Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Love Raimi's Quirky Humor, So Go On And Drag Me To Hell

A good Horror movie can be pulse pounding, heart clenching, seat gripping and laugh inducing? It can be if it's written and directed by guru Sam Raimi. "Drag Me To Hell" is a stand out among the Hollywood remake, rehash and retread machine. Christine (Alison Lohman) who is a loan officer at Wilshire Pacific Bank, and is looking to seal the assistant manager position, is told by the manager Jim Jacks (David Paymer) that it it now between her and the new guy Stu Rubin (Reggie Lee) she is also told to make the 'hard' decisions in her job at the local bank to seal the promotion. An elderly and weathered gypsy woman, Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver) is the unfortunate customer that just happens to come to Christine for help at the time she needs to prove herself. Christine tells Mrs. Ganush that the bank can not help her again, that she has gotten several extensions already and a third is out of the question. Thinking that Christine seems like a nice enough young lady, Mrs. Ganush gets on her knees to beg her for help, she is a proud woman and doing this shames her, Christine frightened that Mr. Jacks will see this she calls for security. Mrs. Ganush feeling that this act shames her, places a Lamia curse upon Christine. In three days she will be dragged into the depths of hell by an unspeakable evil force.
What follows is a suspenseful thriller, as Christine is beaten up by Mrs. Ganush, the scenes of the scuffle between the two in the parking garage will have you on the edge of your seat, it is both gripping and funny. As minutes pass Christine is stalked by the shadow of an evil spirit, than the spirit knocks her around, the curse will only take three days, a short span of time in which the victim is haunted by the Lamia. This three days will showcase events that are scary, disgusting and at times quite humorous. Christine's boyfriend, professor Clay Dalton (Justin Long) at first isn't sure what he believes, his love for Christine overcomes his doubts. When Christine goes to a medium, Rham Jas (Dileep Rao) he at first is so taken aback by what he sees that he tells Christine that she has to go. Clay is willing to do whatever he can, and when a blood sacrifice doesn't work, Rham Jas suggests Christine get ten thousand dollars for a seance, Clay pays Jas because he knows Christine can't.
The scenes during the seance are funny even though they are scary, the goat that is going to be used as a sacrifice ends up turning against the people and turning one of them into a vessel for the Lamia. Quickly running out of time, Christine must rage war against an unseen enemy, one that can strike at any moment. The twist that comes at the end is obvious, its like a sign is posted in every scene leading up to the end, this is usually a problem but here Sam and Ivan Raimi play our idea of whats going to happen against us. Rham Jas tells Christine that the Lamia isn't beaten but only driven back, that in the morning it will still come for her unless she makes a gift of the cursed item, we all believe we know who will get the item, and he does deserve it. Raimi never fails to get our pulse going, then he lightens things up by making us laugh only to turn around again and scare the hell out of us. Raimi's other trademarks of horror direction are also present here, there is lots of bodily fluids and slimy locations, tons of creepy-crawlies and the inevitable invasive close-ups and spiraling, zooming camera work. It's was also a very new and refreshing idea to have a strong female lead character in a horror movie that didn't just stand around and scream.
I give Drag Me To Hell a 3 and on my avoidance scale a 0, this is the type of movie that all horror fans should line up to see, all the remakes will be around for awhile, until they are remade again. Go and see this fresh new look by the master in his field. With it's competent blend of thrills and laughs Drag Me To Hell is one of the most solidly entertaining films of the summer by the director who has become famous for his boldness.
Drag Me To Hell is rated PG-13 for Sequences of Horror Violence, Terror, Disturbing Images and Language
Running time is 1 hr. 39 mins.

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