The Last Exorcism (2010)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Horror, Thriller  |  27 August 2010 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.6/10 from 40,031 users   Metascore: 63/100
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A troubled evangelical minister agrees to let his last exorcism be filmed by a documentary crew.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wright Jr. ...
Justin Shafer ...
John Wilmot ...
Logan Craig Reid ...


In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the evangelical Reverend Cotton Marcus was raised by his father to be a preacher. He agrees that the filmmaker Iris Reisen and the cameraman Daniel Moskowitz make a documentary about his life. Cotton tells that when his wife Shanna Marcus had troubles in the delivery of their son Justin, he prioritized the doctor help to God and since then he questions his faith. Further, he tells that exorcisms are frauds but the results are good for the believers because they believe it is true. When Cotton is summoned by the farmer Louis Sweetzer to perform an exorcism in his daughter Nell, Cotton sees the chance to prove to the documentary crew what he has just told. They head to Ivanwood and they have a hostile reception from Louis's son Caleb. Cotton performs the exorcism in Nell, exposing his tricks to the camera, but sooner they learn that the dysfunctional Sweetzer family has serious problems. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Believe In Him.


Drama | Horror | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for disturbing violent content and terror, some sexual references and thematic material | See all certifications »

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

27 August 2010 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cotton  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$20,366,613 (USA) (27 August 2010)


$40,990,055 (USA) (2 October 2010)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Shot in Louisiana partly because of a generous tax credit. See more »


Supposedly is filmed with a single camera, but for several dialogues, courts are seen as being of two different cameras. See more »


[first lines]
Shanna Marcus: Cotton!
See more »


Referenced in IMDb's 20th Anniversary Star of the Day: Eli Roth (2010) See more »


Black Paws, Snow Deep
Written and Performed by Caleb Landry Jones (as Caleb Jones)
Courtesy of Caleb Jones
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A decent film for people who like AND understand horror
27 August 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I've been reading the reviews and felt the need to clarify a few things in case you're reading these reviews, debating whether or not to see this film.

1. It is not the worst horror film ever. People who say something like that obviously have not seen enough horror films to know the worst ones. By no means is this movie a revolutionary breakthrough that will reinvigorate the horror genre, but the film does a good job at making a decent exorcism movie documentary-style.

2. The video camera shaking is not that bad. Yes, it shakes, but that's the style of the movie. Get over it. If you don't like that style at all and are always made sick by it, don't see it.

3. To say the ending was ambiguous and left people missing the themes of the movie and therefore a bad choice is also a bit ridiculous. If you saw the movie Inception and still loved it despite the "ambiguous" feeling the film left you with and the obsessive pondering over what actually happened in the last dreams sequence then you can't complain at this ending which was NO WHERE near as complex. If you take a few minutes to work it out (talk amongst your friends if need be), the ending is not ambiguous at all.

4. The filmmakers themselves never claim that this is actual footage. So stop worrying about "how they found the camera footage" in the first place. The filmmakers made a work of fiction, and I'm sure they hope their audience understands this.

I can't deal with all the critiques, but to comment on the films good qualities:

It does add a few different takes on the "classic" form of an exorcism film such as the documentary-style, the characters, and particularly the ending.

As far as scariness, you have to understand the nature of what makes a good exorcism horror and good documentary horror: the "sluggish build up" (as many juvenile critics have termed it) is everything. What makes these movies great is that you, for a while, forget you're in a horror movie and start to believe you're watching real events unfold. You can split hairs over how long the film needs to convince you that these people and situations are real but without it you have no movie, or no good exorcism/documentary horror film. With it's slower (I wouldn't use sluggish) beginning the film hopes to sincerely connect you with the characters and believable setups so that when bizarre events do occur you are more likely to (sincerely) accept them and be frightened by them. No, the movie was not overwhelming scary. It doesn't go for cheap jump out moments (maybe once or twice) or CGI animations of demons popping out everywhere. But it does deliver a more realistic approach to child possession than most of its predecessors, which is pretty scary.

The ending is definitely a big moment for people's final judgment of the film, because it goes in such a different direction from what the rest of the film points too. But as stated before it is not ambiguous. All I will say is keep an open mind, and realize that this film though documentary-styled is still a work of fiction (again, as stated before). It took me a few moments to adjust once the ending was over, but after some thought I didn't mind the twist. Could it have been better? Definitely. Am I outraged? No. The film makers just wanted to produce something a little different than the expected exorcism ending. Perhaps the biggest upset of the ending is that it detracts from majority of the film's atmosphere of realism.

If you ARE a fan of exorcism movies and movies like the Blair Witch Project or even horror movies in general, The Last Exorcism is a good watch to satisfy your boredom and keep you entertained for an hour and a half, especially if you understand and like the construct of "sluggish build up" and if you have a few extra bucks that you're looking to spend.If your looking for a horror movie that will revive the horror genre for our time, this isn't it. But the film isn't trying to be the next big name in horror, so my rating is based off of the intentions of the film itself. Overall, the movie did it's job in being mildly original, having great acting (considering that this is in fact a lower-budget horror movie), in staying true to the genre, and in delivering an engaging story.

259 of 373 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Cotton saying it was Abalam in the beginning C_Clop
I've seen many movies and never I've turned it off after only 10 minutes Peter34
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can anyone recommend similar films? SeethesignS
devil worshippers chanting 'banana bread' ununchanged
Ending ripped off of Rosemary's Baby Metallica1113
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