Comparisons to The Blair Witch Project (1999) and last year’s Paranormal Activity are the inescapable fate of Daniel Stamm’s The Last Exorcism, if only because all three movies employ a similar ruse: they are scary stories masquerading as vérité snuff. And there’s nothing scarier than the idea, fueled by a bogus Internet rumor, that the bogeyman this time is real.
Exorcism seems in one way less gimmick-driven than the others, since it doesn’t arrive on the heels of a viral campaign touting its authenticity. Yet it comes across as the genuine article – we’re not fooled, exactly, but we are willing to believe. The story earns credibility.
For almost any other filmmaker, Inglourious Basterds – yes, it’s really spelled that way – would represent a career-defining achievement, an audacious spaghetti western-style World War II fantasy that dares to rewrite history and give the Nazis their due. For Quentin Tarantino, it’s just par for an elevated course.