Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Drag Me To Hell

Sam Raimi returns to his roots of horror with Drag Me To Hell. It's been 17 years since he did Army of Darkness, and to all those fanboys out there- he's still got it. I was dubious that he could retain his horror chops after almost a decade with the over produced Spider Man trilogy. Though Drag Me To Hell doesn't embody quite the campy deliciousness of the Evil Dead Trilogy- it seems to come as close as anything can in today's profit driven industry.

Alison Lohman stars as Christine Brown, a bank loan officer who in a bid for a promotion foreclosed on the worst imaginable person- an old gypsy woman who in retaliation lets loose a curse on Christine to- per the title- drag her to hell. I never understood why curses take so long to accomplish their goal. I guess there wouldn't be much a movie if there were immediate results. Starring alongside her is Justin Long as her fairly pointless arm candy boyfriend, Clay. He really serves no purpose besides providing a necessary love interest.

Where the movie really comes to life are in the scenes where gross-out practical effects take the center stage (and there's plenty of those). I was hooked from a scene early on when the old woman assaults Christine in a parking garage. For a split second I was worried this was going to be lame and goofy. I quickly realized goofy was an appropriate term, but I had to replace lame with wonderful. Goof and camp are what Sam Raimi does amazingly well, and it's what keeps his fans coming back.

Though Raimi doesn't reach quite the same echelon as the stop motion skeletons of Army of Darkness, those days are long gone. But he does manage to capture some scene reminiscent of the early 90's from movies like It (which despite what anyone says- I still think is one of the scariest movies of all time).

Drag Me To Hell is definitely a niche film, and you should pretty much know what you're getting when you go into it. You'll notice this review didn't mention anything about the acting, or the brilliant plot development. You may be surprised to hear this, but those were pretty much not there- unless you consider Christine going to a fortune teller to try to exorcise the demons an original plot point. Perhaps the best test you can conduct about whether you will like this movie is look at the title. If it sounds stupid and unpleasant to you, guess what- you won't like the movie. If the title sounds downright awesome- you'll have a blast.


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