‘The Last Exorcism’ Ending Explained

Published 5 years ago by , Updated September 3rd, 2010 at 9:09 am,

last exorcism ending spoilers The Last Exorcism Ending Explained

While we do have a  The Last Exorcism review where you can leave comments, we’ve set up this as a place where you can discuss the Last Exorcism ending and movie spoilers without concerns about ruining the movie for folks who haven’t seen it yet.

If you’re posting comments here, assume that anyone in the conversation has seen the movie – if you haven’t seen the movie, I would recommend you don’t read the comments here until you have. simple smile The Last Exorcism Ending Explained

So… the Last Exorcism ending that most everyone who reviews the movie is talking about – how DOES it end?

As mentioned in my review, what the filmmakers attempted to do was to NOT give the audience a definitive answer throughout the movie to the question of whether Nell was actually possessed or going through some severe psychological trauma. That “not knowing” kept the movie interesting – and watching the pseudo-exorcist preacher (named Cotton) start out thinking this was just a case of a mental problem but start to doubt himself as the film went on takes the audience along the same thought process.

At one point during the film we learn that Nell’s father had a falling out with the local town pastor, and that’s why he stopped taking his family to church (he’s also home schooling 15 year old Nell and her teenage brother). Cotton talks to the preacher, who says that it got pretty ugly between him and Nell’s father and that while he knows an excellent pyschologist, he doesn’t believe the father will listen to him.

Cotton talks them both into speaking with each other, and goes back to the house in the woods to perform (supposedly for real this team) another exorcism with the local preacher and his secretary present. Cotton leaves, thinking everything is finally settled, but it’s at this point he and the camera crew discover the boy they thought impregnated Nell is gay.

So at this point, within the last 10 minutes of the film, we’re fairly convinced that her problem stems from a combination of her mother’s recent death and the fact that she was recently raped but has suppressed any memory of it. At first Cotton believes Nell’s father raped her, and then the suspicion falls on the young man in town, but he’s not the guy. Cotton and crew turn around and head back to the house.

When they arrive they find satanic symbols painted all over the walls of the house and no one home – they head out in the dark towards a distant light and they can hear screaming in the distance. When they get there, they come upon what looks like a satanic ritual with a ton of people from town, Nell on her back apparently giving birth to a creature that is not altogether human (she didn’t look the least bit pregnant). It’s revealed that the leader of this occult group and the man who impregnated Nell is, you guessed it, the local town pastor.

The newborn creature is thrown screaming into the fire, which blazes into a huge fireball when this happens – Cotton, seeing all this, seems to try with all his might to regain his faith in God, raises a cross and heads towards the melee. The cameraman and the woman doing the interviewing for the documentary run off terrified into the woods – she is struck down and presumably killed and the cameraman keeps running. Eventually he is cut off by Nell’s brother who decapitates the cameraman, the camera falls to the ground, and the screen goes black.

Continue to find out whether Nell was possessed… or not.

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  1. I certainly didn’t think about whether God was going to turn his back on Cotton or forgive him at the end of the movie. I was too busy trying to figure out if Nell was truly possessed or skitso or playing or joke or who knows! The ending was ok. I don’t care for open ended movies. I’m still trying to figure out who drew the pictures of the camera crews predestined death. If it was not meant to be supernatural, it kinda was at the end with the demon baby. I dunno, I’m just confused. Ugh!

  2. I personally didn’t have a hard time figuring out whether she was truly possessed or not. The moment her neck twisted abnormally in the barn, I knew it was a supernatural phenomenon. The things she said in the barn (mainly about Cotton not believing in Abalam)also made it clear that it was a supernatural phenomenon. The only reason the demon said “blowing job” was because the goal of bringing the pastor back to the farm had not yet been achieved. The incident in the barn and earlier happenings (her speaking Latin, showing up at the motel) were all indications that it was not psychological. After those events, the psychological explanation of rape at the hands of Logan did not make any sense to me. Seeing the demon birth which cemented a supernatural explanation made a lot more sense.

    • She practiced her facial expressions & neck twisting in the mirror later renacting it in the barn. She was part of a demonic cult that taught her how to screw a priest & slaughter livestock, teac hing her latin on top of thatsuddenly doesnt seem so crazy

  3. In my opinion, this movie was very good. The only part that confused me was the demon baby. If the demon raped her, THAT I could understand, though a little far fetched. But it was the PASTOR. THAT is what I don’t get. How can it be a DEMON baby if it has two human parents. Another thing was that the pastor was, a pastor. I mean, ok, I can see that he used that to hide his true nature but really? I sorta guessed it had been the pastor all along. And WHY did the pastor throw the baby into the fire??? That’s what really confused me.

    • I think I know what the ending was about. Nell had the Anti-Christ inside of her. So the Anti-Christ is what was making her freak out like that. Then at the end she gave birth to the anti-christ, and threw it in the fire. It was probably a ritual to put the anti-christ at its full potential and/or raise satan from hell.

    • remember in the beginning when they now headed into the town they were getting supernatural stories from the citizens, there was this one woman who talked about the leader of the cult she said that the leader,the pastor ,was so disturbed that he thought he had to feed human souls to the devil himself, well as we find out it is not the devil but abalam a serpent like demon

  4. omg .. watta film .. we were crappin our pants :O .. nd if you go into extras on da dvd den go into real excersisem stories and it says you can get possesed by listening to the real demonic voices :O .. but bein us we crap ourselves & didnt listen .. but if u av da balls tahh please comment !!!!

    • where can i find it ?

  5. I rented the film and on my first watch, I actually quiet enjoyed it. It was a slow build up to a frantic 10 final minutes, which due to the pictures in that Nell drew, you could tell what would happen to the 3 film-makers. This “hindsight” led me to believe that she was possessed.

    One point that I haven’t noticed being made here, but really creeped me out, was the static on the camera whilst the crew sneak up on the “sacrifice/baptism”. I paused the Blu-Ray and skipped through frame by frame and the images are quite eerie.

    I recommend you all give it a try before finishing reading my point, only not to ruin the surprise for yourselves (if you currently own the DVD/Blu-Ray).

    There are 1st static is made of several frames which consist of grainy flicks. This then changes to look to be a red eyed “demon” reaching out at a pair of bent legs. The legs do look young and female so I can only assume Nell’s? Maybe the demon is the pastor as he is in this position whilst the birth is occurring.

    The 2nd static is made up of shorter frames and again show this red eyed “demon” reaching out at a pair of bent legs.

    The 3rd static is made up of more frames than the 2nd and show the same images but then flash a demented face (demon). The image is negative (like camera negatives (white is black, black is white)). The face has red eyes and has a mouth wide open.

    There is a 4th static which is the same as the 2nd.

    The reason I noticed this is because the camera, although impressing itself upon a defenceless cat :(, had been working fine and had no reason to be causing static, so I thought Id be ultra nerdy and check it out. Im glad I wasn’t disappointed and I hope you find this interesting too. Glad to see Eli Roth & Stamm going to every little detail they can :)

  6. yeah i agree it was a great horror movie but what i don’t understand is how did they retrieve the camara if all the other people supposedly “died”?

  7. Abalam was the demon…With this demon he can get the posessed female pregnant even if she was a virgin…The result will be a baby which is not human but born after the image of abalam himself…So there is absolutely no question at all if this was a posession or not( it was obviously)…I actually think that she was still a virgin and never was raped or had sex…

  8. im genuinely confused the ending was a farce! it was cruel and it was pointless if ypur gonna end a film do it better i felt cheated and quite frankly i really hated this film i bought it on a whim and now im just like WTF? if this girl wasnt possesed then how did she break 2 of her fingers without even flinching? but then again why lie about the guy that she claimed got her pregnant? its all very confusing if you want a mind game film i recommend this IF however you want a decent movie thats gonna have you crapping your pants walk the other way – i cant believe that anyone claimed this film was the scariest of the year – a true testiment to the fact that movie critics get paid to lie!!!!!!

  9. definitely without a doubt she was possessed. remember when we see those pictures of the producer women in pieces, the cameraman decapitated, and the exorcist in flames. how would nell now that if, she didnt have supernatural powers looking into the future?

  10. I’m really late to the party but I finally saw this movie. Its clear to me that Nell was possessed. Even the “blowing job” comment why assume that super old being would be 100% hip to slang. She was possessed and didn’t sound herself when she said Logan was the father. I think the father and nell were both christian. I dont believe the father knew the school was for devil worship but maybe thought it wasnt christian enough for him. As far as the ending it was fine you
    can’t expect a long drawn out ending in a docu style horror movie. The baby was a demon or the devil being born on earth. The fire was a baptism and you can see the red mist in the fire. Wether cotton won or not we won’t know until there’s a sequel.

    • but in the first picture it showed him getting burned to death so im guessing thats what happened

  11. I just realized something. When Nell’s father said he would kill cotton and his crew if they didn’t leave in 5min, they stayed and Nell’s father wasa bout to kill Nell but Nell said shoot me please. I think that was Nell who actually spoke out not the demon. Every act that seemed like a possession was really a possession. Nell couldn’t of faked all that stuff just to prove that she isn’t innocent because that would not make sense or be human like. If it was psychological then how did she learn latin if she was home schooled? That wouldn’t make sense. All this leans towards possession by the demon. Logan was gay and he couldn’t impregnate a girl. Oh and I found it REALLY weird how Nell was speaking in 3rd person view when she was telling the story about how she got pregnant. So the demon was always in her. But then again I am confused as well because I thought if you were possessed your eyes would be dialated? Idk but yea the prophecy came true at the end. No person in this world could predict the future unless they were not human. I’m not sure on what else to say? Oh One thing they do not talk about much would be about her mother. That is another thing.

  12. To answer if it was a possession or not. It depends on your belief. If you believe it was a possession you have believe in god and demons. If you believe it was psychological then you don’t believe in god and demons. Just like what cotton went through. The movie wanted you to feel what cotton was feeling through the story and I think it did a freakin great job of that!

    • You know its a movie right?.. Your own personal beliefs have absolutely nothing to do with what you thought about the plot of a movie. I could believe in god and still think Nell’s problem was all psychological. If this movie was REAL then it would obviously depend on your personal beliefs.

  13. The movie was weird yet intresting that woman was being controled by the demon seed of a fake preacher. Who knows why nells brother and half the town would do such a thing, people who worship the devil are lunatics. What cotton did was not pointless he gave hope to the audeince the god will help if you jus believe so who knows. Sadly for the crew they were murderd jus like the crazy woman drew on the paper there dumb asses shoulda left the state when the woman started twisting her neck and snapping her own fingers. Thats jus my opinion hope u agreed and plz excuse my poor grahmer. Ez Gr8p3 W1zard

  14. She was possessed. There, a definitive answer.
    And I do believe it was the demon making up the story about Nell and the cafe boy because it came across strange that she was telling the story from the 3rd person point of view.

  15. Her name was Anelle I thought?
    Well anyways, the father and her are christian, and he pulled her out of the satanic school because she was showing signs of possession. The preacher was trying to make Cotton believe Anelle and her father were crazy. The demon baby was the spawn of the demon that possessed her, and they threw it into the fire as maybe a sacrifice or to unleash its power. Obviously the girl was possessed, they thought it was psychological because Cotton was an Atheist.

  16. I believe Nell was possessed. If you threw a baby into a fire would it become a huge fire? If a girl spoke latin but was never taught it would you believe it? If a gay guy got a girl pregnant would you believe it? If she had superhuman speed and being able to jump places without leaving home would you believe it? Well, would you? Would you believe these things? Well, besides that I think Abalam conceived himself such as Jesus concieved himself. I believe the preacher was a Satantic leader and Cotton probably died while trying to save Nell, and the film crew’s deaths were shown :D. Great movie.

  17. Great and terrifying movie but one small question what happened to Nell’s Father? Only one problem with the movie if they saw that there was blood on the lens why didn’t they rewind and see what she did?

  18. Since the cult was chanting “Banana Bread” at the end, It leads me to believe they faked it all like Cotton faked his exorcism. I smell a sequel and I can’t wait to take a wiff!

  19. I want to know the wed site that flashed at the end of the moive

  20. I enjoy the exorcism movies, but this one was horrible…


    1. It was not a demonic posession. The girl was traumatized when she was raped and impregnated. The “thing” we saw the pastor take out from inside the girl was – an undeveloped fetus soaked in blood.
    2. The girl was not posessed. When the priest asked her about a “bl*wjob” – she didn’t know what it was. A demon knows all.
    3. Why did the girls’ brother kill the camera at the end? No clue. His father was tied up by the townspeople, so his action made no sense.

    • I swear I heard the brother say something like “you let her die” before he kills the cameraman and previously he had said ” if you let her die I will kill you wether the cameras are on or not” . Maybe he was keeping his promise?

  22. Must believe it to be possession.. The film crew’s predetermined death, the demon removed from nell baptized in the fire, a homeschooled girl speaking a dead language such as latin, then the body contortions, finger snapping, animal murders and knowing cottons beliefs.. I believe the slicing of brother and all the rape talk was abalam’s way of getting the pastor onto the fathers’ property without

  23. Being shot, so that cotton would continue to believe it was psychological and seek the pastors help.. And perhaps the father too so that he would not kill her, which would be the brothers reason for writting the note. I understand now after reading some posts here and thanks to the lad who broke down those static frames at the end, nice touch.

  24. I don’t understand why Nell’s brother killed the cameraman???

    • At the end when the reverend walked towards the fire the satan people saw them and you can here one of say “they got a camera , get em!” Implying that they didn’t want this to get out because the town just looks like a really religious little town but in reality…

  25. First of all the thing that I don’t seem to understand is the fact that Cotton went to a church in search of the pastor who is actually a satanic cult leader, now first of all i know that any person involved with the devil can not enter a church and the “pastor” was carrying a bible.
    Secon of all what happend to cotton after the woman and man ran at the end, did he die or live – the end should of been a bit longer, maybe where the brother picks up the camera and enters back to the satanic ritual so we could of known what happend to cotton

    I was on the edge of my seat for the most part of the movie

    • and another thing to add, which i was confused about, cotton said himself that you if you believe in God you have to believe in the devil but He never did and he was a pastor from a young age – definately not making sense there

    • How can they not enter a church? Do they burst into flames? Dont be silly, there are many priests who turn out to be paedophiles, there are many cult leaders who claim to be christian.

    • Yea that’s true the movie hints that satan is more powerful than God. The fact that nothing can stop this army of satanist and that they can deceive everybody including God himself which I found rather dumb

  26. For all of you who have watched the DVD with the commentary.. I suffered from violent rejection towards the ending.
    It was a good movie until the last 10-15 minutes where is b-lined into ridiculousness. I feel like I’m owed an explanation from the cast, crew, and writers; not about the plot, but about why they deliberately ruined such a great atmosphere movie.
    Go watch The Exorcism of Emily Rose. That, my friends, is one of the better contemporary possession movies.

  27. For all of you who have watched the DVD with the commentary.. I suffered from violent rejection towards the ending.
    It was a good movie until the last 10-15 minutes where is b-lined into ridiculousness. I feel like I’m owed an explanation from the cast, crew, and writers; not about the plot, but about why they deliberately ruined such a great atmosphere movie.
    Go watch The Exorcism of Emily Rose. That, my friends, is one of the better contemporary possession movies.

  28. I must admit I’m a sucker for an Exorcism movie & this one is better than most, although they went a bit overboard with the twist ending. I don’t know if the girl actress was a contortionist but it made Regan’s head spinning look comical.

  29. Really? This much confusion about this simple to understand movie?

    Nell’s mother died, the brother turned evil and joined with the Satanic worshipers in town. The Dad saw what was happening and tried to save his girl. The brother allowed Cotton on the farm because he saw that he was a false preacher and had no real power.

    At the end the Satan worshipers are giving birth to a demon. When Cotton and Co. figures this out, the Satanic worshipers and the brother kill the camera crew, while Cotton has his test of faith.

    It all makes sense if you watch closely. There is no real debate.