If you've been anticipating the end of the found-footage horror craze, well... don't start holding your breath yet. This year's big releases (The Devil Inside and Paranormal Activity 4) have illustrated the sub-genre's limitations, while Barry Levinson's The Bay has demonstrated that even an experienced filmmaker can only do so much while working with the format. However, the continued low-cost/high-profit from these projects ensures that more will be arriving soon.
Case in point: next year will mark the release of a Latino-themed Paranormal Activity spinoff, Paranormal Activity 5, and a sequel to the 2010 supernatural horror flick The Last Exorcism (now officially titled The Last Exorcism Part II).
CBS Films has acquired the U.S. distribution rights for Last Exorcism Part II, which is directed by Ed Gass-Donnelly (Small Town Murder Songs) and based on a script Donnelly co-wrote with Damien Chazelle (Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench). Here is the official synopsis:
Continuing where the first film left off, Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell) is found alone and terrified in the woods. Back in the relative safety of civilization, Nell realizes that she can't remember entire portions of the previous months only that she is the last surviving member of her family. Just as Nell begins the difficult process of starting a new life, the evil force that once possessed her is back with other, unimaginably horrific plans that mean her last exorcism was just the beginning.
Last Exorcism Part II will hit theaters on March 1st, 2013, where it will open against the latest comedy to feature drunken escapades (from the writers of The Hangover) 21 and Over; X-Men director Bryan Singer's big-budget fairy tale re-imagining Jack the Giant Slayer; and Oldboy director Park Chan-wook's morbid English-language thriller, Stoker.
Check out the first image from Last Exorcism Part II:
CLICK FOR LARGER VERSION
Passing over the obvious jokes about a sequel to a film titled "The Last Exorcism" - a followup has never seemed like a promising idea. That is partly because the initial shock value elicited from Bell's physical elasticity has been used up and also due to the fact that the found-footage format (in the public's eye) has been dwindling for years - so much so that many now consider it foremost a gimmick rather than a legitimate storytelling device. (There have been recent exceptions, like Chronicle - though, even some of that film's supporters were not impressed by the reliance on 'amateur cinematography.')
One has to wonder: how can Last Exorcism Part II manage to not either reduce or remove the ambiguity of the first film's conclusion? Obviously, until we see the film, that question will remain unanswered; plus, it's not fair to write off this project entirely based on skepticism. However, in the meantime, color us doubtful that this will amount to much more than a run-of-the-mill, cash-grab sequel.
Will you be checking out The Last Exorcism Part II?