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(2010), PG-13 [R-13*] (1hr 23min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
January 5, 2011
January 8, 2011

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Christian Long Distance

(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2010), PG-13 [R-13*] ... just uttering of the letters that form His name ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Strike Entertainment, StudioCanal, Arcade Pictures, Louisiana Media Productions
Distribution (US): Lionsgate Home Entertainment
Director(s): Daniel Stamm
Producer(s): Marc Abraham, Thomas A. Bliss, Patrick Curd, Ron Halpern, Patty Long, Gabrielle Neimand,Eric Newman, Douglas Plasse, Eli Roth
Writing Credits: Huck Botko, Andrew Gurland
Cinematography/Camera: Zoltan Honti
Music: Nathan Barr
Film Editing: Shilpa Sahi
Casting: Lauren Bass
Production Design: Andrew W. Bofinger
Viewed on Studio Canal/Lionsgate Home Entertainment DVD

Sam O'Connell of the Washington Post says "Refreshingly original" about this latest in the plethora of mockeries of Spiritual faith. There is little "original" about it. For example, in The Exorcist (1973) Linda Blair as Regan displayed vaginal bleeding on her night gown as did the quintessential actress of this film, Ashley Bell as Nell Sweetzer, the supposedly possessed 16 year old girl. Blair did it much more vulgar than Bell but the parallel is there. If any of us have seen movies about exorcisms and/or satanic rituals, we've already seen this one. Scott Mantz of Access Hollywood says "Scary, gripping and very intense" about this movie. His review of this film must have been his first experience with a Hollywood exorcism movie.

My lack of being awed by the amount of dazzle used in this film may be because I have been numbed by having seen more than 1300 films from all genre, but the extremes used in this film were not all that extreme. After all, the film is rated PG-13 for "Disturbing violent content and terror, some sexual references and thematic elements." "Thematic elements?" This film then must talk about Jesus. It does. But not so much in a reverent or respectful way as much as just uttering of the letters that form His name in an obligatory fashion. Granted, the film script calls on the power of Jesus to cast out demons but as with most other films like this one evil is portrayed as more powerful or at least more successful than Jesus -- one more cinematic attempt at trying to make the untrue sound true: one more attempt to lessen He who spent three days in Hell so you and I would not have to spend one moment there. (More on this in the next paragraph.)

Unfortunately, as do many movies like this one that, under the surface, challenge faith and belief in God, this movie combines the Truth with hare-brained speculation in an attempt to make the untrue sound true; the unbelievable seem believable [Isa. 5:20]. An example of this is found toward the beginning when the reverend Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) speaks of the story of Lucifer and his banishment from Heaven. The accounting of this Truth by the writers is accurate to God's Word. Marcus further explained accurately how Jesus Himself was an exorcist since He cast out demons. In all this, the script is true and accurate, setting the stage for what comes next -- encouragement of the viewer to trust what is said in the film which leads into believing what it says.

Another misleading property of embellishing God's Word and faith in Him with that which is heavy in this film is that after watching the film one might project onto Jesus, the Master Exorcist the image of an exorcist that was learned in film. One might now envision Jesus as a Bible-thumping pastor begging and pleading for a demon to leave a victim, swinging a book around as He repeats phrases from it as the Earth trembles and thunder peals and as the possessed pukes and becomes grotesque and deformed: that Jesus might now appear to the film watcher to be ... something He is not. Let me share with you how Jesus did it. He said "Go." And the demons left. That is all. Jesus did not use any tools or any ritualistic preparations. He just said "Go." And they went. [Matt. 8:32]

Marcus explained also that if you believe in Jesus you must believe in demons if for no other reason than Jesus cast out demons. Many folks don't noticeably capture the reverse side of that coin but it can register in your mind without being aware of it -- that if you don't believe in demons you can't believe in Jesus. The mental/emotional conflict caused by that subliminal warfare can embolden one into questioning the Truth or even into believing untruths. One must test all they see and hear in and as entertainment [1 John 4:1]. Even the tag line for the title of this movie takes advantage of ambiguity: "The Last Exorcism: Believe in Him." Believe in whom? By the sentence mechanics of that line it is as easy to conclude the line is speaking of the exorcist and not of Jesus even though "Him" is capitalized which is proper when writing of Jesus. But capitalizing the "H" in "Him" is also in obedience to the capitalization rule for words in a literary title. Just another example of 'setting the stage' by strategically creating duplicity of meaning to guide the thought process on a desired path.

One of the trailers for this film reports that "in the summer of 2009 a documentary film crew captured what few have ever seen." The same trailer also makes the statement "If you saw the truth, would you believe it?" To me, these promotional comments suggest a claim of this film being "a true story." Beware, dear friends! As 1 John 4:1 warns, don't believe everything you see or hear on the big screen.

Well, I do believe that demons exist because and only because God's Word tells us they exist and because Jesus cast them out. I believe that ghosts, too, exist because the Holy Spirit is a ghost. That is why the Holy Spirit is called the Holy Ghost. But have I ever personally encountered a demon or a ghost? No. Not that I know of anyway. I have figuratively met the Holy Ghost because I am saved by His Precious Sacrifice. But have I seen an evil ghost? No. And I probably never will since God protects His children (the believers) from such evil [James 4:7]. Related to this concept is a little tidbit for contemplation -- that we (adults) should be nice to strangers for they may be angels. [Heb. 13:2]

Enough of the sermon.

Rev. Cotton Marcus doubts his faith. He comes to believe exorcism is a hoax. He is out to prove it. One of Marcus' followers, Mr. Louis Sweetzer (Louis Herthum), wrote Marcus to beg him to come to his family to do an exorcism for his daughter, Nell who is believed to have been mutilating her father's livestock. Marcus felt this to be the perfect venue to document proof that exorcism is a hoax. Marcus assembles his camera team and his tools and tricks then proceeds to the Sweetzer farm. That was a mistake.

On his way to the Sweetzer farm, Marcus and company meet teen Caleb Sweetzer (Caleb Landry Jones) on the dirt road to the farm. With thrown rocks Caleb expresses that he does not want the preacher any where near his family. Escaping harm, Marcus and company proceed to the Sweetzer farm where Louis, the father, welcomes the pastor but demands the camera be turned off ... for now.

After Louis instructs Marcus of his daughter's problem Marcus proceeds to perform an exorcism, a fake exorcism using trickery concoctions. Not knowing it to be a gag, Nell goes through all the motions of appearing to be possessed by Abalam, a powerful demon to encourage lust and desire (according to the Hortus Deliciarum a.k.a., Garden of Delights - a book that describes all the demons and how to get rid of them, according to the movie). By his trickery, the pastor is successful at casting out the demon (at least appearing to be successful), gets paid and adds to his repertoire of demon control by talking to God in front of Louis (who cannot hear God "speaking" to Marcus) about Louis' drinking problem. Marcus convinces Louis God is speaking to Louis through him about Louis' drinking problem and Louis agrees to give up the bottle.

Rather than belaboring the story and plot, let me now say that the movie gives Marcus his comeuppance through encounters with demons and ritual participants. I'll not dignify this film by adding any more to the story summary. But I will give you that which most of you come to find -- a detailed accounting of the content of the film.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
With a sometimes intensely violent component, this film presents "disturbing violent content" indeed. Though each example of "disturbing violent content" is not in and of itself all that extreme as is much of Hollywood's upchuck of what they think might be Holy battle, the violence content is something of concern to be sure. Examples of intense behavioral content displayed include injury from facial slicing with a knife, bondage of a 16 year old girl with chains, slaughter of a cat with gore and a father trying to kill his daughter with a shotgun. As I have shared with our readers time an time again, God warned us about the leading property of such display of violence: that such display can and does embolden the observer into aggressive behavior of his/her own [1 Cor. 15:33]. There is no denying it since the American professional health community has jointly found God to be right after all. Imagine that! (See the link in the reference to Prov. 16:29 below).

Impudence/Hate (I) - 64 out of 100
Only two uses of profanity were noted in the entire 83 minutes of program. That is quite atypical of PG-13 movies. What brought down the score to PG-equivalence was the locking up of a young girl in her bedroom, the lying and the family friction (physical).

Sexual Immorality (S) - 64 out of 100
As seems typical of Hollywood, there has to be at least some matters of sexual nature in a film. There is not much in this film but there is some. For example, Nell attempts to strip from her nightgown. She also drops her nightgown and we see her nude from the rear but just from the back up. The worst instance of sexually immoral demonstration is when Nell offers oral sex to the pastor. Maybe these behaviors are to be expected form a young girl who is possessed by a demon but I cannot tell you one way or the other. The bottom line is that in any film created for the movie theaters there is not one single frame or one single word spoken that the writers and producers do not know about.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 100 out of 100
There were no instances of illegal drugs or possession of them, no abuse of prescription drugs, no smoking nor uses of alcohol or drinking of it in the entire film.

Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
This is the second of the two of six investigation areas which found content to be R-equivalent. Strangely enough there were only two uses of God's name in vain and then without the four letter expletive. But there is a lot more to the content that by His Word ought not be. The list of content matters applicable to this investigation area are far too many to even summarize here. The first few paragraphs of this Summary/Commentary section discuss the depth and scope of the content applicable to this investigation area but please look to the itemized listing in the Findings/Scoring section for a full accounting of content.

Murder/Suicide (M) - 68 out of 100
Two murders. Both rather brutal. Iris is bludgeoned to death and Daniel is killed by blade.


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  • Isa. 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. [Portraying Jesus as weaker than Satan is most certainly an example of calling good evil or evil good.]
  • 1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try [dokimazo: to test, to recognise as genuine after examination, to approve, deem worthy] the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. [This film and any other film in one essence is a "spirit" and what it has to say is a perfect example of "false prophets."]
  • Matt. 8:32 And he [Jesus] said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.
  • Heb. 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" ["man" here is enowsh {en-oshe"}: man (collective), mortal, person, mankind; contracted for iysh {eesh}: whosoever, each] can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not since the cinematic display is at the hands men and women, in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil or the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    The Last Exrcism (2010) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - Zero out of 100
  • image of gore and unnatural human contortions at the intro
  • tale of dream about murdering son
  • assault with hand-thrown projectiles
  • assault with injury
  • threat to do harm, twice
  • fraud, repeatedly
  • bloody injury to face by blade, repeatedly
  • disturbing behavior of varying intensity, frequent at times
  • 16 year old girl screaming, repeatedly
  • slaughter of cat with gore
  • drawings of human carnage and decapitation
  • unexplained voices threatening to kill two people
  • gunfire to kill 16 year old daughter
  • firearm as threat to 16 year old daughter
  • massive vaginal bleeding to suggest attempted self abortion
  • firearm for defense

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 64 out of 100
  • two uses of profanity
  • justifying noble ends with ignoble means
  • lies
  • family friction - physical, father manhandling daughter
  • bondage of 16 year old girl with chains, ostensibly by father
  • locking a 16 year old girl in her bedroom

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 64 out of 100
  • 16 year old girl in bath towel only before an adult male
  • attempt to strip by a 16 year old girl
  • unmarried teen pregnancy
  • flash of 16 year old girl removing nightgown to nudity (rear back)
  • 16 year old girl nude off camera
  • offer to perform oral sex
  • talk of sex act
  • portrayal of teen boy as a homosexual practitioner

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 100 out of 100
  • note noted

    Offense to God (O) - Zero out of 100
  • 12 uses of God's name in vain, all without the four letter expletive
  • using pretense about faith for financial gain
  • image of evil
  • talk of hating God for mother's death
  • claim of Crucifix burning its wearer
  • trickery under God's name
  • long sequence of mockery of God with fake exorcism
  • long sequence of deception and leading in God's name with it
  • unexplained presence, repeatedly
  • claim of pregnancy by demon
  • unexplained power outage
  • house trashed with evil icons and images
  • satanic ritual led by a town pastor with 16 year old girl as sacrifice host
  • birth on inhuman being from 16 year old girl
  • praising a demon with a pastor leading the praise
  • explosion in bonfire from infant's body

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 68 out of 100
  • throwing of inhuman infant into bonfire
  • bludgeon murder
  • murder by blade

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    There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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