Saturday, June 29, 2013

#1,048. Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Directed By: Sam Raimi

Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver

Tag line: "Christine Brown has a good job, a great boyfriend, and a bright future. But in three days, she's going to hell"

Trivia: The script was written after Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi completed Army of Darkness, but Sam pursued other projects before returning to this

Sam Raimi, who in 1981 gave us The Evil Dead, returns to the horror genre with 2009’s Drag Me to Hell, an occasionally gross, yet hugely entertaining movie.

Loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is in line for a promotion. To impress her boss, she refuses to give an elderly gypsy named Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver) an extension on her mortgage. Naturally, Mrs. Ganush is none too happy about it, and takes her frustrations out on Christine by putting a curse on her. Within hours, Christine finds herself at the mercy of an evil spirit, which, according to fortune teller Rham Jas (Dileep Rao), goes by the name of Lamia. With the help of Rham Jas, as well as her boyfriend, Clay (Justin Long), Christine must break this terrible curse in less than 72 hours. If she doesn't, Lamia will drag her down to hell, where she'll spend eternity suffering the tortures of the damned.

Packed with plenty of jump scares, Drag Me to Hell is a real thrill ride. At times, it’s a very tense motion picture, especially in the scenes where Lamia is stalking Christine (we never see the demon, save for its shadow on the wall, yet it definitely makes its presence known). The film also contains a handful of over-the-top sequences that, if they don’t make you laugh, are sure bring a smile to your face (there’s a scene with a goat that’s unforgettable). What’s more, Drag Me to Hell features one of the most repulsive antagonists in recent memory. Played to perfection by Lorna Raver, Mrs. Ganush spends the better part of the movie spewing mucus, bugs, even embalming fluid all over Christine. Prior to putting the curse on her, Mrs. Ganush attacks Christine in a parking garage, and during the melee, her false teeth fall out. But instead of slowing her down, this makes the old hag even angrier (she lunges at Christine and starts gnawing on the poor girl’s chin). From that moment on, Mrs. Ganush grows steadily more disgusting each time we see her.

Much like The Evil Dead before it, Drag Me to Hell will both scare the bejesus out of you and make you sick to your stomach. And I loved every minute of it!

1 comment:

James Robert Smith said...

Just a totally aimless film. Awful in every way. Nothing whatsoever about this movie impressed me. First of all, it was based on the great short story "Casting the Runes" by M.R. James and is a kind of pathetic remake of the almost perfect film based on the James story, "Curse of the Demon".

I wonder sometimes if directors who showed great promise and vision in their youth become jaded somehow, or their talents completely atrophy due to age and/or dissipation due to the millions of dollars they have accumulated in the interim.

Whatever it is, DRAG ME TO HELL is a completely terrible film that would be forgettable save for the fact that it remains so heart-crushingly disappointing. It is for that reason that I recall the film. How sad to see a formerly bright director reduced to creating tepid crap like this movie.