Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Drag Me To Hell (2009) - A Review


This one has been on my list, and it’s one of those films that I would get strange looks at when I mentioned that I hadn’t seen it yet. “But you’re a huge Evil Dead fan!” friends would proclaim, “This is like Evil Dead 4!” others would say. While I agree with the first statement and I see where people come from when they make the second statement, I wouldn’t necessarily agree with the latter.

Drag Me to Hell was written by Sam and Ivan Raimi, and directed by Sam Raimi, the same force that brought us The Evil Dead and its infamous sequels. The Raimi brothers wrote it before Sam focused on creating the god awful Spider-Man franchise and it was released in 2009. I enjoyed it. It was a fun ride, entertaining and hilarious much in the same vein as ED, and overall a decent film.

Read on for the full review!

Title: Drag Me to Hell
Director(s): Sam Raimi
Writer(s): Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi
Producer(s): Grant Curtis, Robert G. Tapert
Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao, Bojana Novakovic, Adriana Barraza



In this film, the plot focuses on Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), a loan officer at a bank in Los Angeles who is vying for the position of assistant manager. After her manager informs her that she needs to be a little more aggressive and learn how to make tough decisions if she wants the position, she refuses to extend a loan to a gypsy woman named Mrs. Ganush whose home is being foreclosed on by the bank. After the gypsy woman begs on hand and knee, only to be publically embarrassed and escorted out of the bank, she curses Christine telling her “Next time you will be the one coming to beg to me”. 

A demonic force, known as a Lamia begins to haunt Christine with the promise that in 3 days time the demon will drag her soul to hell for an eternity of suffering. What follows is Christine’s dire attempts to save her soul and rid her life from the demonic force set loose upon her life.



Going into this film, I was expecting The Evil Dead the entire time. While I wasn’t expecting a cabin in the woods, the Necronomicon and a chainsaw wielding, blundering buffoon, I was expecting the same campiness, senseless shock factor and overall silliness. What I got was not too far off from that expectation, but I feel that it took a long while to get there.


As with many horror films, there was a long period of build up; character development, things of that nature. I appreciate this sort of thing, and while I didn’t find the first half boring I didn’t find it all that captivating either. It was entertaining, yes and I didn’t feel the need to do other things while I was watching, but I also didn’t feel that sense of excitement that normally comes with the thought “I’m watching something really great here”. As the film progresses though, it seems to get better and better. As Christine’s battle against the Lamia wages on she goes through hellish things, such as eye balls popping into her mouth, blood gushing out of her mouth and nose at her desk, and a dead woman’s embalming fluid pouring out of the deceased’s mouth and into hers. Now that kind of stuff, I could get down with. That’s ED all the way.


The final half of the film was pretty damn brilliant. You slowly see Christine breaking down from a sweet young woman into a frantic case of nerves that is willing to do anything to rid herself of this curse. I loved this. Alison Lohman was fantastic as the lead. She carried this part effortlessly and with grace. Justin Long, as Christine’s boyfriend, in the supporting role was great as well. When he first arrived on screen I was a little skeptical, but he proved himself to be completely formidable. They were able to get me to genuinely care about what happens to them, and their relationship, up until the credits began to roll.

NOW, let’s get to them P’s and C’s.

1. The Camp.
It was pretty damn good, I have to admit. While it took a while for the film to pick up, once Christine’s desperation reached the point of no return, no holds were barred. While I wouldn’t call it a continuation of the Deadite franchise, I would say that you DEFINITELY know that Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi had teamed up to bring this one to us. There were scenes involving an evil hanky that were very reminiscent of Evil Dead II, talking goats and yes, some deadites. There were even some cheesy lines that didn’t seem cheesy but perfectly placed.

2. The Twist. I won’t spoil anything, I promise, but wow. I loved the ending. Watch it.


1. The Build.
As I already mentioned, it took a while for this one to really grab hold of me. There was nothing necessarily wrong with it, I can’t even place a finger on it, but it just didn’t really get me going until about halfway through. As with many horror films, this is often the case, so it shouldn’t be too much of a deal breaker.

Overall, I dug it. I would recommend it, although I don’t know if it will be one that I watch again for a little while. Once again, I found nothing wrong with the film but I can say I’ve seen it and I’m happy knowing it. It was a fun ride, but if I want that Evil Dead campiness then I’ll pop in Army of Darkness. 


-Rg Lovecraft

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