EXETER is his first original film, having not been based on established material, and the fact that it is about as contrived and routine as horror movies get makes it one hell of a laborious and mindless affair.
After an illegal party inside an abandoned lunatic asylum seven teens stick around after everyone leaves and consume copious amounts of drugs while dabbling in black magic. The asylum’s sinister history inspires them to connect with the dead, and when they attempt to levitate themselves they end up conjuring an evil spirit, which possesses them one-by-one. And so it is... a stupid rip-off of The Exorcist that isn't even subtle enough to conceal its plagiarism. These idiots even chant “The power of Christ compels you” as they splash water on the possessed (not to mention the spider walk, pea soup spew etc).
EXETER is a Blumhouse production and with Nispel at the wheel it was always going to be a handsome looking movie. The production design is brilliantly textured with its grungy decor and grimy atmosphere, and the camera dances amongst the action evenly. Style can often be given merit over substance when it's exciting and original, however in this instance, the style is entirely cliched with almost every scene owing platitude to other films. The characters are carbon copied from a thousand movies before it, and the dialogue bares no appeal whatsoever. You just don't give a shit about any of these characters and their desperation couldn't be any less concerning. Had Nispel killed them all within the first 5-minutes then he would have had a great 5-minute short on his hands, as opposed to the 90-minutes of bullshit he ended up producing.