Eli Roth is scaring people again.
Now best known for acting alongside Brad Pitt in "Inglourious Basterds," Roth's initial claim to fame was directing splatter fests like "Cabin Fever" and "Hostel."
Roth put on his producer cap for “The Last Exorcism,” due out in theaters at the end of the month.
The horror film, shot from a skeptic’s perspective in the style of a “faux documentary,” is centered on Reverend Cotton Marcus who is raised a true believer in the evangelical faith and spent 25 years conducting exorcisms he’s known were not real. But as he performs one last exorcism on Louisiana farm girl Nell in an attempt to release the guilt he’s been bearing from all the years of deceit, Marcus is confronted for the first time with maniacal forces.
“I loved the idea that it was a film about debunking exorcisms, showing that it’s all fake, and slowly realizing there are forces far greater than your comprehension and that you shouldn’t mess with them,” Roth said.
And it seems a number of Americans concur. A 2005 Gallup poll found that 42 percent of people believe in possession by the devil, and many across the world are taking action. Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican's exorcist-in-chief, has performed the ritual more than 40,000 times.
“Throughout the film the question is: Is it supernatural or is it human evil? Is Nell schizophrenic or is she possessed? That to me is the interesting question,” director Daniel Stem said. “The film is about faith, the role faith plays in your life and what that does to you – how it can help you, and how it can destroy you.”
“We wanted our exorcism to feel raw, real, and fresh, like you are truly in the room with someone who could be possessed,” Roth added. “We didn’t use any makeup, CGI, or special effects in her (Ashley Bell, who plays Nell) scenes, it’s all her doing everything you see, down to the bulging veins on her neck and the back bends.”