Drag Me To Hell

To the casual-film goer, this probably looks to be just another average horror flick. To the educated, though, it's a film to be celebratory about. Why, you may ask? It's because this is (in)famous director Sam Raimi's first return to horror in over 20 years! His Evil Dead trilogy, arguably his magnum opus, is well-known in the horror community for its creepy atmosphere and tongue-in-cheek dark humor. The latter of which is what definitely separates Raimi from your average horror film director, as he can *somehow* make exploding guts and vomiting demons hilarious.

The film follows Christine Brown, an ambitious bank loan officer, who's looking to move upward in her career path. However, her biggest rival for the next promotion, Stu Rubin, is currently heading the competition as the boss appreciates his ability to make tough decisions. Nothing too paranormal yet, though that's about to change. In order to impress her boss, Christine refuses to extend a third extension for an dying Gypsy woman's overdue mortgage. Even after begging on her knees, Christine still refuses the old woman and the Gypsy is later thrown out of the building. However, before finally leaving the Earth into death, the old woman places a curse on Christine. The curse states that the demon, Lamia, will prey upon Christine for three days before completing its final goal - dragging her to burn in Hell for all eternity.

Though we've seen the seances and the curses before, this new concept of literally being dragged to Hell is quite a fascinating aspect of the film. Add in Raimi's vastly dark humor, and you get a film that creeps you out while also grossing you out - in a good way, if that makes sense. Unlike other gory horrors, like the Saw series, which is just disgusting, the gore is so over-the-top one will find it hard not to laugh. There's literally a scene where a woman has an anvil dropped on her, and her eyeballs pop out in a gross, cartoon-ish sort of way. This may freak some people out, but those who've experienced Raimi's work before will appreciate the bizarre humor.

The characters are all quite interesting, though I wouldn't say they were the focal point of the film. This film is more about the processes of the plot, as well as its over-the-top nature. I found them all to believable and likable, even when Christine does a few absolutely abhorrent things to try and free herself form the curse.

Though the over-the-top humor is quite funny, there are points where it goes to the point of just being cringe-worthily cheesy. For instance, there are actually killer rags in this movie. Killer rags? Really? The opening sequence was also pretty cheesy, though I can't help but wonder if Raimi did that purposefully to deconstruct the horror films of the 2000's. Then again, I have been known for looking really deeply into films for hidden themes - some of which might not even be there.

The ending, unfortunately, can be seen a mile away when you're watching the film. I kid you not, I had the entire movie figured out during the beginning of the last 30 minutes of the movie. While this isn't too much of a complaint, it's still quite disappointing as Raimi had completely out of nowhere endings for his Evil Dead films. Medieval England anyone?

The film succeeds at being what it wants to be - a startlingly yet humorous horror film. I wouldn't say it's remarkable, as it certainly isn't, but it's still quite a fun film to enjoy. It has some flukes, but Drag Me To Hell is still one of the few GOOD horror films that have come out this decade.

7.5/10 - Good





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