Justin does Drag Me To Hell

“Here kitty, kitty…”

The Scoop: 2009 PG-13, directed by Sam Raimi and starring Alison Lohman, Justin Long and Dileep Rao

Tagline: Christine Brown has a good job, a great boyfriend, and a bright future. But in three days, she’s going to hell.

Summary Capsule: Girl ticks off a gypsy by denying a loan, receives one-way trip to hell as a result.  A cautionary tale for bankers everywhere.

Justin’s Rating: I simply cannot believe this was PG-13… but I say that in a good way!

Justin’s Review: Man, I’ve missed Sam Raimi.  I mean, I know he’s been pretty successful with them “motion pictures” lately, what with A Simple Plan and the Spider-Man series, but those aren’t the movies that made me develop a man-crush on the dude.  No, those would be back in the days where he was more free to be crazy and freewheeling with Evil Dead and Darkman and the like.  I missed his extreme camera angles, his almost boyish glee in BOO! moments, his unique signature trademarks like wacky POVs and screaming demon ladies.

So when I finally settled down to watch Drag Me To Hell, I let out a breath of relief that I didn’t even know I was holding in.  Raimi might have gone to the pro’s, but he’s still got that sandlot league nature just bursting to get out.

Drag Me To Hell gathered a lot of mixed reviews – some loved it, but others took the PG-13 ghost tale with a heaping dose of “meh” and “lame”.  I guess in today’s age, when you either need to be super graphic or play host to a cheerleading squad full of undead Japanese girls to appeal to horror fans, Sam Raimi’s old school idea of scary movies have little traction.  Bah.  What do these kids know these days?  Back in my time, horror movie stars hacked off limbs and replaced them with lawn trimming appliances without blinking an eye!  Realism, no sirree bob.  We didn’t want none of that.

Instead of tormenting Bruce Campbell with various forms of amusing nastiness, Raimi sets his sights on Alison Lohman, whose role in Flicka probably didn’t prepare her for a non-stop cavalcade of stunt horrors that Raimi keeps in his pocket at all times.  She plays whispy-voiced Christine, who’s caught between a rock and a hard place as her banker boss tells her to play hardball with clients just as an emotionally unstable gypsy woman comes through the front door.  I just assumed with that luck, the next three characters she turned down for a loan were a mob boss, Darth Vader and Chuck Norris.

Because every movie gypsy exists primarily to levy curses on anyone and everyone who displeases them – heck, wouldn’t you if you had that power? – Christine finds herself unfairly hexed, but not before she and the gypsy lady throw down in a parking garage.

Let us remember that Sam Raimi is a huge fan of Three Stooges-inspired combat, and thus this might be one of the best fight woman-vs.-woman fight scenes we’ve witness since Kill Bill vol. 1.  Suffice to say that a stapler, concrete brick, moving car, earring and hair pulling is involved, and it’s all hilariously awesome.

Surviving the attack, Christine gradually learns the details of the curse, the worst being that she has to co-star with Justin Long.  Justin Long in a horror movie is just begging the forces of evil to pull out the stops, I’m sorry.  Jeepers Creepers?  Herbie: Fully Loaded?  Alvin and the Chipmunks? It’s like he’s spitting in Satan’s eye, and daring the big guy to do something about it.

Other than being hitched with Long, Christine has to endure three days of jump scares before the demons of Hell can get off their butts and start doing the whole “dragging” bit.  You’d think that heading to Hell would be bad enough in and of itself, so why three days of leadup?  Nothing’s going to be more terrifying than Hell itself, so in comparison, those three days are like one final Caribbean vacation of bliss, no matter how many times you send a spooky wind through her house or make her have nightmares from which she can’t wake.

As a minister, I couldn’t help but think, “If you want to avoid hell, why not give your life to Jesus Chr… oh, you’re sacrificing your kitty instead.  Well.  Okay.  That’s certainly a way to go too.”  The whole affair quickly spins out of control as the spirits use every opportunity possible to freak Christine out, who logically responds with kitty-killing and demonic goat possession.

In fact, Christine is really the only weak link in this tale – she’s a little too breathless to believe in as a hero, but too nice to be okay with this severe of a punishment for, really, a slight lapse in empathy.  Still, she has her moments, so I won’t be too harsh on her.

Returning to his Evil Dead 2 roots, Sam Raimi brings us along for a rollercoaster ride of a film that ricochets between horror and humor, scares and gags, that makes the long wait since Army of Darkness so worth it.  He might not have the chops of “serious” horror filmmakers, but those guys are a dime a dozen – and Raimi sits all by himself.

It looks scary, but they're actually just singing the first lines of "Oklahoma!"

Intermission!

  • Oh yeah, demons are attacking me, so heading off to a private cabin in the woods sounds like a GREAT IDEA, thank you!
  • Mmm… fly in the mouth
  • Raimi sure does love his flying eyeballs, doesn’t he?
  • The laughing house from Evil Dead 2 makes a cameo
  • Hehe… possessed goat
  • The script was written after Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi completed Army of Darkness, but Sam pursued other projects before returning to this
  • No Bruce Campbell cameo 😦
  • The director makes a cameo as a spirit during the exorcism scene.
  • Raimi’s 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88, also known as the Classic, appears in the movie as Sylvia Ganush’s car.
  • The license plate of Sylvia Ganush’s car is 99951. When it is turned upside-down, it reads IS666.

Groovy Quotes

Christine Brown: It’s a harvest cake.

Christine Brown: Here kitty, kitty…

Christine: I’m gonna get some!

Milos: [possessed by the Lamia] I don’t want your cat, you dirty pork queen!

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7 Comments

  1. Pingback: In Which Syp Tells You To Go Elsewhere « Bio Break

  2. My husband and I just watched this last week, and got hung up on one thing that occurred to us about an hour after watching…

    Who hangs an anvil in their shed? And why didn’t that seem weird to us when we were actually watching the movie?!!

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