Drag Me to Hell

2009-06-12 17:03
 
Drag me to hell

What it's about:

Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is a loan officer at a bank, trying to secure a promotion and win the respect of her fiancé’s wealthy parents. When she refuses an old gypsy woman an extension on her home loan, she is cursed, and her life turns into a living nightmare of demonic visions and bad luck. She contacts a medium, Rham Jas (Dileep Rao) for help, and together they lay plans to stop her soul from being dragged into hell, with horrific results.

What we thought:


For those people who associate director Sam Raimi with his massively successful Spider-Man movies, Drag Me to Hell will be a great introduction to the man’s other side – once one of horror’s brightest young stars, and creator of the absolutely legendary Evil Dead trilogy. Those movies combined edge-of-your-seat scares with a dark, gore splattered sense of humour, like Monty Python directing The Texas Chainsaw massacre.

Like the kid brother of the Evil Dead films, Drag Me to Hell is unapologetically a B-movie, lovingly crafted to give you a great thrill ride on a Friday night. While the story reads like generic horror fodder, the set pieces and timing are played out with the skill and energy of a virtuoso. Compared to a lot of recent horror that happily regurgitates cliché after cliché while plodding slowly towards an unrewarding bloody climax, the movie does not contain a single boring minute.

Alison Lohman comes across much like a less angry version of Ash, the reluctant hero of the Evil Dead movies. She is sweetly pretty and makes a convincing action heroine when necessary, but her biggest asset is her ability to exude credible terror. Much of the movie’s great atmosphere comes from the quiet periods between the outbreaks of mayhem – an eerie noise or shape flitting past a window, and the fear it strikes into Christine, and by association, into the viewer.

It’s not all creaking doors and sinister shadows though – when the action kicks off, Raimi is in his element. The choreography is as slick as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and much of the time you won’t know whether to gasp in amazement or laugh your head off. Many of the scenes are full blown gross-outs with mucous, vomit and goo flying all over the place, which are actually quite reminiscent of some kiddie comedies.

This leads me to my biggest complaint about the movie: It is a remarkably bloodless affair due to the low age restriction. It might sound like the geeky gripe of a total fanboy, but to me the copious blood, and even more so the air of darkness, is what made the Evil Deads such classic horror movies. To add insult to injury, some of the CGI give off a tacky Ghostbusters vibe, which detracts from the atmosphere of dread.

While Drag Me to Hell doesn’t match up to the Evil Dead films, as all Sam Raimi’s fans hoped it would, it hits the spot if you're after something lively and entertaining. It’s frenetic, it’s gross, it’s scary, and it is also very funny. Raimi is one of the few filmmakers around who can successfully mix horror and comedy and make a brilliant movie that would please fans of both genres. Drag Me to Hell falls just short of brilliant, but it is one heck of a ride.


Evil Dead meister Sam Raimi returns to his roots with this raucously entertaining horror about a gypsy’s curse.

preshen govender 2009/06/17 9:54 AM
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I watched it for the nude scene
Morgan 2009/06/23 12:03 PM
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Hardly proof that Raimi's got his sense of humour back after three humourless & juvenile 'Spiderman' flicks. Takes a while for the Raimi brand of humour to kick in - but there's plenty of good skrikke before then - and then it gets wickedly silly. Doesn't hold a candle to Raimi's best, though - 'Army of Darkness' (Evil Dead III) and 'Darkman'.
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