In order of when I saw them.
The Last Exorcism: A child preacher turned (Protestant) exorcist/grifter wants to get out of the faith business, even though it pays his family’s medical bills. He invites a TV crew along for what he intends to be his last job, in which he hopes that his sleight-of-hand magic and Bible salesman’s patter will bring some comfort and peace to an isolated family whose grieving father thinks a devil has gotten into his daughter. Of course, we know the exorcism won’t go as planned–but the particular way this narrative twists, and then twists again, genuinely surprised me, and added depth to what could’ve been a cheap-thrills horror quickie.
Director - Daniel - Stamm - Remake - Sins
Director Daniel Stamm is also responsible for the American remake of 13 Sins. Both movies quickly but unsentimentally evoke financial pressures, and the love and responsibility a caregiver feels for a disabled family member. You’ll know within the first fifteen minutes if this movie is for you: If you care about this disillusioned preacher, if you believe in his cynicism, his confusion, and his attempt to do the right thing in the labyrinth of circumstance, you’ll be richly rewarded. (If you believe–isn’t that what they all say?) The movie has sympathy for its characters, exactly the right number of twists (not too many!), a terrific final image, and–maybe most importantly–a sense that life is baffling and desperate, but not meaningless. Evil is not the only or the most interesting truth.
Whoever Slew Auntie Roo?: One of those ’70s deals with an aging grande-dame actress, an OTT horror plot, and a question mark in the title. It’s good! It’s a sad, weird movie about former vaudeville belle, now castle-dwelling orphan-gatherer “Auntie Roo” (Shelley Winters) and her infected grief for her long-disappeared daughter. There are heavy-handed Hansel and Gretel themes, a...
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