After the dreadful conclusion to the recent Spider-Man trilogy, many were quick to lose faith in director Sam Raimi. While the nuts and bolts action was adequate, the ‘comedy’ scenes fell flat on their face while the plot and direction where all over the place. Almost 10 years after his last foray into the horror genre, Raimi is now back to doing what he does best, and reminiscent of his classic breakthrough exploitation horror, 1981’s The Evil Dead, Drag Me To Hell is an edge-of-your-seat gory horror film you’ll want to see again the minute the closing credits roll.
Tirelessly working towards a promotion, told she must make the hard calls as one of her bank’s loan officers, Christine Brown (Lohman) takes the step to turn down the plea of an extension on the mortgage of an elderly customer. But with monstrous teeth, unerring finger nails and an outright creepy demur, perhaps Mrs. Ganush wasn’t the right lady to refuse a new payment plan. After an office stationary tussle, the gypsy lady places a curse on Christine, destined to be tortured for three days before the demon Lamia drags her body into hell for all enternity, leaving Christine the unenviable task of learning how to break the curse, and living with the consequences in the mean time.
While first up you might find the initial plot device of declining a mortgage extension more than a little clunky, from there on in, Drag Me To Hell is a showcase of how horror, with a little comedy thrown in, can be done right. With a tonne of blood and gore along the way, Drag Me To Hell is more than a little reminiscent of the aforementioned Evil Dead, not so much in terms of plot, but the style and atmosphere that sees Christine deal with unimaginable torment.
It is the characters though the really make the film. Mrs. Ganush is a truly demonic creature, and the perfect creation from Raimi. Likewise Alison Lohman is everything you need from a horror heroine, and pleasingly not the usual over dramatic teen you expect from the horror genre.
With moment moments of real horror and tension, yet still managing to be a lot of fun throughout, Drag Me To Hell is the thrill ride Sam Raimi should be making year-on-year, not another cash cow hapless Spider-Man film. Though the ending is a little disappointing, the film really comes alive when Mrs. Ganush is on screen, so don’t be surprised if come the end of the year, this was still the best horror had to offer in 2009.