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(2013) (Ashley Bell, Julia Garner) (PG-13)

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Horror: A young woman must once again contend with a demonic entity desirous of possessing her.
The only survivor of a demonic possession event that resulted in the deaths of the rest of her family, 17-year-old Nell Sweetzer (ASHLEY BELL) has been placed in a New Orleans group home for girls that's run by Frank Merle (MUSE WATSON). He truly wants to help her move on with her life, but believes that those past troubles were part of her former, backwoods cultish upbringing rather than anything supernatural.

Nell hopes she can start life anew, and makes friends with other girls in the house such as Gwen (JULIA GARNER) while also enjoying the attention of a young man, Chris (SPENCER TREAT CLARK), who's obviously attracted to her.

But weird things start happening again, ranging from odd events that unnerve and startle her, to truly scary encounters or visions, including that of her dead father, Louis (LOUIS HERTHUM), who occasionally shows up and warns her of the previous demon coming after her. That eventually escalates to the point that a local woman, Cecile (TARRA RIGGS), steps in to try and save the girl as the demon makes its move to have her forever.

OUR TAKE: 3.5 out of 10
Our reviewing policy for films that aren't shown in advance to critics is that we'll only provide a few paragraphs about the film's artistic merits.

Back in 2010, yet another "found footage" flick arrived on the scene and while I generally don't favor those sorts of offerings, I rather enjoyed "The Last Exorcism." That's because it segued from a satire of sorts into a true horror flick with some decent scares. And I happen to enjoy films that both switch gears and become something different than what's initially seen, and mix scares and laughs.

Alas, there's nothing to laugh about with this sequel that jettisons the comedy and found footage angle for a fairly straightforward tale of demonic harassment. While there are a handful of decent spooky moments, it's just more of the same old, same old that we've come to expect from movies like this, with very little that connects those dots together into something meaningful or worthwhile.

Bell is decent as the only character from the first film to return (aside from Louis Herthum in some extended cameo parts), but new to the series director Ed Gass-Donnelly doesn't surround her with the right sort of material to make us care. It's not as fun, smart or entertaining as its predecessor and thus one can only hope that the "last" part of "The Last Exorcism Part II" truly is the end. It rates as a 3.5 out of 10.

Reviewed February 28, 2013 / Posted March 1, 2013

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