John A. Douglas

Living Passionately In the World of the Moving Image

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MOVIE REVIEW – Drag Me to Hell

June 14th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Movie Reviews


Directed by Sam Raimi; produced by Grant Curtis, Robert G. Tapert and Sam Raimi; written by Ivan Raimi and Sam Raimi; director of photography, Peter Deming; edited by Bob Murawski; production design by Steve Saklad; music by Christopher Young.
Christine Brown…………….Alison Lohman
Clay Dalton……………………….…Justin Long
Mrs. Ganush………………..…….Lorna Raver
Rham Jas……………………………..Dileep Rao
Mr. Jacks……………..………….David Paymer

I went to see “Drag Me to Hell” because I suspected the film was an attempt by Sam Raimi’s to go back to his cinematic roots where he directed such wonderful horror films as “The Evil Dead Parts 1 and 2,” “Army of Darkness” and “Darkman.” I loved those films but have been bored by Raimi’s work since he became involved with the Amazing Spider-man as the director of those pretentious films in which the spider-bitten superhero does battle with evil while whining about his personal life.

I was delighted to discover that Raimi did indeed return to the good old days with “Drag Me to Hell.” It’s a movie that is scary – sort of – and has some rather dark humor which was the signature of the earlier Raimi efforts.

The plot barely exists and serves only to carry one character or another to the next site where something wicked will occur. The principal character is Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), a bank employee who is on the verge of a promotion. She has a rival (Reggie Lee) for the position that is giving her problems but those difficulties are nothing compared to what she has to go through when she denies an old woman (Lorna Raver) an extension on a loan.

This old woman takes rejection hard and shows her dissatisfaction through use of various disgusting bodily fluids. I must say I could identify with the old lady as I have spent time in banks where a couple of quarts of vomit would have come in handy.

But I’m not supposed to be on the side of the customer from hell. I’m supposed to like Christine and I do. She is a nice young woman with slightly more intelligence than the damsels in distress in most modern horror films. I feel badly for her because besides having to deal with a major supernatural force unleashed by the old woman, she must keep her rival at the bank from getting the upper hand.

And if that isn’t enough, Christine has to go to dinner to meet her fiance’s (Justin Long) parents.

While all of this is happening Raimi tips his hat to William Friedkin’s “The Exorcist,” Tobe Hooper’s “Poltergeist” and his own “The Evil Dead.” These are always welcome moments for real film buffs that get to feel superior because they believe they are the only ones who get these references. I’m one of those I’m sorry to say. To this day I believe that Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” films were made specifically for me as no one but me could possible get all of Tarantino’s references to other films.

“Drag Me to Hell” is not as good as the previously mentioned horror films by Raimi but it is of high enough quality to be a good movie for a couple of mindless hours in the theater. My major disappointment is the ending which I can’t talk about and my major delight were some very witty scenes which I also can’t talk about lest I reduce their impact. Also I am glad to report that there are no scenes of rutting by any of the characters. Thanks for that, Sam.


One Comment so far ↓

  • Bill

    I felt the same way about Drag Me to Hell. The movie was a pale imitation of classic Sam Raimi fare. But it was a few notches above most movies these days.

    One thing I didn’t like was the casting of Justin Long as the boyfriend. Justin is a fantastic actor that I liked from his first movie, Galaxy Quest. Galaxy Quest is, as one major screenwriter stated, a “perfect movie.” Justin was perfect in it.

    But in Drag Me to Hell, Justin seemed miscast. I think it was his baby face. He was supposed to be a college professor. But he looked like a college STUDENT. He was good. But I never got past the fact that he seemed out of place.

    On a scale of 1-10, I think I’d give Drag Me to Hell a 6. Maybe a 7. It was much better than average. But it still wasn’t as gripping and scary as the initial buzz suggested it was.

    Another great review, John!

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