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Overall Rating

Awesome: 23.26%
Worth A Look: 23.26%
Pretty Bad: 15.12%
Total Crap: 8.14%

7 reviews, 44 user ratings

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Drag Me to Hell
[] Buy posters from this movie
by brianorndorf

"Sam Raimi and his recharged creative batteries"
5 stars

After the 1993 release of “Army of Darkness,” fans of director Sam Raimi clamored for a fourth entry in his adored “Evil Dead” series of horror bonanzas. “Drag Me to Hell” is the filmmaker’s first meaty scare effort since he sauntered off to make the blockbuster “Spider-Man” trilogy, but it might as well be subtitled “The Evil Dead Film You’ve Been Waiting For.” A wicked, highly stylized fright flick, “Drag” brings out the good-humored Sam Raimi we all know and love, allowing him a devilish playground to reawaken his rascally spirit sufficiently mummified by the big-league, big-buck “Spider-Man” features. Raimi hasn’t lost his touch in the years since he last galloped into screwball scares, and “Drag” is an awesome reminder that when unchained, he can still deliver the finest, wettest, slyest entertainment around.

A loan officer at a Los Angeles bank, Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is eager to nab an open assistant manager position, competing against a brown-nosing rookie (Reggie Lee) for the honor. Christine faces a crucial professional test in Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver), an unsightly Gypsy woman unable to pay her mortgage, literally begging Christine for a second chance. When refused, Ganush attacks and places a deadly curse on Christine that brings three days of shadowy torment from the Lamia, a horned creature who toys mercilessly with its victims. On a race to break the curse before it rips her apart, Christine turns to seer Rham Jas (Dileep Rao) for guidance and boyfriend Clay (Justin Long) for support as she desperately searches for a way to free herself from unspeakable doom.

“Drag Me to Hell” commences with the long forgotten 1980’s Universal Studios logo, setting a delicious retro mood for what’s about to unfold. It’s a reminder of a time before torture porn nonsense or endless mind-numbing DTV scare product clogged up vital artistic arteries. “Drag” floats audiences back to an era when horror was all about providing a good, clean carnival ride of fright. And who better to conduct this nuanced symphony of the macabre than one of the genre’s finest technicians.

Written by Raimi (with brother Ivan), “Drag Me to Hell” provides only a thin membrane of a plot, setting up Christine’s workplace ambition and demonic dilemma swiftly which leaves a wide open space for the director to dream up ways to torment our heroine. The narrative minimalism is quite deceiving, with the writing forgoing spurts of melodrama to amplify the conflict quickly, yet preserving a wonderfully effective character arc for Christine as she battles to outmaneuver tireless, devious satanic forces while maintaining her relationship with Clay and juggle humiliating office politics -- all of it outstandingly portrayed by Lohman, who nimbly succumbs to a classic Raimi horror beatdown while retaining much of her prized whispery charisma.

Once Christine’s inexorable curse is set in motion, “Drag” transforms into a swirling sensory explosion. Working with every studio accountant’s favorite rating, PG-13, “Drag” doesn’t appear too interested in lavish bloodshed. Instead the picture sweats to create a mood of unrelenting unease, frequently through raucous cues that tinker with the art of the sonic shock. Now, this isn’t some lazy director napping on the cheap scare button. This is Raimi, and he’s a maestro with this aesthetic, swelling “Drag” with a sophisticated cacophony of 360 degree demonic agony. It’s beautifully and exhaustively designed by the production.

As for the rest of the nightmare? No worries. Raimi is armed to the teeth with creepy crawly sequences aimed to freak out those who suffer easily from entomophobia. “Drag” also embarks on some rather fearless detours into animal sacrifice and gobs of goopy puke and spit humor, which adds a welcome element of laughs to this heightened phantasmagoria of misery. “Drag” slips into Looney Tunes mode every now and again (complete with anvil shenanigans), spotlighting Raimi’s “Evil Dead” roots, nicely shaped and reimagined by “Drag” to knock Christine around with gorgeous, meticulous shot compositions and sumptuous exploitation of bustling sound effects. Huffing the same fumes of violent absurdity, “Drag” is an ideal pacifier for those still itching for the return of Ash.

“Drag” is loud, boisterous entertainment, eager to please animated audience members just looking surf the gruesome particulars of the Lamia curse, while peppering in plenty of Raimi-isms for the hardcore fans. “Drag Me to Hell” is an efficient, exceptional shocker that serves up bucketfuls of jolts and icks with eye-bulging enthusiasm. It’s honestly the best horror film I’ve seen in ages, and it’s a thrill to watch Raimi furiously twirl the knobs on a genre he excels in.

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originally posted: 05/29/09 14:16:36
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 South By Southwest Film Festival For more in the 2009 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2009 Festival de Cannes For more in the 2009 Festival de Cannes series, click here.

User Comments

9/14/17 morris campbell good return 2 horror 4 Raimi 4 stars
10/01/14 KingNeutron Pretty well done, worth a look especially if you have a jumpy girl along :) 4 stars
10/10/11 The Big D Blatant rip-off of Stephen King's book Thinner, but it has an effective ending. 3 stars
10/12/10 Karamashi A purely entertaining horror film that doesn't take itself too seriously. 4 stars
8/10/10 Chad Dillon Cooper For those too chicken to see the Evil Dead series. 2 stars
6/01/10 User Name I can't recall the last time I had so much fun in a theater. 3 stars
11/08/09 art RATED S FOR SICK! 1 stars
10/22/09 Dave I couldn't get past how truly awful the leads were. Horrible acting/ 2 stars
10/19/09 Jenkins Yeah was fairly well bored by this effort 2 stars
9/14/09 M Horror movies the way they used to be!! 5 stars
9/05/09 Marcia Lartz Hardcore dark horror-flick ending a real downer after most of film is more comic. 3 stars
9/04/09 Pat Skerret Loved the parts where Christine does wet farts, but the rest is totally gross! 2 stars
8/31/09 Mac As fun as a gaggle of gooses, despite poor editing 4 stars
8/20/09 scotty Awesome! Able to do gross out with out buckets of gore and blood. Take note Eli Roth 5 stars
8/16/09 Flounder I'm not sure why all the naysayers. I thought this was the best horror film in ages 5 stars
7/14/09 aliceinwonderland Seen it all before but ok 3 stars
7/06/09 art IT IS SICK! 1 stars
6/23/09 Luisa Predictable but still fun...ghost scenes got repetitive 4 stars
6/20/09 ahnold It is an established director trying to make a student movie 3 stars
6/17/09 Steve Michaud Welcome back to the horror genre, Mr. Raimi! You've been missed! 4 stars
6/16/09 Sully 1.I knew hell was under L.A. 2.HA! Give that cursd button to Dick Cheney 3 stars
6/13/09 Ole Man Bourbon I was pleased. 5 stars
6/12/09 matt pretty damn awesome. great ending even though i saw it coming a mile away... 5 stars
6/11/09 Ming one of the best horror film of the year....good suspense and plot 4 stars
6/08/09 Mike the extreme! I was hoping she'd try The Curse of the White Man From Town. 2 stars
6/06/09 Devin G Drag me to hell was cliched, predictable and stupid. 1 stars
6/06/09 James unbellievably poor and predictable story, who hangs an anvil in their shed 1 stars
6/05/09 Man Out 6 Bucks Sub-prime loan officer vs. Satanic goat. Which is more evil? 4 stars
6/05/09 karamashi Just fun. Yes its not evil dead but still. 4 stars
6/04/09 malcolm not perfect but a fun-ass ride 4 stars
6/03/09 Bobby If you love groce body excrements, you'll love this movie. That's about all there was 3 stars
6/02/09 Joe Mama Love the Evil Dead series, but this was lame ass 2 stars
6/02/09 Sheri Terrible, terrible movie...and I love sam! 1 stars
6/02/09 evil goat 224 FUCK U IM A EVIL GOAT BITCH 5 stars
6/01/09 Eric Cinema's most epic nosebleed would be MODERN PROBLEMS. You should do better research. 4 stars
6/01/09 Alex Scared the pants of us all who saw it! 5 stars
6/01/09 Mike A blast, very well-directed by Raimi, built like a funhouse ride. 4 stars
6/01/09 steve owen so bad i gave the ticket seller a cursed button and begged for me 9 dollars back 1 stars
5/31/09 JM Synth Better than most recent horror fare, but I hoped for more 3 stars
5/31/09 Michelle I enjoyed it. It wasn't the best horror I've seen, but it was worth the $ I paid to see it 4 stars
5/31/09 freddy krueger awesome movie. very suspenseful, very fun. highly recommended 5 stars
5/31/09 Anne Better if centered on killing evil, curse wielding gypsies 1 stars
5/30/09 DK Qaulity entertainment 4 stars
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  29-May-2009 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Oct-2009


  DVD: 13-Oct-2009

[trailer] Trailer

Directed by
  Sam Raimi

Written by
  Sam Raimi
  Ivan Raimi

  Alison Lohman
  Justin Long
  Lorna Raver
  Jessica Lucas
  David Paymer
  Dileep Rao
  Reggie Lee

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