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The Last Exorcism (2010)

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A troubled evangelical minister agrees to let his last exorcism be filmed by a documentary crew.


Daniel Stamm
7 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Patrick Fabian ... Cotton Marcus
Ashley Bell ... Nell Sweetzer
Iris Bahr ... Iris Reisen
Louis Herthum ... Louis Sweetzer
Caleb Landry Jones ... Caleb Sweetzer
Tony Bentley ... Pastor Manley
John Wright Jr. John Wright Jr. ... John Marcus
Shanna Forrestall ... Shanna Marcus
Justin Shafer Justin Shafer ... Justin Marcus
Carol Sutton ... Shopkeeper
Victoria Patenaude ... Motorist
John Wilmot ... Spindly Man
Becky Fly ... Becky Davis
Denise Lee ... Nurse
Logan Craig Reid Logan Craig Reid ... Logan Winters


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


Eli Roth & Strike present See more »


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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official site | Official site [Japan] | See more »


France | USA



Release Date:

27 August 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cotton See more »

Filming Locations:

Louisiana, USA See more »


Box Office


$1,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$20,366,613, 29 August 2010, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$41,034,350, 26 September 2013

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$67,738,090, 26 September 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Originally entitled "Cotton" after Reverend Cotton Marcus. 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 Chelsea Lately: Episode #7.31 (2013) 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

The Last Exorcism: A Big, Super-Creepy Surprise!
7 January 2011 | by eytand94See all my reviews

After seeing "Paranormal Activity," I decided to take a break from the "found footage" horror film. That's right. I decided to skip "The Last Exorcism" when it was in theaters. However, the critical praise poured in and the hype started to build. So, I finally watched the film on DVD. And I gotta say, I was so surprised.

Reverend Cotton Marcus is an evangelist minister. He's done his fair share of exorcisms, but he sees them as a bunch of bull. Cotton gets a letter to come down to another part of Louisiana to perform an exorcism. He accepts, and decides to bring a camera crew with him to film the footage of what is to be his last exorcism. Enter the farm of the Sweetzer family: Religious father Lewis, his weird and rude son Caleb, and his sweet 16 year old daughter, Nell. Nell is the one that is supposedly possessed and could be the one killing the livestock. Cotton sees Nell's actions, and he dismisses them as the behavior of an insane, abused young girl. But what if he's wrong?

We've had plenty of possession flicks, ranging from the profane and disturbing classic "The Exorcist" to the recently well-done court drama/horror film "The Exorcism of Emily Rose." Going into this one, the audience gets a feel that they've seen this before. How wrong they were. "The Last Exorcism" is a possession flick, but it's so much more well-done than you'd expect it to be. And it's scarier too.

After such movies as "The Blair Witch Project," "Quarantine," and "Paranormal Activity," "The Last Exorcism" does follow the "found footage" formula like those before it. Like Oren Peli, director Daniel Stamm has a keen and sensational visual eye, offering up a healthy dose of suspense, terrifying "BOO!" moments, and the gut-wrenchingly violent and frightening behavior of Nell Sweetzer.

Screenwriters Huck Botko and Andrew Gurland have written a script that avoids the classic horror movie clichés and pulls out all the stops. Once the story gets going, there's no stopping it. Nell's actions start off strange and grow increasingly more horrific as the movie goes on. I don't know if Hitchcock was a fan of demonic horror, but he would be proud with the story Botko and Gurland have weaved.

Next to the "found footage" concept, what elevates "The Last Exorcism" above others is its music. Usually, in order to achieve the raw "home camera" feel, there is never any music in a horror film like this. However, Nathan Barr composes some truly creepy music that gets under your skin as equally as the movie does.

A mostly unknown cast of actors give performances to remember, especially Patrick Fabian and Ashley Bell as Cotton and Nell. Sure, Cotton has faith, but he doesn't believe in the devil. The character could have come off as extremely obnoxious. But Fabian gives the role a fantastic third dimension that allows you to care about Cotton. Bell's portrayal of Nell Sweetzer is absolutely unbelievable. Like Jennifer Carpenter in "Emily Rose," playing a possessed teen is not easy. Bell gives the role all of the layers it needs to look real. She is sweet when she has to be, and the same goes for when she's pure evil. Also, Nell's body-cracking movements don't come off as CGI. It looks like Bell is doing all the work, making her performance just as good.

During the movie, I chose not to compare it to "Paranormal Activity," and it works better that way. "The Last Exorcism" and Oren Peli's film equal each other out. This film doesn't offer up a slow build up, and just sends you on a roller coaster ride unlike any other. "The Last Exorcism" is one of the best nail-biters of 2010, and call me crazy, but it comes pretty close to being the "Exorcist" of our generation. It is incredibly scary, and for a PG-13 horror movie, it gets away with a lot of stuff. It will stay with you long after you've left the theater or turned off your DVD player, and it will leave you with questions. Was God anywhere when needed? Was Nell really possessed or just crazy? You'll soon find out. And I don't care what anybody says. The ending is a stunner.

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