So here's an anecdote for you: this writer attended the Fantasia Film Festival screening of "The Last Exorcism" last year, and before it started, the audience was told that their reactions to the presumably scary movie were going to be filmed for a future ad campaign. Unfortunately, while the film boasted a pretty good concept -- a con artist exorcist who doesn't believe in all that supernatural mumbo jumbo comes up against a real deal possession -- it was a decidedly non-frightening movie with a couple of jump scares and not much else. Needless to say, the audience reaction advertising never materialized. But the film, produced on a micro-budget of less than $2 million, opened in the #2 slot with $20 million and quietly went on to earn over $65 million worldwide. Huh. So here we go again -- despite the title -- "The Last Exorcism" is getting a sequel.
In what seems like a bit of an odd choice, Damien Chazelle, the writer/director of the indie flick "Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench" has been tapped to write the movie. No details yet on what the plot will center around, but Chazelle has to get writing fast as the movie is gearing up to shoot this fall. But that's not the only project Chazelle is knocking around town with as he recently sold a Hitchcockian thriller called "Grand Piano" centered around -- you guessed it -- a classical pianist. Eugenio Mira ("Agnosia") will direct that one.
In all of this, one name is curiously missing: Eli Roth. He was a producer on the first 'Exorcism' flick and a big booster for the movie, but it looks like he has since moved on. No word yet on who will direct this sequel, or what it will be called, but let's hope they come up with something better than "The Last Exorcism 2" for the title (though it would make as much sense as "Final Destination 5"). [THR]