HOLLYWOOD—“The Last Exorcism” squeaks through with a PG-13 rating, not an R. That made me wonder just before the screening if it meant the film would not be a true horror thriller. Wrong! One of the best choices director and filmmaker Daniel Stamm made was to cast Patrick Fabian in the lead role as Cotton Marcus. Fabian really does a great job with a fascinating character in the film and the solid performance was on the mark.

A troubled evangelical minister agrees to let his last exorcism be filmed by a documentary crew. The movie is less than an hour and a half, but it doesn’t rush into the drama and gore, it paces itself slowly, while viewers get to know all the important characters.

Other great performances include Tony Bentley as Pastor Manley, Ashley Bell as Nell Sweetzer and Shanna Forrestall as Shanna Marcus. The film’s acting sure makes up for the lack of shock and bloody scenes, which I preferred, because it is really supposed to be about the story, not about the shock value of horror films. Filmmaker Stamm seems to go back to the old fashioned way of telling a spooky story, and it works for this feature film.

Satan lurks around the southern region in Louisiana in this film. Trading on the latest cult classic “True Blood,” which is also set in Louisiana, “The Last Exorcism” focuses on religious extremism and the writers tell an exciting story about the trauma demonic possession leaves on the family and loved ones of the victim.

The film is in sharp contrast to today’s horror, but is scary as heck and will leave you satisfied by the final frame. “The Last Exorcism” receives four of five stars from this reviewer. It opens on Friday, August 27, in theaters nationwide.