Reviews

Drag Me To Hell

3

Uncork the claret – Raimi’s gone back to horror…

Sam Raimi must really hate going to the dentist. Every time someone opens his or her mouth in Drag Me To Hell – Raimi’s return to the kind of gleeful splatstick that made/sullied his name back in the ’80s – ugly things happen.

If it’s not something being vomited up (maggots, blood, embalming fluid, a cat), it’s something being rammed down (spade, ruler, an arm). To the fans, of course, such outgoing spatter and ingoing splatter will be a shiver-shudder treat: talk about oral pleasure.

 

 

Neither as (video) nasty, scary nor inventive as BBFC-bothering The Evil Dead but a whole lot of fun anyway, Drag Me To Hell delightedly rolls in clichés like a pup in a red patch of sunshine. It tells the hoary tale of Christine (Alison Lohman), a pretty young loan officer who evicts a gypsy (Lorna Raver) from her clapperboard home only for the cloudy-eyed crone to retaliate with an obligatory curse.

Christine has just three days to live – each of them haunted by a goat – before a fiery gateway will yawn open to claim her. We know this because it happened to some Mexican kid in the prologue.

The kind of movie that actively invites yet more clichés from those reviewing it (the director himself has called it a trip on a ghost train), Drag Me To Hell is a spine-tingling thrill ride; it’s Night Of The Demonmeets- Thinner on acid. It’s also classic Raimi: seesawing camera, wild shadowplay, crash zooms, guts, guffaws, and a soundtrack that squeaks and shrieks.

Lob in a couple of recreations of iconic images from Raimi’s own back catalogue (grasping hands, flyball eyeballs) and you’ve got the 49-year-old filmmaker casting off suit and tie to reveal his inner imp, eschewing both the screw-turn tension of J-horror and the callousness of torture porn for something more innocent and playful.

Gaudy, ghoulish, this particular creepshow plugs into the EC Comics of the ’50s, laughing uproariously in the face of death. Forgettable, but groovy while it lasts.

Jamie Graham

 

Verdict:

Sam Raimi returns to his roots to deliver a faintly fearsome frolic. Here’s hoping he revs up that fourth installment. And we don’t mean Spider-Man.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • BigAndyT

      Jun 6th 2009, 0:56

      1

      Utter toss i dont know if Raimi ment it to be stupid and cheesey but he delivered. A plot so obvious i didnt need to see the end of the movie!

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    • lukebmitchel

      Jun 6th 2009, 12:56

      4

      funn but scary too

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    • zakmccormack

      Jun 6th 2009, 22:09

      4

      Yes the plot was easy to guess but it was a good film, it had its moments when it was like "WTF are the makers of this film on" but overall it was quite scary and a decent movie

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    • jimmy101

      Jun 8th 2009, 14:55

      hey zakmccormack yu d****e bag!! We know your dad hates yu!!!

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    • jimmy101

      Jun 8th 2009, 14:57

      hi my name is tom penny my hair is like hitlers! i have no pubs! and no leg hair cause i shave them!

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    • jimmy101

      Jun 8th 2009, 14:57

      5

      :D

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    • paisleybhoy7

      Jun 12th 2009, 14:13

      4

      cheesy,corny, funny, predictable plenty of evil deadesque momments better than some of the c**p thats been on the big screens lately

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    • rice36

      Jun 12th 2009, 22:25

      5

      Great film with a brilliant twist with some true horror

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    • captainchod

      Jun 15th 2009, 14:44

      4

      Hugely entertaining, if only really scary with jump scares (and LOTS of them!), but funny as well. Shame the ending is so obvious, but overall highly recommended.

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    • phillhart

      Jun 15th 2009, 15:19

      2

      I would say that I had wasted 1 and a half hours of my life on this movie if it weren't for the talking goat which made me laugh out loud:) Not scary at all and oh so predictable. Not even good enough to be mentioned in the same breath as Evil Dead.

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    • Dominc

      Jun 20th 2009, 7:06

      4

      Great film very scary and some bits made me jump. Fantastic!!!!!!

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    • cockney01

      Jun 23rd 2009, 10:12

      4

      It's always a joy when iconic filmmakers rediscover their mojo and make the kind of movies that fans want to see. George A.Romero went back to basics with 'Diary of the Dead', admittedly with mixed results but at least there was an honesty to its execution, whilst Wes Craven and David Cronenberg have both contributed to movies that bear the trademarks of their talents. Sam Raimi has been a favourite with genre fans since 'The Evil Dead' first terrified and amused audiences at the dawn of the video nasty boom of the early eighties, and even though he has gone on to bigger blockbuster action with the 'Spiderman' franchise, he has frequently returned to more spooky fare with production credits on 'The Grudge', 'The Grudge 2', '30 Days of Night' and 'The Messengers'. With 'Drag Me to Hell', though, the inventive director has come full circle and made a movie that easily stands up against his original 'Evil Dead' trilogy. The story centres around Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), a loan officer in a bank who is a potential candidate for a promotion, if only she could convince her boss (David Paymer) that she can make tough decisions. She is visited at work by an elderly Hungarian gypsy, Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver), who is requesting a third extension on her mortgage. After trying to convince her boss to grant the extension, he leaves the decision in Christine's hands, as a way of testing her credentials. After telling Mrs. Ganush that the bank cannot extend her mortgage, the upset pensioner then gets on her knees and begs. Christine calls security to remove her from the building, but Mrs.Ganush takes this as an insult and tries to attack Christine, insisting that Christine has shamed her. When Christine leaves work that evening, she is attacked by Mrs. Ganush (in one of the best scenes of the movie), who takes a button from Christine's coat, places a curse on it and gives it back. Still traumatised, Christine and her boyfriend Clay (Justin Long) pay a visit to Rham Jas (Dileep Rao), a local spiritualist, who tells Christine she has been cursed by a demon called The Lamia, who will torment her for three days before coming to claim her soul and take her to Hell. So there's your plot. The first thing to say about this movie is how refreshing it is to see this sort of shocker made by somebody who really knows their stuff. The gore is kept to a minimum, but that's because there's no need for it. Raimi has always been able to shock audiences without resorting to gratuitous tactics - 'The Evil Dead' may have had bucketloads of goo, but as those movies went on there was less and less of it, forcing the viewer to invest more in the story. Although the comparisons to the 'Evil Dead' movies are obvious, as well as the shocks and the 'Three Stooges'-esque slapstick, it is the overall style that Raimi has developed over the years that shines through here, and other earlier works such as 'Darkman' and 'The Quick and the Dead' would prove to be useful reference points - the quick editing, the camera angles, narrative flow and cinematic scope that are present in both of those movies is here, as is Raimi's 'shaky-cam' style of filming. It's also a very loud movie with loads of bangs crashes and subliminal noises that add to the overall atmosphere. As with almost all of Raimi's movies, the characters are strong and likeable - even Mrs. Ganush to start with - and this familiarity with type adds to the action. Lorna Raver's depiction of the scorned gypsy is the very definition of creepy and if there was ever a category for Best Villain at the Oscars then Mrs. Ganush should win hands down. Without trying to give anything away, even in the later scenes when her physical being isn't doing much, she still exudes an air of ghoulish menace. Alison Lohman is a pretty strong lead, and seems to have a good chemistry with Justin Long, even if he comes across as a bit wet. Christine's rival for the promotion at the bank, Stu (ReggieLee), is also a great character who was used well and came across as pretty detestable. As a whole, 'DMTH' is an absolute triumph of a movie. There are a few slight issues - some dodgy CGI effects, one or two lapses in the script - but no movie is perfect, and as far as this movie is concerned, it's about as close as you're going to get from one of the genres most consistently inventive talents. The only thing that was missing was an appearance from a certain Mr. Campbell, maybe in the role of Milos, the medium's assistant. Considering how the scene involving him plays out, it would have been a great cameo. Overall, though, this is an excercise from a master in how to shock and have fun in equal measure, and although Raimi made the fatal error of making his first movie a classic against which everything he does is measured, this is certainly the best movie he has made since 1982.

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    • jem0013

      Jul 25th 2009, 20:59

      Dont waste your time with this and go and watch the original version "Night of the Demon"

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    • jacoblost48

      Nov 28th 2009, 18:42

      3

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    • jacoblost48

      Nov 28th 2009, 18:42

      4

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    • Ali1748

      Dec 4th 2009, 21:58

      5

      Great fun .

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    • ChristoLaurent

      Jan 9th 2010, 10:59

      2

      Load of old toss really but strangely enjoyable.

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    • rxqueen2410

      Mar 31st 2010, 13:42

      2

      Boring, not much seemed to happen, don't see what all the fuss is about, wouldn't watch it again. The only decent thing about it was Justin Long but then again he's even good in He's Just Not That Into You!

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    • xHattyx

      Jul 14th 2010, 21:25

      1

      Disappointing, the advertising made it look much scarier than it was. Utterly boring, the storyline had potential but how they didn't build tension o leave anything to the imagination ruined it. Not watching again.

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