Drag Me to Hell

June 15, 2009

This day and age there aren’t many great horror films. It seems like too many of them rely on cheap scares with almost no build up, rarely any character connection, and they all get slapped with a PG-13 rating. This movie’s greatest weakness is probably the fact that the trailer, poster, (and that PG-13 rating that they seem to randomly put on every horror movie) don’t do it justice. The director Sam Raimi created one of my all time favorite movies with Evil Dead 2, and his return to the horror/ comedy franchise is extremely welcome.

Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is trying to acquire the desirable position of assistant manager before her rival Stu Rubin (Reggie Lee) does. In her desperation she evicts the house of an old woman (Lorna Raver as Mrs. Ganush) who turns out to be a gypsy that summons a demon to hunt down and drag Christine straight to hell. For anyone who isn’t familiar with the awesome Evil Dead trilogy, it’s the perfect marriage between horror and dark comedy. Years ago, when you had no idea what Shaun of the Dead was, it might have seemed strange, but I assure you it’s not. Raimi has managed to infuse both elements so that it feels completely natural, which is the polar opposite of those terrible spoof movies.

Overall it’s hard to classify this movie to a genre. It’s not a spoof or homage to anything other than maybe his earlier works. I can only say its part of whatever genre Evil Dead was all those years ago. The comedy elements of the movie work well and in what seems like too long, I’ve found myself laughing with this horror film instead of at it.
That said, there were many effective horror moments (and I’ve been desensitized) that build up suspense before finally unleashing the actual scare. That’s something I miss that today’s modern horror movies don’t have.

The film makers realized that not enough horror movies are as fun as they should be. We’ve all been in a theater where the audience couldn’t help but laugh at something that the film takes seriously. In this film, there are scenes that are meant to scare, but there are many that set up a serious, suspenseful mood before doing something that’s utterly hilarious. Just like every other horror movie that’s being released right now. Only difference is in this movie it was done on purpose. They didn’t beat you over the head with so many jokes that it feels like, (oh god) those spoof movies.
Now before you dedicate a religion to this movie, (back off, that’s my idea) it does have one flaw that comes to mind. The Evil Dead trilogy was a very low budget movie. This brought with it a certain charm though. Here, Raimi has a higher budget, but some of the effects look a little low budget, but since its not fake blood being pumped through hoses like in ED it doesn’t have quite the same effect.

Nonetheless it’s a minor gripe and the amount of fun you’ll have in this movie will overwhelm whatever problems there are. Also something of note: this is Alison Lohman’s first lead role and she handles it very well. My final verdict: I guarantee you’ll walk out with a smile on your twisted, sick face. Bring friends, it’s as fun as….HELL!

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