THE LAST RITE (REVIEW)
Updated: Mar 21
Dir. Leroy Kincaide
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Ever since 1973, almost 50 years ago, the horror genre has had little success in replicating exorcisms on the scale of a small film known as THE EXORCIST. Rest assured, THE LAST RITE doesn't come close to the legacy left behind but is as much a moving and frightening experience.
Echoes of PARANORMAL ACTIVITY are felt as the slow sense of unfolding doom is echoed by low waves in the soundtrack and events that could easily be explained away. The first half is a slow unsettling build to the inevitable possession and as events around Lucy unfold, there begs question whether it's real or in her head. There is a turning point and it is like a stark jolt with a cattle rod as Kincaide ramps up suspecting horror to full blown hair raising terror. From that point on, the film turns full exorcism movie as catholic battles and fear take centre stage. The impending exorcism is graphic and unnerving to watch and while it doesn't add anything new to the genre, it's testament to how true horror knows no bounds and has a surprisingly more grounded and believable presence than that of pea soup and green make-up.
The blend of night terrors and possession is an interesting combination but one that never fully materialises until the films credits. As the film builds slowly towards its climactic indulgence of violence to Lucy, the focus of night terrors could have been more prominent in the journey to get there.
Bethan Waller is a real standout as Lucy who portrays the blurred line between paranoia and darkness with a history of abusive relationships and fortunately holds the film amongst it's supporting cast who are rather stiff to the point where THE LAST RITE may have been better as a radio play. There's a lot of story and character here but with a limited budget, it drags away from the well executed scenes with Lucy into a melodrama that has better performances in daytime soaps. Never too distractingly bad, but the male figures are unnecessarily aggressive, it's no wonder Lucy "let him in".
THE LAST RITE is probably about 20 minutes too long and is limited by its budget but as far as directorial debuts go, THE LAST RITE is a tremendous achievement for Leroy Kincaide.
THE LAST RITE is available to rent from 4th April 2022: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/video/detail/B09TH64S7L/ref=atv_dp_share_cu_r