The Last Exorcism Part II star Ashley Bell phoned Movie Fanatic from the Portland, Oregon Comic-Con, her first of any kind. “It’s crazy. I’m having a blast,” she proudly stated. Bell was there talking to the fans as her The Last Exorcism Part II is set to premiere in theaters. “I’m seeing so many good costumes -- even a woman who is just naked! That’s probably a bit too much.”
In the sequel to 2010’s The Last Exorcism, we meet her character Nell who is trying to put together the pieces of her life after the devil almost destroyed everything she knows. Bell is thrilled for audiences to go on that Nell-centric thrill ride once again.
“I saw it for the first time a few weeks ago and I scared myself," she said and laughed. “I went with a bunch of people who hadn’t even read the script and in the first 20 minutes they were jumping into each other’s arms! That’s the great thing about making a part two is that the audience is vulnerable to be preyed on.”
Although it appears as if the scares are too much for even teens from The Exorcism Part II trailer, Bell admitted that the film is the rare horror movie that is not an "R." "It’s PG-13 and it’s a fun, scary movie."
When tackling a sequel, regardless of the genre, Bell stated that it is important to not forget what made audiences fall for the characters in the first place.
“It’s always just about being true to the character. When I got the call that a Part II was happening, it was so thrilling that we were continuing Nell’s story. I couldn’t believe it,” Bell said.
“I was excited to see where Nell would be even mentally after the first one. She was broken. In putting together the pieces of Nell, it was also what was missing. It was in those missing pieces where she began to question background and religious faith. That’s when the devil creeps in and there’s temptation.”
Appearing in a horror film, much less a sequel -- is a true dream for the actress.
“I am a huge horror fan. Growing up, I remember watching horror movies with my dad which led to an incredibly overactive imagination. To this day, I’m still scared of the dark,” Bell said and laughed. “We would watch Poltergeist, Pumpkinhead and Alien. To get the chance to be part of one myself, it was really exciting.”
Does she have a favorite? “Pumpkinhead! But I do love Alien -- love the Ridley character. I recently watched it again and it scared me so much,” Bell said.
Even in tough times, horror movies still tend to do well at the box office and Bell believes that has much to do with the joy of collective scares. “There’s nothing like that thrill of going to a horror movie and getting scared to death,” she said.
“For Part I, Eli Roth (producer), took us around LA and we’d watch people being scared watching the movie. It’s almost like you’re going on a ride being in the audience of a horror movie.”
Now that she’s back in the role of Nell, we wondered what it was that she likes most about the character now that she’s played her twice. “I like her fashion sense,” Bell said and laughed.
“There’s so much of her that I love. Even though she’s sheltered and vulnerable, she still has a strength to her, despite everything that is going on. She has a hope and believes that everything is going to be OK, literally in the face of the devil.”