So yesterday, burdened by boredom and a Regal Cinema gift card from February, I decided to see a movie in the afternoon before driving off to band practice. I had the choice of seeing two movies: Up and Drag Me To Hell. Seeing as Up would probably leave me in a general good mood, rendering my ability to produce lyrics about Vikings raiding villages and psychopathic serial killers, I opted to see the latter of the two movies, Sam Raimi’s Drag Me To Hell. Always in the mood for a horror movie, I purchased a ticket and seated myself in the theater, not exactly sure what I was in for. I had seen trailers for the film that made it look well worth watching, but trailers crafted to do just that, get you interested in seeing the film. The name alone was also a big draw for me. Drag Me To Hell. The title states everything you need to know about the film, while evoking such visceral and brutal imagery with just four common words. Labeled as Sam Raimi’s triumphant return to horror, Drag Me To Hell had all the elements that attract me to the movie theater.
I went into the theater torn on how I felt about the movie. One part of me was excited at the thought a good new horror film for a change, but there was another part of me that wasn’t sure if Raimi still had what it took to create another memorable classic piece in horror history. One hour and forty minutes later, all of my fears and doubts were laid to rest. To put it simply, Drag Me To Hell is fucking awesome. Everything about it is well worth watching from the plot and characters to the outstanding score and sound effects. Raimi has found the perfect blend of his trademark campy, yet grotesque style and many “jump out of your seat” horror moments to create a film that is ridiculous, even hilarious in some places, yet still able to scare you off and well past the edge of your seat.
Drag Me To Hell tells the story of bank loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) who, after denying an old gypsy woman a third extension on her house loan, is cursed to be tormented for three days and have her soul dragged to Hell. During her misery filled three days, Alison and boyfriend Dr. Clay Dalton (Justin Long), a psychologist, visit a psychic (Dileep Rao) and try everything they can to rid Alison of the curse, including a small animal sacrifice and seeing a powerful Medium. Written by director Sam Raimi and his brother, Ivan Raimi, Drag Me To Hell is a classic horror fan’s veritable dream, filled with a little something for every horror fan from it’s well scripted plot, to the special effects to the amazing ending. I have to say that truly, this is the best ending for a horror movie I have seen in a very long time.
As impressed by Drag Me To Hell as I am, nothing is without faults. A few scenes felt as though they were longer and edited for time so much that they were almost disjointed. On the other side, there were one or two scenes I felt that dragged on far too long and could have been cut down instead of other scenes being reduced to scattered sentences. Another problem was Alison Lohman’s delivery of lines. At random times throughout the film, I felt as though she was just reading lines off of a piece of paper instead of properly trying to act. Although these blamable lines do not make up most of the dialogue, whenever one would creep out of the speakers, it was far too obvious.
Poorly performed lines aside, one of the most outstanding parts of Drag Me To Hell was the audio. The sound effects were blended so well into the film, they became another creature waiting to scare the audience or add to their amassing suspense. The score augmented the anxiety and ramped up the eeriness throughout the film. Using mostly violins, a common gypsy instrument, loosely tied the score into the storyline and gave the film an unsettling backdrop to the horrors that unveiled.
In the end, Drag Me To Hell for me was just as advertised, Sam Raimi’s triumphant return to horror. A fantastic romp through the visionary’s still fruitful mind that was as startling as it was fantastic. It has the feel of a classic 80s horror film seen through the eyes of modern movie technology. The storyline is highly original and refreshing in this age of over the top gore-porn and sub par remakes. This is one of the few movies for me right after seeing it in the theater, I couldn’t wait to own it. I highly recommend it for anyone who is a fan of Sam Raimi, has a deep rooted love of horror films or just wants to have a good scare at the movies this summer.