Monday, June 15, 2009

Drag Me To Hell

If you see the trailer for Drag Me To Hell there will be a mention of director Sam Raimi's previous films--little films you may have heard of: Spiderman, Spiderman II and Spiderman III. While that might get some people into the theatre--that doesn't do it for me. I'm old school when it comes to Raimi. That means one thing and one thing only--Sam Raimi has made a horror film again.

I first encountered Raimi when my dad took me and best friend Scott to see The Evil Dead in 1981. I was 12. I loved everything about that movie. Two more Evil Deads followed along with other genre stuff before Raimi started to branch out of that world--I loved the smart, tense, well-acted and underrated A Simple Plan in 1998. Then Peter Parker came knocking and I figured Raimi would never come back to the genre he was first known in.

Drag Me To Hell, a fun, charged up with visual hi-jinks horror film, is Raimi at his core. He may have adapted to the big budget world of CGI effects and green screens but Raimi and horror is a near perfect match. The man just understands how to scare, jolt, shock us while also making us laugh uncomfortably. His love of horror tactics blended with comedy comes pouring off the screen.

Drag Me To Hell's story involves a loan officer named Christine (Alison Lohman) who refuses a loan extension to an elderly gypsy-esque woman. Bad mistake. Always give a loan to a one eyed gypsy. Always. A curse is dished out and this curse is real. Old gypsies don't screw around, especially when it comes to their mortgages. Christine fights for her life/soul as some nasty demons come to kill her or to literally drag her to hell.

The script is sometimes silly, the acting has its bad moments (Lohman, her boyfriend is played by Justin Long and he should stick to his best work: the mac commercials as he's awful in this) but those aren't negative things. That's kind of a trademark to Raimi's self-penned (or with brother Ivan) low budget horror movies. This only adds to the film's charms as it is a thrill ride from start to finish.

Raimi certainly worked on his oral fixations with this one. Time after time some kind of substance was either vomited or ingested into or out of a character's mouth. If ten minutes went by without this happening I'd be surprised. Some of the objects were more gross than others--embalming liquid, bugs/worms being the worst and handkerchiefs being the least repugnant.

Drag Me To Hell is a great return to his roots for director Sam Raimi. He's probably off getting ready for Spiderman IV and while that might excite the masses, us old school Raimi fans wish he's just make more horror films. And I'm not talking about
the awful, awful, awful, awful idea to remake The Evil Dead with new cast and with more money--somebody please stop the madness! Bruce Campbell is Ash. No one else. But that's another post for another time.

1 comment:

Vern Snackwell said...

there sure are a lot of nods to the evil dead films in drag me to hell, including the car, the lamia's voice when it enters the medium, and the way that the graveyard scene and other bits are shot.

i sure love this movie. i would buy it a ring if i could. there have been big audience reactions each time i've seen it. day one blu-ray purchase for me.

p.s. you saw the evil dead in 1981? you lucky bastard.