Lucy Morgan, medical student, living with her art dealer boyfriend Ben in their model home with its white walls and tasteful white furnishings, suffering from sleep paralysis and night terrors to which he is unsympathetic, more concerned with a major deal which has just fallen through until she begins to see things around the house, a shadowy figure lurking at the edge of her vision of “the man in the hat.”
An expert on such phenomenon living nearby, Doctor David Andrews, author of Walking with Shadows, Lucy visits him unannounced at his home but he is unwelcoming, hostile when she flicks through his scrawled notebooks without invitation. Her estranged parents religious extremists, Lucy is hesitant to visit the church, but Father William Roberts believes an exorcism may be required.
Aiming for something akin to The Exorcist or The Entity but without the atmosphere, intelligence or intensity of either, The Last Rite is the feature debut of former wrestler turned writer, director, director of photography, sound designer and editor Leroy Kincaide, witless and possessed of a painful lethargy which saps the energy from every scene, dragging the underdeveloped premise to an hour and forty-seven minutes.
Bethan Waller making her debut as Lucy, she struggles to bring energy to Kincaide’s dialogue and scenarios, while Johnny Fleming plays Ben like a prototype human, an early version released before the full emotional spectrum had been installed, capable only of expressing feelings along the anger axis, switching from bland and bewildered to exasperated and argumentative, snapping at Lucy’s very reasonable questions.
Father Roberts (Kit Smith) initially doubtful of Lucy’s visions, telling her “we think things are real but there is another answer not of the supernatural,” he then counsels her to try prayer, presumably just not the supernatural kind of prayer, while Lucy’s best friend Ellie (Tara Hoyos-Martinez) is presumably an expert on avian suicide methods, commenting when a crow is killed by flying into a window that it’s “strange, they don’t normally kill themselves like that.”
The final exorcism scene a half-hearted recreation of dozens of similar scenes with sweating, speaking in tongues, contortions and crucifixes rotating on the walls, The Last Rite is an exercise in the derivative, lacking even the grace to make its lack of originality semi-engaging with wit or style, an unintentional cure for the disturbed sleep it was supposed to explore.