Many moviegoers are now pretty much "over" faux documentaries and found-footage flicks about demonic possession, in the aftermath of the widely-panned The Devil Inside. However, another entry in that sub-genre is already due to reach theaters before the end of 2012 - namely, a sequel to the successful 2010 title, The Last Exorcism.
Last Exorcism 2 was first officially announced in late Summer 2011; back then, the tentative plan was to get cameras rolling before the start of 2012 (something that did not happen). The project is now set to begin production next month in New Orleans, under the direction of a little-known filmmaker - and, with a familiar face from the first... er, Last Exorcism set to reappear in the sequel.
Deadline has confirmed that the highly-flexible Ashley Bell will reprise her role as the demonically-possessed (or just psychologically-disturbed?) Nell Sweetzer in the second installment in the Last Exorcism series. She will work under the supervision of director Ed Glass-Donnelly on the sequel, which will once again be produced by actor/director Eli Roth (Hostel, Inglourious Basterds) along with Marc Abraham, Thomas A. Bliss, and Eric Newman.
Donnelly will work on Last Exorcism 2 from a script penned by writer/director Damien Chazelle. Major plot details are being kept firmly under wraps right now, but it has been revealed that the sequel is being fashioned as a R-Rated horror flick (unlike the PG-13 Rated original) and will begin some three months after the climactic events of the first film.
Since chances are good that you've never heard of either Chazelle or Donnelly: the former wrote and directed the well-liked, inexpensive (re: shot in 16 mm black-and-white) 2009 indie drama/musical Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, while the latter was responsible for the Festival award-winning drama This Beautiful City and the crime thriller Small Town Murder Songs.
That's all to say: both the writer and director working on Last Exorcism 2 have experience, when it comes to quickly and effectively delivering darkly gritty entertainment - without the comfort of the average Hollywood film budget. Sounds like a pretty reasonable choice to work on a fast-moving, low-budget project like this.
If the overdone state of the found-footage sub-genre AND the (seemingly) self-contained nature of a film titled The Last Exorcism isn't reason enough to be somewhat skeptical about the idea of a sequel, there's also this to consider: the first film's controversial ending was so messy that even director Daniel Stamm and his producers have clashingly different opinions about what the "correct" interpretation is. Hence, it seems that no matter which interpretation is favored in Last Exorcism 2, the sequel is bound to ruffle some feathers, for that reason.
On the other hand: the open-ended nature of The Last Exorcism's ending surely left a number of moviegoers curious about seeing what happens in the aftermath, as will be explored in the followup. That forward linear expansion of the first film's mythology could also please viewers who prefer that tactic to the back-tracking (retconning?) approach of the Paranormal Activity sequels.
Of course, Last Exorcism 2 could also just end up bypassing on any further exploration of the nature of the first movie's final 10 minutes (for better or for worse). That seems unlikely, though, seeing how one of the film's backers, Harold Van Lier, says the sequel will "unravel a profoundly scarier chapter to Nell’s battle between good and evil."
What are your early thoughts about The Last Exorcism 2? Are you interested in seeing where this sequel goes?