The Last Exorcism Part II (15) **

Larry Lamb as Brian Reader, Phil Daniels as Danny Jones and David Calder as Terry Perkins.

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Forty years after William Friedkin scared the bejesus out of cinema audiences with The Exorcist, Hollywood’s fascination with the ‘spiritual warfare’ of casting out evil continues in The Last Exorcism Part II.

Ed Gass-Donnelly’s lumbering sequel begins directly after the climactic bloodbath of the 2010 supernatural horror, which documented the demonic possession of a sweet, naïve farm girl through the terrified eyes of a visiting film crew.

Ashley Bell as Nell in The Last Exorcism Part 2.  Picture: PA Photo/Studio Canal.

Ashley Bell as Nell in The Last Exorcism Part 2. Picture: PA Photo/Studio Canal.

The found-footage conceit, popularised by The Blair Witch Project, has thankfully been jettisoned for this second helping of hoary hocus-pocus.

Instead, Gass-Donnelly adopts a traditional third-person approach to the beleaguered central character’s battle of wills with dark forces beyond her control, spiced up with paranormal seduction reminiscent of The Entity.

The flimsy script speaks in the same tongues as countless other horror films, bombarding the heroine with omens of impending doom that foreshadow the wanton blood-letting of the final act.

Our lack of empathy for or emotional connection with any of characters precludes any suspense.

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