Eli Roth and Daniel Stamm's The Last Exorcism will arrive in theaters this weekend. Thanks to a generous friend, I was lucky enough to see Stamm's documentary-style horror a little early at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival last week, and as someone who has seen her fair share of horror films over the years, I have to tell you, I was pretty impressed.
The story about a crisis of faith and an exorcism gone wrong is a worthy addition to the genre, and after The Exorcist, this is probably one of the best films I have seen about casting out the big bad -- and that's thanks to the performances of the film's leads: Patrick Fabian and Ashley Bell. The film's structure gives these two actors the task of carrying the film and they do it with style and, more importantly, they create real characters and not just cannon fodder. Maybe it's just me, but that is what makes a horror movie performance great. I might not be a horror expert (well, I know my Argentos from my Fulcis) but what draws me into a horror flick is my caring about what is going to happen to the people on the screen. The basis of a believable (or a sympathetic) character is the responsibility of the actor -- and that brings me to today's Cinematical Seven; great performances in horror.