The only downside to making $70m at the box office from a budget of $1.5m and having that success spawn a sequel, is that it's slightly embarrassing if that original film had the word "last" in the title. Not that that's deterring the production team behind The Last Exorcism from moving forward with a follow-up in the slightest. It was announced last autumn that the film was being written by Damien Chazelle, and it now has a director, in Ed Gass-Donnelly.
The Empire Award-winning The Last Exorcism was a sleeper hit in 2010, presented as a documentary about well-meaning but charlatan exorcist Cotton Marcus (Patrick Fabian) stumbling upon what seems to be a genuine posession. Things didn't go so well for Cotton after that.
Plot-wise, not much is being revealed about the sequel yet, but we do know that it takes place three months after the first film (so hasn't taken the prequel route that some might have predicted) and involves the further tribulations of the demon-ised Nell Sweetzer (Ashley Bell). The company line is also that it'll be on a much larger scale than previously, which might indicate that the found-footage schtick is being dropped this time around.
Gass-Donnelly (who made the 2010 crime thriller Small Town Murder Songs, with Peter Stormare) replaces original director Daniel Stamm, who's had his hands full recently with Night Chronicle Reincarnate, and possible English-language remakes of 13: Beloved and Martyrs.
Still aboard The Last Exorcism train however, is original producer Eli Roth, who told Deadline that he's "very, very excited to continue this story."
"Obviously with the title of the first one we had not planned on a sequel", Roth laughs, "but we love the story and subject matter and had what we feel is an inspired idea to continue it. We want to go deeper and darker this time. The first film worked great as a PG-13 psychological film, but now we want to go R-rated and show the true horror of what this subject matter offers. The biggest creative challenge will be coming up with the right title!”
The Exorcism After The Last One: Not Nearly So Final As We May Have Led You To Believe, starts shooting next month in New Orleans.