Title: Drag Me To Hell
Directed by: Sam Raimi (Spider Man)
Starring: Justin Long (Serious Moonlight, Live Free or Die Hard ) and Alison Lohman (Beowulf)
Scores: Technical: 95, Story: 85, Acting: 80, Overall: 87
With all of the hype in the teen-aged horror community surrounding the Twilight series in recent months, it was easy to question how Ghost House Pictures’ new PG-13 release, Drag Me To Hell, would compare. Also being directed and written by Sam Raimi, famously remembered for the smash hit Spiderman trilogy starring Toby Maguire and the revolutionary ‘80s Evil Dead series, and veering away from the slasher sub-genre that has always dominated the box office, Drag Me To Hell had high expectations to fill in order to be remembered as its own film.
The movie focuses on bank loan officer Christine Brown’s (played by Alison Lohman of White Oleander and Flicka) determination to break free from her childhood of being raised on a farm and making it in LA. She tries to impress her boss, Mr. Jacks (played by David Paymer), and beat out her new co-worker Stu for the assistant manager position. To prove that she can make tough decisions, Christine, who goes against her better judgment, denies a third extension on Sylvia Ganush’s mortgage.
Ganush, an elderly gypsy, gets down on her knees to beg Christine for another extension, and feels she is shamed when Christine refuses and instead calls for the bank’s security. That night, Ganush attacks Christine in her car after she leaves work, removes a button from her jacket and uses it to place a curse on her. Later, when Christine’s boyfriend Clay Dalton (played by Justin Long of He’s Just Not That Into You), starts to take her home when they pass a fortune teller’s store. Christine insists they go in, and the teller tells her that she has a dark spirit upon her. The next day, the teller also tells her that she will be tormented for three days before a powerful demon drags her to hell to burn for eternity.
While Drag Me To Hell, like most horror movies, isn’t totally realistic, it succeeded in showing the powerful effects religion and trying to beat a pre-determined fate has on people. Christine, a well-rounded woman destined to become successful in the beginning of the movie, tried multiple things later on to appease the demon in order to live. For example, she killed her cat; held a séance, during which she tried to sacrifice a goat; and tried to pass her fate to someone else by giving them her cursed coat button.
Raimi also lived up to his previous famed works by including outrageous and unpredictable special effects. For example, during the car attack scene, Christine staples Ganush’s eye shut, who then in turn bites her chin. There were great effects involving animals during the séance scene, including when the demon enters the goat and starts to attack Christine, and when one of the assistants regurgitates her cat.
With all of its gross-out and special effect scenes, Drag Me To Hell is reminiscent of Raimi’s earlier work, notably the Evil Dead series, and is a great way to introduce new fans, or reacquaint old fans, with the director. Rated PG-13 for sequences of horror violence, terror, disturbing images and language, Drag Me To Hell will appease horror fans of all ages.
Written by: Karen Benardello