Gugu Mbatha-Raw stars in director Amma Asante's period drama, which is based on the true story of Georgian Britain's first mixed-race aristocrat, Dido Belle.
On Film4: 23 Jan 9:00PM
Abandoning the original's found footage format and postmodern pranks, Ed Glass-Donnelly's possession sequel reverts to subgenre norms - with a couple of twists.
Like horror's answer to F For Fake, Daniel Stamm's original The Last Exorcism (2010) exposed all the manipulative tricks of the exorcist's - and the exorcism movie's - trade, and then, in a curveball conclusion, tricked us with them anyway. Offering itself up as a deconstructive endpoint to the whole subgenre, it did not, as its name implies, lend itself to a sequel.
Yet if this ludicrously-titled follow-up sounds like a crass cash-in, and if director/co-writer Ed Glass-Donnelly (Small Town Murder Songs) certainly steers things back to a more predictable formula (good and evil struggle over an innocent woman's soul) and more cliched scares (a dog suddenly barking, birds hitting windows, etc.), the devil here is in the details, some of which are strikingly novel. As Nell (Ashley Bell, still excellent) reemerges traumatised from her experiences at the hands of a backwoods Satanic cult, she moves into a New Orleans shelter for damaged girls, gradually embracing a more secular lifestyle - even if her past keeps resurfacing both in nightmarish visions and in Youtube clips (excerpted from the first film) of her earlier possession.
Indeed, Nell has become a freakish internet sensation - and in keeping with modern times, the most diabolical temptation that both she and the entire world must face is not the rock music to which she now listens, or her burgeoning sexual desire for others, but rather that peculiar affliction of the online age, her own rampaging narcissism (emblematised by a recurrent image of Nell looking in the mirror). It is self-love that keeps Nell from submitting herself to the requisite act of Jesus-like self-sacrifice that all other exorcism films require, leading to a boldly unconventional ending that makes another sequel as unimaginable as it is perhaps inevitable.
In a nutshell: This sequel upgrades the conventional possession plot to the internet age. Like its young heroine, it is not without flaws, but fresh enough to attract attention right to the bitter end.
By Anton Bitel
Andrea Arnold¿s American Honey continued its run of awards success today, with five nominations at the London Critics¿ Circle Film Awards: Film of the Year, British/Irish Film of the Year, Supportin
Andrea Arnold's American Honey, starring Sasha Lane, triumphed at the British Independent Film Awards 2016 [caption id="attachment_5357" align="alignnone" width="600"] Sasha Lane in American Honey[/
The best all-singing, all-dancing showstoppers every committed to screen
A summary of the critics and film professionals who voted for the top 50 Horror films of the 21st Century
@Film4 "The Death Battle Of The Dinosaurs!" At 2.45pm, Michael Rennie & Claude Rains star in Conan Doyle's The Lost World. https://t.co/dJxuRA8wI2
@Film4 80s classic alert! Up next at 1pm, we're showing Disney sci-fi adventure The Flight Of The Navigator. https://t.co/N3AWtd59c6
@Film4 RT @lennyukdeejay: Literally one of the greatest movies ever made, with a truly unique extra-terrestrial message. I adore this film to deat…
@Film4 Morning! Our weekend starts at 11am with Robert Wise's sci-fi classic The Day The Earth Stood Still, starring Micha… https://t.co/O8nFs09vcK
@Film4 "I am fate with a badge and a gun." At 11.50pm, Jake Gyllenhaal & Michael Peña are on the beat in End Of Watch. https://t.co/3gxNpwQADg