special Comic-Con Screening of 'The Last Exorcism'!
  27. The Last Exorcism poster banned. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  29. "The Last Exorcism Blu-ray Announced". Retrieved 2010-10-29.
  30. The Last Exorcism Movie Reviews, Pictures. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  31. The Last Exorcism Reviews, Ratings, Credits. Metacritic. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  32. The Last Exorcism (2010). Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  33. Weekend Box Office Results for August 27–29, 2010. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-12-02.
  34. 1 2 3 "The Last Exorcism Sequel Has a Director".
  35. "Last Exorcism II full title revealed". 2012-04-20. Archived from the original on April 25, 2012. Retrieved 2012-04-23.
  36. "The Last Exorcism Sequel Planned". 2011-08-23. Retrieved 2011-08-23.
  37. "Poster for The Last Exorcism Part II Revealed".
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