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The Last Rite


‘…a respectable entry in an increasingly disreputable genre….’

We haven’t had a good old-fashioned exorcism for a while, so Leroy Kincaide’s British take on the familiar genre, released via Samuel Goldwyn in the US, seemed worth a shot; the trailer features most of the staples, and several elements seem to be lifted directly from 1973’s The Exorcist. It’s a crisply shot film to be sure, but there’s some obvious issues; the Britishness of the film is actually quite anonymous, and that lack of a discernible local slant proves a problem. It also claims to be based on true events; if so, that would suggest that today’s pressed-for-ideas demons are currently basing their possession strategies on popular horror movies.

Lucy (Bethan Waller) is a medical student working on her dissertation in a large house owned by her partner Ben (Johnny Fleming). She’s got a tortured backstory, not fully explained here, which leads her to night terrors and sleep paralysis; not surprisingly, a passing demon seeks to take advantage of her weakness, and Lucy finds herself possessed. Father Roberts (Kit Smith), a clergyman gets involved, but with the church unwilling to commit to a firm time-scale for resolving the issues, he’ll have to go it alone if Lucy is to be freed from her on-going ordeal…

The Last Rite raises to at least one good Emily Rose-type opening scare, when Lucy spots the distorted figure of her deceased nan amongst the washing lines in her back garden. But there’s too much slack in the pacing for the audience to guess what’s coming next, and the emphasis on the lack of interest from the church authorities proves to be something of a lugubrious dead end. Lucy is haunted by a man-with-a-hat figure that looks very much like The Babadook, or possibly Jamiroquai, but somehow there’s not enough focus on where the apparition comes from, or the backstory which created him.

The Last Rite just about passes muster for genre addicts; it doesn’t put many feet wrong, and the production has a nice cold, icy feel. Kincaide does go further than most to capture the psychology of Lucy’s angst, and while the budget is clearly low, there’s enough evidence here to suggest he’s a talent to watch. Many films like this go over the top early doors, but The Last Rite is a respectable entry in an increasingly disreputable genre.

Thanks to Samuel Goldwyn Films for access.

The Last Rite is out now on US streaming platforms.



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          • Alex was claiming a face painting award yesterday, so maybe he could touch up your apples with woad?

                    • A while back you said I looked like some guy named DJ squigglysomething or other.
                      I just tracked him down. DJ Qualls, that’s his name….

                    • A fine example of American manhood, as I imagine you are. Brad Pitt can be digitally de-aged to play me, Alex can be done with CGI, that just leaves fraggle…

                    • Jessica Rabbit I assumed for Fraggle.

                      I’m not sure if CGI is the route we want to go though. Wouldn’t a rubber suit and makeup work better? I’m just thinking how both of you lament the cgi-fest that a lot of movies are nowadays and I figured you wouldn’t want to add to that.

                    • The Rock would be a few neck crunches short of the physique required, but if he got in shape…

                      But we need a bad guy, who would be waiting for us in Terror Castle?

                    • I’m picturing Zoltar from Battle of the Planets. We’ll need uniforms as well. So much to plan…

                    • UNIFORMS! Man, how did that slip my mind. You are totally right. We can’t be a REAL team without uniforms.
                      Good thing it is the weekend so we can think of all these important details….

                    • Belts with WP4 logo, gold on blue with a gold whip and a holster for a laser gun. Berets. Names on the back. We’ll show we can accessorize.

                    • I’m thinking different colored berets so everyone can tell us apart. Once we reach a certain level of Awesome, no matter how different we look people won’t be able to tell us apart easily, so colored berets fit the bill.

                      Gold whips are classy. Plus, it comes in handy if we ever get low on cash or our WP4 Credit Card gets denied at the gas station….

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                    • And we’re environmentally friendly? We are just getting better and better!
                      Somebody better lock down a deal with us quick before the price gets even higher….

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                    • Well, for our lair we could use the maze entry like the 3investigators did, but jazz up the place. I’m thinking maybe an abandoned Mall so we have lots of room to expand for all the loot we’re going to loot, errrr, I mean, for all of our lawfully acquired rewards for catching badguys….

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                      If the UN won’t give us the moon to fight the space nazis led by the evil Captain Brooks Skullmyre, then I say the world deserves what is coming to it.

                      Heck. just give me a pizza and I’ll fight….

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  1. I like to think you can’t go wrong with the classics, but this doesn’t look like it’s bringing much new to the table. Not sure if I’ll bother with it.

    Also: discernible.

    • Thanks for the typo, as always.

      I kind of liked the sober approach here, but it may all be a little too familiar for a veteran like yourself…

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