Drag Me To Hell

"Excellent"

Drag Me To Hell Review


With the Spider-Man films sitting out there like tarted-up, tawdry trophy wives, it's easy to forget how good a filmmaker Sam Raimi really is. If it weren't for the commercial strictures of the comic book movie, mandates which tend to stifle outright creativity, he might still be churning out the quality spine-tinglers. Instead, he's been lost in a sea of sparkle and spectacle, forgetting us fright fans who propped him up and suggested he might sell to a strict Tinseltown demo. Now, he's back crafting the kind of spook shows that made us all fall in love with him in the first place -- and Drag Me to Hell is quite an act of crazed contrition.

Loan Officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) wants the available assistant manager position in her bank. She hopes it will impress the parents of her psychology professor boyfriend Clay Dalton (Justin Long). But when a need for cutthroat tactics causes her to deny a geriatric gypsy woman (Lorna Raver) a third extension on her mortgage, there is literally hell to pay. Seems the old lady places a curse on Christine, guaranteeing that, in three days, a demon will arrive to drag her down to Satan's dominion. Hoping to avoid such a horrible fate, she seeks the aid of psychic Rham Jas (Dileep Rao). He suggests a medium (Adriana Barraza) who had a run in with the same spirit several years before. Unfortunately, it seems Christine's soul is condemned, and nothing can save her.

At first, Drag Me to Hell is a tad disconcerting. This is a Raimi we haven't seen in almost 17 years, since Army of Darkness delivered its madcap medieval times. We are so used to the man being part of the Hollywood elite, of delivering mainstream thrillers (A Simple Plan, The Gift) or producing other artists' genre efforts (The Grudge, Boogeyman) that his insane brand of directorial bravado seems slightly surreal at first. But then a kind of mental muscle memory takes over and we witness the fright film rebirth of the man who made the Necronomicon and tree rape a classic creepshow reality. As a result, Drag Me to Hell becomes the horror comedy reminder of who the real macabre master is.

Raimi is clearly having fun here, throwing as much goop and gunk at the screen as his PG-13 rating will allow. But that's not all. As he has shown throughout his entire career, no one understands the music of terror better than Mr. Evil Dead. The sound design utilized is stunning, as unnerving as anything the man has attempted before. Similarly, Raimi really ratchets up the suspense. There are sequences of dread so intense that they guarantee to push you right up to the edge of your already well-worn seat. While it has a few flaws (one too many gamey old lady gags, at least at the beginning), we are clearly in the presence of a cinematic visionary.

While acting is never a major issue for Raimi, Ms. Lohman deserves credit for stepping in when Juno herself, Ellen Page, dropped out due to scheduling issues. She does an amazing job with what is the usually thankless role of supernatural victim. Long is also good as her comic relief boyfriend, though he kind of drops out of the narrative toward the end. New faces like Raver and Rao really leave an impression, and the special effects by Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger are first rate. Raimi really enjoys the newfound freedom of CGI. One sickening set-piece involving an anvil will have audiences squirming with gorehound delight.

With its overabundance of energy and kinetic in-your-face style, Drag Me to Hell is the stuff nightmares are made of. For however brief this stay may be, it is nice to have Sam Raimi back doing what he does best -- scaring the bejesus out of people.

Seatbelts are important.



Drag Me To Hell

Facts and Figures

Genre: Horror/Suspense

Run time: 99 mins

In Theaters: Friday 29th May 2009

Box Office USA: $42.1M

Box Office Worldwide: $90.8M

Budget: $30M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Ghost House Pictures, Buckaroo Entertainment, Curse Productions, Mandate Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 220 Rotten: 19

IMDB: 6.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Grant Curtis, , , , , Robert G. Tapert

Starring: as Christine Brown, as Clay Dalton, as Mrs. Ganush, as Rham Jas, as Mr. Jacks, as Shaun San Dena, as Leonard Dalton, as Stu Rubin, as Trudy Dalton, as Ilenka Ganush, Kevin Foster as Milos, Jay Gordon as Family at Diner, as Farm Worker, Ruth Livier as Farm Worker's Wife, Shiloh Selassie as Farm Worker's Son, as Bank Co-Worker

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Hampstead Movie Review

Hampstead Movie Review

Deliberately appealing to older audiences, this undemanding comedy-drama comes with a hint of social relevance...

The Book of Henry Movie Review

The Book of Henry Movie Review

Apparently, this offbeat script had been making the rounds in Hollywood for some 20 years...

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

Transformers: The Last Knight Movie Review

With this fifth Transformers movie, it seems clear that Michael Bay is still trying to...

Churchill Movie Review

Churchill Movie Review

This drama about the iconic British prime minister tells a darkly personal story set over...

Gifted Movie Review

Gifted Movie Review

This is one of those films that dances right up to the edge of soapy...

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Whitney: Can I Be Me Movie Review

Notorious British filmmaker Nick Broomfield teams up with Austrian music documentary producer Rudi Dolezal to...

The Mummy Movie Review

The Mummy Movie Review

To launch their new Dark Universe franchise, Universal has taken an approach that mixes murky...

Advertisement
My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

My Cousin Rachel Movie Review

Daphne du Maurier's 1951 mystery-romance novel has been adapted for theatre, radio, TV and film,...

Wilson Movie Review

Wilson Movie Review

It's never helpful when a comedy becomes a bit too smug about its own quirkiness....

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

Interlude in Prague Movie Review

A fictionalised story from the life of Wolfgang Mozart, this lavishly produced period drama is...

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

The Hippopotamus Movie Review

This British satirical comedy may be a bit of a mess, but since it's based...

Detour Movie Review

Detour Movie Review

This may look like a rather typical American indie thriller, but British filmmaker Christopher Smith...

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Wonder Woman Movie Review

Boldly optimistic, this action-packed adventure breathes fresh life into the DC universe with a welcome...

Baywatch Movie Review

Baywatch Movie Review

Clearly, it's a risky proposition adapting a cheesy vintage TV series for the big screen:...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.