The number of possession movies that are out there to be viewed has grown so big in number that trying to watch them all is nearly impossible unless one has a great deal of free time and the ability to discern the difference between one and the other. But The Last Rite has the look of one of those that might have a little something different to offer and not the play-by-play type of experience that many people have grown used to. From a first glance, it would appear that Lucy, the main character in this movie, might be simply a victim of a malevolent force that wants into this world and will rip its way through her to get there, or is simply a victim of something that wants little more than mayhem. Far too many possession movies end up taking on the idea of tormenting the victim for their own reasons, but it would be great to see something else other than the vindictive workings of a spirit that’s simply playing with its prey.
To be fair, the twisted games that spirits and demons appear to play at times are elements of horror that many people have come to find enticing as well as exciting, morbid as that is. But if it sells, then it sells, since people have enjoyed being scared by one horror movie after another over the years and have continued to come back for more even after being scared out of their wits time and again. Regardless of how they react and how they feel about it, people will continue to come back for horror movies since they often can’t get enough of them. Some will stay away since they can’t deal with the subject matter or perhaps don’t agree with what they see on the screen. That’s normal, especially when belief and religion come into play. But others will come back for the adrenaline rush, and because, well, religion and art tend to go hand in hand at times, for good or ill.
Religious material in the movies has been a common staple for so long that it’s a wonder that anyone is still surprised by it since like it or not, religion offers up some of the best stories and the best opportunities even if people don’t happen to believe in what the movies and TV shows depict so often. Stories of demons, devils, possession, world domination, etc., are extremely popular for a number of reasons, and the fact that they’re controversial is only one of them. The horror aspect is what a lot of people tend to love about movies such as this, since being scared is a high that a lot of individuals tend to enjoy, while others make themselves go through it for…reasons. But in terms of possession movies, there is another allure that draws people even as it frightens them to death. It’s the idea of losing all control of oneself, the unrelenting horror that something could reach out and take hold of our bodies, our minds, and every part of who we are with such horrid ease that fighting wouldn’t even be an option.
One thing about humanity, beyond religion and anything else, is that we don’t like being controlled. Well, some might not mind it for whatever reason, but it feels safe to say that most people don’t like being controlled, that their will is something they’re not willing to give up since being able to do and say what we want is an important part of who we are and how we exist. This is why possession movies have the opportunity to be so terrifying since it’s a loss of all control that people can’t stand but are fascinated by, as pitting ourselves against the unknown then becomes a challenge that some might willingly take up, even if it’s a fantasy that drives us to do so. The Last Rite already looks like a creepy and unforgiving thrill ride that will remind people of how possession is something that would be a fate worse than death. On the surface it does look like a lot of different movies since the main character is apparently suffering from sleep paralysis and as such is a prime target for anything that might want to muck around in her mind and control her.
But that kind of indicates that the spirit might be a little weaker than people are realizing, since preying on those with a pre-existing issue appears to be a favored M.O. in possession movies, meaning that a strong and capable mind might actually be able to fight a little harder. It’s a theory, but not a strong one, though it might gain some traction if someone were to make a movie depicting the inner struggle between a possessing spirit and its unwilling host.