poor Christine Brown (Alison Lohman). All she wants to do is earn
the Assistant Bank Manager job shes worked so hard for and
settle into a life of domestic bliss with her loving and good
natured fiancee, psychiatrist Clay Dolton (Justin Long).
, a couple of things stand in her way. One is that her new, ass
kissing co-worker has commanded the attention of her employer
Mr. Jacks (David Paymer). Also, Clays parents -old school
elitists from the word go- are not so willing to greet this former
farm girl with open arms. Oh and did I mention that Christine
has pissed off an evil gypsy woman (Lorna Raver) and is facing
the possibility of literally being pulled into the bowels of Hell?
right horror fans, sit back, strap yourselves in and prepare to
be taken for one hell of a wild ride, because Sam groovy
Raimi has returned to the genre which made him a star with this
latest terror offering, the deliciously diabolical and furiously
funny bone cracker Drag Me to Hell.
elderly gypsy Sylvia Ganush appears at the bank where Christine
works, all she wants is an extension on her loan so that she doesnt
have to lose her home. Christine, who handles the loan department,
could grant the extension, but if she doesnt- her boss informs
her- the bank will turn a profit on repossessing the Ganush house.
This, he informs her, is one of those tough decisions which employees
need to learn to make in order to become Assistant Bank Managers.
Take a wild guess what choice Christine makes?
who isnt exactly the sort of person youd have an innate
desire to spend lengthy increments of time with in the first place,
doesnt take kindly to being turned down. Things rapidly
go south from there and before you know it, Christine finds herself
on the receiving end of an absolutely terrifying after-hours visitation
from Ganush , one which culminates in the young woman being cursed.
For three days a demonic entity called the Lamia will torment
Christine, culminating with her being forcibly pulled down through
the earth into the fires of Hell itself. The rest of the movie
is a chronicle of Christines torment and her efforts to
try and cancel her impending otherworldly travel arrangements.
If this sounds like a jacked up B-movie, youre absolutely
plot is almost inconsequential. The performances are solid and
the film moves at a clip, but its Sam Raimi who is the star
here. After almost two decades away from directing horror, it
becomes rapidly apparent that Raimi is reveling in this return
to his roots. He takes every cliché you can think of and
turns it on its head,. Nary is a single opportunity missed to
go for well-executed jump scares or gross out shots. The dividing
factor between this film and what would certainly come across
as mundane and contrived in the hands of anyone else is Raimis
talent. Weve seen objects moving by themselves, creepy shadows
and glimpses of a monster before.. hell, even in his previous
work. But rarely are these images combined as effectively as they
isnt afraid to tread over some sacred cows, either. Small
animals are not necessarily safe in this film and no opportunity
is missed to spew or shove some vile object, insect or fluid into
poor Christines mouth. Its no minor statement to say
that the PG-13 rating on this is merely semantics. Despite an
absence of any hardcore gore (though blood does issue memorably
in a few scenes),this film does push the envelope on what that
rating can get away with.
mentioned, the acting is solid. Lohman is nicely relatable and
does an excellent job transforming from hapless victim to determined
survivor. Long is charming as always and Paymer is effectively
smarmy as the boss. Dileep Rao is equally enjoyable as the psychic
Christine turns to for assistance in battling her curse.
the standout is Lorna Raver, who-assisted by some terrific effects
makeup- creates in Sylvia Ganush the next great horror icon. Forget
the doddering old man with the rotting nose from Thinner - Ganush
would rip him in half. As capable of violence as her unsettling
visage suggests, this is one character who will be remembered.
effects are mostly practical in nature and are assured and convincing.
Points off, though, for a scene or two involving some sketchy
(but thankfully very brief) CGI.
cinematography is top notch, with Evil Dead II camera maestro
Peter Deming back on hand to capture the supernatural insanity.
The quick zooms, tilted angles and swoops weve come to love
and expect from a Raimi film are alive and well throughout (On
the subject or returning to form, Raimi fans should keep their
eyes and ears peeled: While there is (lamentably) no cameo by
the Chin , a rather familiar Oldsmobile shows up at one point
if you listen carefully during a particularly harrowing séance
sequence, youll hear the undeniably familiar and throaty
tones of a deadite voice).
have only one other complaint about this film and thats
the telegraphing of a plot point. To avoid spoilers I wont
go into any details, but there is a last act twist
which anyone who has ever seen a horror film will figure out about
twenty minutes before it is revealed. Points off for that as well.
thats the limit of my complaint list. In all other regards,
its a big Splatter scribe hats off to
Raimi and his cast and crew for delivering an original, exciting
and at times genuinely scary rollercoaster of a movie. Drag me
to Hell came out of left field and is a cinematic wonder. It is
not a remake, not a sequel and it is alternately very scary and
painfully funny. It is also an assured return to horror by a genre
hero. Good to have you back, Sam.
out of Ten Mean Goat Demons