Director Sam Raimi (Spider-Man trilogy, Evil Dead series) returns to the horror genre with Drag Me to Hell, an original tale of a young woman's desperate quest to break an evil curse.
There are only so many remakes, sequels and iterations of the Saw franchise that I can stomach. This year I was beginning to become disillusioned with the genre, accepting the fact that original horror movies were on the decline and that guts by the bucket-full (in 3D, no doubt) was the kind of popcorn fodder I would have to settle for. And then came Drag Me to Hell.
Any fan of the Evil Dead series should have known that Sam Raimi's return to his home in the horror field would be something special. And what a treat this is. To be fair, it's nothing too original, nor complicated or particularly thoughtful. But it's difficult to deny that this film is balls-out, guilt-free pleasure.
The plot is quite simple. Christine Brown, a loan officer in California, denies a mortgage extension to an elderly gypsy woman, who in turn places a deadly curse on her which destines her to be tormented by demons, and after three days, dragged to the fiery depths of hell. What follows is Christine's tumultuous struggle to break the curse laid upon her before she is quite literally swallowed up by the ground beneath her.
By the time Christine has a second encounter with the slimy gypsy in an underground car park, the tone of the film is firmly set in place. Being strangled by the gypsy woman in her car, Christine does whatever she can to free herself, including making hilariously inventive use of a stapler and ruler from her box of stationery. Crashing her car into a parked truck, the gypsy's false teeth come gushing out her mouth in glorious slow-motion. This is NOT a serious horror movie.
Alison Lohman's performance of Christine is pitch-perfect: lacing some of the more comical dialogue with just the right dose of irony, taking the demands of all the gruesome set-pieces in her stride, and delivering some of the best screams in recent memory. Every good scary movie needs a heroine who can really scream.
The film is by no means perfect. A fifteen-minute séance scene in the home stretch gets somewhat yawnsome, even though the action is accompanied by a comically villainous talking goat, and Justin Long's performance as Christine's very accommodating boyfriend is, well, boring.
The critics claimed that this is the scariest film to have come along in years. About that, I'm not so sure. When the film wants to make you jump, it will. But it isn't scary. But I don't think it was ever really meant to be. Where it doesn't scare, it shocks. But when it wants to make you laugh, it rarely fails. The abundance of blood, slime and bursting eyeballs is what helps to makes the film so enjoyable.
The film consistently pokes fun at its genre, with all the jumps and shocks scored with overly loud, screeching strings (as all jumps should be), a kitten that DOESN'T jump out of a cupboard (but instead meets a hilarious demise) and a knee-slapper of a twist ending that will have you gasping and groaning in delight in equal measure.
With Raimi's tongue firmly in cheek, the film stands out from the hundreds of miserable horrors these days that take themselves far too seriously. The scares are often cheap, but well done, and Raimi knows it. The gore is outrageously over-the-top, and it's all completely intentional. It's destined to be a classic for all the right reasons. It's exactly what a horror movie should be: fun.
We will publish your review of Drag Me to Hell  on DVD within a few days as long as it meets our guidelines.
None of your personal details will be passed on to any other third party.
EVIL DEAD director Sam Raimi takes the helm for this 'spook-a-blast' shocker about an ambitious L.A. loan officer who incurs the wrath of a malevolent gypsy by refusing to grant her an extension on her home loan. Determined to impress her boss and get a much-needed promotion at work, Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) lays down the law when mysterious Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver) literally comes begging for mercy at her feet. In retaliation for being publicly shamed, Mrs. Ganush places the dreaded curse of the Lamia on her unfortunate target, transforming Christine's life into a waking nightmare.
Sam Raimi co-writes and directs this supernatural horror. Ambitious young bank loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is approached by a mysterious old woman, Mrs Ganush (Lorna Raver), asking for an increase on her mortgage. In order to safeguard her promotion prospects and impress her boss, Christine denies her the loan. In retaliation, the old woman places a powerful curse on Christine, turning her life into a living hell. Haunted by an evil spirit and misunderstood by her sceptical boyfriend (Justin Long), she seeks the aid of psychic Rham Jas (Dileep Rao) to save her soul from eternal damnation. As evil forces close in, Christine must now face the unthinkable in order to break free of the curse...