THE hall-of-mirrors hype machine otherwise known as the internet created unrealistic expectations for Edgar Wright's Hollywood debut, Scott Pilgrim vs the World. When it failed to connect with a large mainstream audience, it was written off as a fail
ure, even though creatively speaking it's a perfectly successful film, one that seems to mark a natural end point for the hugely entertaining pop-culture-devouring style he began to develop with TV series Spaced and went on to hone with solid cult hits Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.
Based on a series of Canadian graphic novels, it charts the adventures its titular hero (played by Michael Cera, above) as he realises he'll have to do battle with the seven evil exes of the girl of his dreams (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) if he's to win her heart. It's silly stuff but despite its wild flights of fantasy, it never severs the emotional dimension that underpins all of Wright's work.
As Scott advances to each new level, the computer game-style set-up works as a surprisingly poignant metaphor for the way this somewhat aloof nerd comes to realise he has to battle his own demons and insecurities if he's to achieve the maturity that will allow him to move on with his life. Extras include three commentaries, and a solid selection of making-of documentaries, deleted scenes and alternate edits.
It's always frustrating to see a film run out of ideas, but that's the fate that befalls The Last Exorcism, which uses the ubiquitous found-footage mock-doc device to deliver its moderately entertaining scares before descending into the usual shaky-cam blur of occult rituals and bloodshed.
That's too bad, because things start off well thanks to a plot that hinges on a cynical Baptist preacher (Patrick Fabian) determined to expose the titular religious ritual for the sham that it is. Inviting a film crew to document him while he performs a fake exorcism on the daughter of a God-fearing family, his plan is to show the ritual up as nothing more than an elaborate placebo designed to keep the devout in the grip of their faith.
Of course, things don't go exactly to plan, but anything good about the film ends up seeming accidental as it betrays its limited ambitions by cribbing the final act from a raft of Rosemary's Baby-influenced sources.