Directed by: Sam Raimi
Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver
Christine Brown is a relatively well-to-do loan officer residing in L.A. with her college professor boyfriend, Clay, who’s one day faced with the decision of either evicting an ailing old gypsy woman from her home, or granting her yet another extension on her loan. Given an upcoming promotion opportunity, Christine decides to deny the woman, Mrs. Ganush, her third extension in order to please her boss and essentially win him over in this regard. After being thoroughly embarrassed by this state of affairs, Mrs. Ganush retaliates by placing a supernatural curse upon Christine’s head, effectively turning her life as she knows it into a living hell. With the help of a local fortune teller’s expertise and her boyfriend’s financial support, Christine will try her best to rid herself of the curse before it’s too late.
From start to finish, I was simply blown away by Sam Raimi’s triumphant return to the genre that he should’ve stuck with all along, despite my penchant for compulsively watching/enjoying the Spider Man films. Since his last foray into the gross-out horror scene began with his infamous Evil Dead series, brilliant in its own right, I’ve found that many a faithful fan has been concerned with the film’s PG-13 rating. I’m here to tell you though that for a PG-13 horror film, Drag Me to Hell pulls out all the stops. From gratuitous phlegm spewing to eyeballs literally popping out of an assailant’s head just to forcefully slam into their victim’s face, this is Raimi at his finest. In fact, fans who are very familiar with his previous work will be able to pinpoint many an element similar to those present within a majority of the Evil Dead trilogy (i.e. demons, demons, and more demons), further supporting my love for his approach to this type of filmmaking.
I actually found that the writing, despite a borderline minimal amount of complexity, was very, very solid. The script may be deemed quite formulaic by some, but I felt that given a wholly original and just plain smart concept more than makes up for it. The film’s pacing is also terrific, providing us with an ample amount of heart-pounding suspense and scares, pretty much all of which made me jump despite their predictability. Throw in some obligatory campy, Raimi-style humor and you have one of the most enjoyable and well-written horror films of the past decade.
Drag Me to Hell‘s cast is also quite superb, with Lorna Raver excellently portraying the frighteningly disgusting Mrs. Ganush and Dileep Rao thoroughly impressing me as fortune teller Rham Jas. As for Lohman in the leading role, she’s just fine, and at points I felt her character is sort of reminiscent of Ash from the Evil Dead series, seeing as how both characters were unwillingly presented with their impending fates and had no idea (at first) how to put an end to their torment. This in mind, her portrayal of Christine comes off as a bit cheesy here and there despite the film’s intentions, thanks to some pretty silly dialogue. However, she is utterly gorgeous and like I said, her efforts are indeed noteworthy, as are those of her onscreen counterpart Justin Long and the rest of the supporting cast.
So to conclude, Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell is the writer/director’s truly fantastic return to form. It provides us with an excellent blend of camp, suspense, and scares to satisfy both hardcore fans and casual theatergoers alike, accompanied by one of the best endings I’ve seen in years. If you’re looking for something to quench your thirst for a magnificent horror film, then look no further; Drag Me to Hell is easily the best horror film of the decade, as well as one of 2009’s best thus far.