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drag me to hell

Drag Me To Hell
Sam Raimi
Cast: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao, David Paymer, Adriana Barraza, Chelcie Ross, Reggie Lee

Joanne Ross

June 2, 2009


Sam Raimi of Spider Man fame returns to his horror beginnings in Drag Me to Hell.  As the man whose work in The Evil Dead trilogy helped establish his reputation as an exceptional producer/writer/director, Raimi brings his singular style, and humor, to his latest effort about a woman’s frantic attempt to lift a curse before time runs out that will quite literally consign her to the fiery depths of Hell.
If there is one lesson to be learned from Drag Me to Hell, it’s this – beware of wizened old gypsy women with discolored prosthetic eyeballs and rotting dentures oozing phlegm and pus. And if one should accidentally cross your path, don’t make her angry. Ambitious loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) has her eye on the Assistant Manager position at her bank. Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver) an elderly woman living on a fixed income hopes to avoid foreclosure, and homelessness, by requesting an extension on her loan.  For Christine, it’s a tough call. Morals and ethics clash with the possibility of a promotion. In the end, career advancement considerations take precedence, and Christine denies Mrs. Ganush’s request. Enraged, the surprisingly vigorous senior citizen assaults Christine then pronounces a curse upon her -- the demonic Lamia will torment her for three days before dragging her to Hell.
The scares are plenty, but not the terror; however, you hardly notice or even care. Though many of those scares have a build, some occur unexpectedly. The one thing they have in common is the element of shock and surprise. You can’t predict what Raimi is going to pull out of his bag of tricks; the only certainty is that it’s always unique. A crucial element of Drag Me to Hell is suspense. Raimi skillfully ratchets up the tension creating a palpable mood of anxiety and apprehension.
Unintentional laughter is a common audience response to horror films.  In Raimi’s work, – and Drag Me to Hell is no exception – the laughs are intentional and perverse, part of his distinctive approach to tweaking and poking fun at the well-worn genre. Though dismembered and sticky body parts are very much in evidence, bombarding the audience with blood and gore isn’t his goal or specialty. Serving up a full throttle, gross-out fun fest is.
In Drag Me to Hell, Raimi proves yet again he is an inventive director in firm command of his material. His deft orchestration of the writing, directing, editing, and sound gives rise to a first class horror feature with high production values, the best yet of 2009.*-JR


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