Drag Me to Hell
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Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is on her way to having it all: a devoted boyfriend (Justin Long), a hard-earned job promotion, and a bright future. But when she’s forced to make a tough decision that evicts an elderly woman from her house, Christine becomes the victim of an evil curse. Now she has only three days to dissuade a dark spirit from stealing her soul before she is dragged to hell for an eternity of unthinkable torment. Director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man and The Evil Dead Trilogy) returns to the horror genre with a vengeance in the film that critics rave is “the most crazy, fun and terrifying horror movie in years!” (Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly)
Touted as a return to Sam Raimi's horror-movie roots, Drag Me to Hell is indeed closer in spirit to the director's Evil Dead pictures than to his Spider-Man films. You got your gypsy gargoyles with rotted dentures, your upchucking corpses, your flexible two-way orifices--yes, Raimi's definitely back in the saddle. There's even a story: a sad loan officer (Alison Lohman) turns down the aforementioned denture-wearing gypsy for a loan extension, which leads to an evil curse and a date in hell in three days' time. A séance, an animal sacrifice, and a session in a storm-tossed graveyard will make the 72 hours pass very nervously, thank you, along with assorted scares. Justin Long plays Lohman's upper-class boyfriend, and Raimi fills the rest of the cast with some unusual and unfamiliar types. Along with the giddy horror-comedy that bursts out of the movie every 10 minutes or so, there's also an underlying mood of pity: Lohman's character is something of a hard-luck sad sack, who does enough wrong things to make her seem like a truly abject individual, well outside the heroic model of most multiplex offerings. (Lohman's own little-girl-lost quality adds to this feeling.) But don't let that get in the way of the fun-ride aspects of this goofy enterprise: Drag Me to Hell is a bunch of Z-movie gags wrapped in top-drawer production values. --Robert Horton
Stills from Drag Me to Hell (Click for larger image)
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The exorcism scene where the cat Christine sacrificed comes out of the mediums mouth was another moment of comedy. Most horror shows are terrible now a days and don't even keep my attention because not only are they not scary but they are also really stupid. This was one of those exceptions and is worth at least a rental.
STARRING: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao, David Paymer, Adriana Barraza, Chelcie Ross and Reggie Lee
WRITTEN BY: Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi
DIRECTED BY: Sam Raimi
Release Date: 29 May 2009
If the name Sam Raimi doesn't spell it out for you, then surely the title of the film will: Drag Me to Hell is exactly what you would expect it to be, folks.
The iconic director and writer of the Evil Dead trilogy (Raimi), returns to his beloved roots of the horror genre once again. Don't let its puny PG-13 rating turn you away; the film packs a punch that only true horror fans can take. If that is not enough for you, the DVD offers an alternate extended and unrated director's cut of the film.
Alison Lohman stars as Christine Brown. At first Christine seems to have everything going for her; a great job at the bank; a very sweet and understanding boyfriend; but then things start to go sour.
She overhears her boyfriend Clay (Justin Long) on the phone with his mother who is convinced that Christine may not be the right girl for him; regardless of the fact she has yet to meet Christine. Clay tries to defend her but in the end Christine fears that a part of him may wonder if his mother is right.
On top of that, she is very interested in a possible promotion at work but discovers she is evidently competing for the position with her new annoying co-worker, Stu (Reggie Lee).
There are some very well written scenes that we can all relate to in reference to working with irritating people. She and Stu are both doing their best to look good in front of their boss, Mr. Jacks (David Paymer) and when Christine agrees to pick him up a sub, Stu throws his order at her as well. He asks for his sandwich a certain way and when she returns with it, in front of Mr. Jacks, he tells her she got it wrong. We know that she didn't and she knows she didn't but Stu makes her look incompetent in front of Mr. Jacks. When Christine tries to defend herself with a mild argument, Stu makes a face and just tells her not to worry about it. It's a small and simple scene, but it was put together very well and leaves you wanting to punch Stu in the face.
When Christine asks Mr. Jacks about the promotion, he tells her that he is considering Stu because he can "make the tough decisions." He agrees to keep her in mind though, so she puts forth an effort to do her very best.
Then we meet Mrs. Gamush (Lorna Raver); what a hideous old woman indeed. She has disgusting false teeth that she likes to take out of her mouth and play with and absurdly gross fingernails in need of some immediate attention. You wouldn't even recognize her without the outstanding makeup they caked on her face.
Mrs. Gamush has defaulted on her mortgage loan twice. She is requesting a third extension. This is a big decision for Christine, so she takes it to Mr. Jacks.
He looks it over and simply tells her, "It's a tough decision... your call." Now the burden is on Christine's shoulders. She would hate to do this anyone; let alone this old woman, but she desperately needs that promotion.
She does all she can to try and help the old woman come up with a few different ideas to solve the problem, but none of them seem to work. Finally, she just tells her that the extension is out of the question; not a good idea.
Mrs. Gamush freaks out on her and causes a huge scene. She is not pleased, to say the least, and tells Christine in a ghastly, evil voice, "You shame me!" before she is escorted from the premises by security.
There's an awesome showdown sequence between the two gals, when Christine finds Mrs. Gamush waiting for her in the car garage. You get all of the classic slapstick and action-driven, detailed cinematography we got from Raimi's Spider-Man franchise and his Evil Dead movies. There are some very grotesque things that take place in the garage and throughout other parts of the film that are very appealing to a genuine horror fan; "Carnage Candy", if you will. At one point in their hellacious battle, the old woman places a curse on Christine.
Christine manages to escape and things start to get really messed up from there. She takes on some concern when she starts having disturbing visions and visits from hellish beings.
She consoles with Clay about it, but she can tell that only pushes them even farther apart. So what ever is she to do? Why, seek spiritual council of course.
Christine drags (no pun intended) Clay along to a psychic who informs her that a curse has in fact been placed upon her. She will be tormented by an evil spirit for three days before being drug off to burn in hell for all eternity.
I know the premise is a little over the top and if you've seen the film then you know that it's a tad ridiculous at times as well; but it's a fun movie. You laugh a lot, you're creeped out a great deal and you are constantly on the verge of losing your lunch; all essential elements in any great horror film.
Watching the film, it looks as though Sam Raimi literally did drag Alison Lohman to hell. He tortures this poor actress relentlessly. While she will no doubt receive zero remorse from Bruce Campbell (who was tormented by Raimi in all of the Evil Dead movies); she will certainly get it from me for what she's gone through here. She has the vilest things thrown on her face, inserted in her mouth, and clinging to her hair.
Everyone in the film plays their part well and you enjoy seeing the characters interact with each other. They are all a little off, and I think that's the point and also what makes it work so well; because the movie is out there, to say the least. Raimi's movies are a different breed all together and I really enjoy his twisted sense of humor.
What else is great about Sam Raimi's films (in addition to the fact that most of them have the legendary Bruce Campbell in them) is that he never limits himself to a single genre like so many directors do. He has some of the greatest and disgusting horrific comedies like Army of Darkness under his belt; he's made sensational thrillers like A Simple Plan and The Gift; he did the huge blockbuster Spider-Man movies; other action flicks like Dark Man and The Quick and the Dead and he even directed the dramatic baseball film For Love of the Game. Pretty much the only thing he hasn't done is a stop-animated musical with zombies; maybe that's next.
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