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    Exeter (2015): Movie Review

    What do you think of a tablet app about a do-it-yourself exorcism complete with step-by-step procedures and animated videos? How about improvising the holy water by dipping a dead priest’s finger on regular water? Or chopping off a dead body into small pieces and converting them into something like protein shakes stored in jam bottles? If you are up for these kind of ridiculous but fun ideas amidst demonic attacks, then better watch Marcus Nispel’s horror flick Exeter. 

    The movie opens up with a woman’s mysterious suicide. Then clips of the Exeter School of the Feeble Minded are shown, along with an account of the history of the place, its demise and abandon. Presently, the asylum is undergoing renovations under the watchful guidance of a priest named Father Conway (Stephen Lang). Patrick (Kelly Blatz), Father Conway’s protégé, finds himself in big trouble when his friends decide to hold a party at the asylum. After a night of party, sex and booze, Patrick, his brother Rory and five friends learn about the asylum’s dark history when they play a vinyl record backwards. And when they attempt to practice levitation, a series of demonic possessions and paranormal activities ensue and haunt them one by one. 

    Director Marcus Nispel did a wonderful surprise with Exeter. Though he is much associated with successful remakes like “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (2003) and Friday the 13th (2009), he equally made a commendable original horror film with Exeter. The film is fast-paced and its one-and-a-half-hour duration is a jam-packed entertaining treat of perfect and well-balanced gore, violence, humor and drama. Unlike other films of similar theme, Nispel forgo showing unnecessary sex and nudity in the film. There are few sexy flashes of skin, like the asshole Drew running around in underwear, Brad’s muscular body and Amber’s low tight-fitting jeans, but they do not distract the overall suspense of the movie.

    The movie is pretty violent but it spares the audience of the vomiting details of decapitation, lacerations and executions. There is blood but not too much to drown us. One of the most unforgettable scenes in the film is when one of the main characters chopped off his friend’s face. The face is split into two; however, the demonic possession continues and the half face remains eerily alive. Nispel also added tons of spot-on humor in the film. The DIY exorcism, Wi-fi in the desolate asylum and witty dialogues are some of those.

    The story also unfolded well. Though the first half of the film seemed to be just running around in circles, the other half gave way to shocking revelations and major plot twist. Spoiler alert but one of the main protagonists turns out to be the real enemy. The film then takes a breathless climax and a satisfying ending. No loose ends and no promises for a sequel.

    Other than the right timing and shot, the suspense of the film is brought alive much by the plausible performance of the actors. While Stephen Lang steps up perfectly as the strange Father Conway, the other casts (Gage Golightly, Brittany Curran, Kelly Blatz, Kevin Chapman, Brett Dier and Michael Ormsby) deliver the correct flare of naughtiness, fear and drama. 

    Exeter is surprisingly a good horror movie. It may not be on the same level with “Insidious,” “The Cabin in the Woods” or “Paranormal Activity,” but it has several unique and enjoyable moments. With its right blend of suspense, violence and drama, we might consider putting it on our Friday fright night lists. Since the movie tends to be generic and forgettable, I give the movie three and a half stars.



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