This latest in the found footage files, is this misfire that could have been really scary had the idiot studio not demanded a PG-13 film. How many bombs have to be made before these numnuts wake up and see that horror fans really, REALLY hate PG-13 horror films. This movie has all the reasons why.
Starring no one of any recognition and directed by newcomer Daniel Stramm, this low budget horror film only cost 2 million and made 40 million. Had they actually made a good movie, this total would have doubled. Look at Paranormal Activity which was made for far less, grossed over a 100 million domestic and was RATED R. Sure you made a profit but far less than if you had hit for the cheap seats.
The plot was actually rather clever. Reverend Cotton Marcus(Patrick Fabian)is a popular Evangelist who seeks out a possessed person to prove demons don't really exist. He's also a talented magician which plays heavily into what occurs. He is being followed by a documentary crew, recording his travels to the bayous of Louisiana. Once there, he comes across a young innocent farm girl, Nell (Ashley Bell) who may or may not be possessed. She is ultra religious, home schooled and possibly a victim of incest. But as the plot unfolds, it becomes less clear whether she is possessed or mentally ill. Several scenes are actually well filmed and kind of eerie, including a great shot of Nell standing at the end of the hall shrouded in darkness. The ending is subject to some debate as to if it works or not but I thought it was fine.
My problem with this film is the lack of any kind of gore, scares or even horror. It is simply too tame for it's own good. You CANNOT have a demon possessing a young girl without flashing back to the far superior Exorcist, rated R for a good reason. Here, Nell is Reagan lite. She's possessed by a psycho more than the bane of all evil. Bell reminds me a lot of the similarly inferior The Exorcism of Emily Rose, where the actress involved does all her own contortions without special effects, a creepy effect. But here it has no pay off because we know what we going to see is watered down nonsense. There is no sense of danger or even fear. This is a movie that demands nudity, sex, violence and lots and lots of gore. What we get instead is a made for TV movie. A huge misfire that has gotten piss poor reviews from most horror fans.
It's a not a complete waste as the directing isn't bad, the acting is decent and had they the balls to make a real horror movie, could have been scary as hell. But this wasn't.
2 stars out of 5.