Friday, May 29, 2009

Drag Me to Hell

Film: Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Dir: Sam Raimi
Rating: ***** out of 5 stars

For me, this is the cinematic equivalent of the second coming of Christ. I don't care if that offends you, I really mean it. This is Sam Raimi's epic return to horror and it more than delivers. It is scary, funny, outrageous, and dripping with Raimi's distinctive style. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better time at the theater this year.

Loan officer Christine Brown (Allison Lohman) is up for a promotion to assistant manager. After her boss informs her that she must "make the tough decisions" to get ahead, Christine denies an elderly gypsy woman an extension on her mortgage. She suffers the consequence when the woman places a curse upon her, whereby a vicious demon haunts the victim and ultimately drags them to Hell. With the help of her boyfriend, a medium, and a seer, Christine tries everything possible to dissuade the demon from taking her soul.

Drag Me to Hell will make you jump, scream, laugh, and possibly gag. This was exactly Raimi's intention, as the director loves the elicit a response from his audience. His self-proclaimed "spook-a-blast" has definitely achieved that goal. It is scary, hilarious, unique, and so damn fun. Do not be deceived by its PG-13 rating - this movie really pushes the envelope with gore and gross stuff. It is completely over-the-top in the best possible way.

I loved Lohman in the lead role. Originally, Ellen Page was cast in this role but dropped out. I am so glad she did because Lohman nails the sweet innocence of Christine. Her progression into desperation and borderline madness is perfect. Page would have been far too angsty and tough for the part. Lohman also takes a couple Bruce Campbell-style beatings. She is a real trooper. The rest of the cast are great, as well, even Justin Long who I usually am not a fan of.

So many moments in this movie recalled the Evil Dead films - even some direct references and recycled sound FX! For a Raimi fan like me, this is pure heaven. Sam is back in original form here with canted camera angles, twisted humor, and brilliant use of sound. He also recruited his friends - the greatest FX team in the business KNB - to handle the practical effects. As always, they did a great job. The only downside of this movie is it makes me literally ache for Evil Dead 4. If you have any doubts that another Evil Dead film could be as good as its predecessors, Drag will completely shatter them.

If you have not seen this film yet, GO! NOW! It is imperative that you see it in theaters with other people because it is one hell of a film-going experience. At each viewing I attended, the audience's screams, laughter, and stomping roared louder than anything I've ever heard. Believe me when I tell you this film is 100% unadulterated fun.


Hitmandj said...

Very fun in theater experience, definitely the type you have to catch with a crowd of people. great horror film, and surprisingly doesn't miss anything going with PG-13, good review.