Having been preoccupied with a little thing called the Spider-Man trilogy, Sam Raimi didn’t really get a chance to relive his days of horror, did he? Yes, the trilogy of Spider-Man movies were a lot of fun, but we all love Raimi for his original trilogy – the horror series known to the world as The Evil Dead. It wasn’t until 2009, that we got classic Raimi back with a fun house of a ride surrounding a demonic gypsy curse. It’s no Deadite, but I could accept it. I was curious, and almost felt like I needed to know what this movie was going to be, because almost every review I saw online, was negative, and talked about how bad it was.. I was planning on seeing this movie and taking it with a grain of salt, because I was worried why such negativity surrounded a movie. I planned on finding out; and that movie, was Drag Me To Hell!
Now, maybe I’m just a big fan of Raimi‘s, but from the intense opening scene to the shocking finale, Sam Raimi gave us a movie that feels like he’s finally returning to the horror genre with vigor and spark! Starring Alison Lohman in the leading role, [Ellen Page was originally cast as the lead but dropped out of the project early in production] Drag Me To Hell feels like it’s much more than your average, predictable horror popcorn flick. Even if it’s not. It’s filled with twists and turns and, like any good ride, a satisfying conclusion to keep you happy by the end of the credits. Also, about the PG-13 rating? Don’t even worry about it! One thing that helped was the story telling, to the point where you hardly notice it’s rating because of how immersed you become in the story.
The movie follows Christine, a loan officer at a bank with a boyfriend who absolutely cares for her and her well being. Christine ends up being considered for a promotion at work, so – like anyone else – decides that she should jump at the opportunity! [I mean, who wouldn’t?] We meet our “villain”, when she comes across an old gypsy woman [who has one of my favorite movie names: Mrs. Ganush] who requests a third extension on her house. Her boss tells her it’s a tough decision, but that it’s her call if she’ll grant the extension. In an act of showing her boss that she isn’t afraid to take risks, Christine refuses the woman’s payment. Unfortunately, this leaves Mrs. Ganush absolutely infuriated, to the point where this woman stalks Christine to her car after work and puts a supernatural curse on her, one which she claims gives her only three days to overcome before the spirits from below will come, and drag her soul to hell.
Perhaps the most shocking thing about the movie is how well it’s made technically. It had all sorts of interesting shots and the real work of a someone who knows horror. Having both written and directed the film, Sam Raimi more than proves his worth to the genre, despite disappearing from the horror scene, since Army Of Darkness. In ways, Drag Me To Hell felt like a sort of revival of what people with think of PG-13 horror movies. It’s one of the more intense films to come from the Raimi brothers, despite the PG-13 rating which is why I think most people tagged it as garbage without a second thought. Unfortunate, really.
As a whole, the movie is full of its shocks, and the less you know about it, the better. I could go on for hours about the movie and spoil everything, but that would ruin some of its ‘magic’. Which is certainly not to say that it is lost after a first viewing, just that it’s an experience unlike any other going into this movie watching virtually no clips and reading very little about it. It becomes a truly rewarding experience for the viewer.
Mrs. Ganush is one of the best villains though, as she provides plenty of jumps. Lorna Raver, who plays Ganush, infuses the role with an enthusiasm that is rarely seen in big-screen baddies. She has more personality than some other horror villains I can think of.. Clay – Christine‘s boyfriend – provides a much-needed balance between the overly goofy and the horrific, and helps make the film’s heroine, Christine, all the more believable. Clay was played by Justin Long and despite the nature of his role, I really liked him in this movie. He made the sincerity of his character feel “real”. Lohman had a lot resting on her shoulders with this movie, and she totally pulled it off! She plays the terrified, but headstrong and determined female lead really well, to the point where you feel her pain. She proves her worth over and over again in this movie. She totally has a career ahead of her, even if we don’t see it yet.
Overall, I wouldn’t call this movie terrifying, but it is extremely enjoyable! It has horror, it has gore, and it’s very over the top; like the old Evil Dead days. It’s something that people discredited too quickly, and that’s unfortunate – because it’s not as terrible as everyone likes to claim. So watch Drag Me To Hell, you won’t be disappointed..unless you have really high expectations. It does feel over the top, and strange at times; but that’s all what Raimi is known for – you really have to like this kind of style to truly appreciate this film for what it is!
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