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A 2009 horror film directed by Sam Raimi.

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HELL, This Movie is a Lot of Fun! ...(The Review QueenBflix Picked On! LOL)

  • May 30, 2009
Rating:
+4

First of All, for a "dissenting" opinion and a review of this review, please check out my friend QUEENBflix's review. This film never met her expectations and she wanted to see that Raimi has grown. Her review is a great comparison to Raimi's past work, may give you an idea of what you may NOT like about this film, that Raimi has faltered in her expectations, as well as a rebuttal to this review. However, if you just want to read details as to how this film plays out, may have seen the film for what it is (which is basically a dumbed-down darkly satiric film and doesn't pretend to be anything else) and are just in for pure fun in a horror  film with demonic overtones--Read on.

Known to mainstream audiences as the director of the blockbuster franchise "Spider-Man", but loved by cult horror junkies as the director of the "Evil Dead" franchise; arguably the cheesiest, funniest, most delightful films in the history of splatter horror cinema. Sam Raimi returns to his roots since his absence from the horror genre in the 90‘s, and "Drag Me to Hell" is a film that plays upon the audiences' obsession with the supernatural, demonic curses, and the occult. No one can play on our obsession with the occult better than Sam Raimi--No one. "DRAG ME TO HELL" is his welcome return to the horror genre.

A farmer girl turned loaning officer named Christine (Alison Lohman) is determined to win a promotion within the bank branch she works in. Her Boss wants her to make the tough decisions, and so when she is asked by a creepy, unkempt old gypsy (Lorna Raver) to extend the payments to the mortgage to her home, Christine refuses. Angered and humiliated, the old crone stalks Christine and ends up cursing her--so who would believe such things? Christine just wants to get her life on track with her boyfriend, Clay (Justin Long) but now, mysterious things begin to happen. Christine begins to have nightmares, and experiences hallucinations. Now time is slowly ticking away for Christine, as the curse of an invisible demon is hot on her trail and it would drag her soul to the netherworld after three days.

"Drag Me To Hell" is classic Sam Raimi, the film is astonishingly so familiar that the film feels and plays like a throwback from Raimi's past. It is one gorgeously silly, goofy elegy to gothic schmaltz and it never pretends to be anything else. The film is a bit "bombastic" in its style but Raimi makes everything work. Demonic possessions, ghouls, shadowy demons, frenzied slapstick humor, cheeky comedy, flying witches, malevolent unseen entities that threaten to kill mere mortals--all the successful elements that made the "Evil Dead" successful are omnipresent in the film. Even the invisible fast moving first person view chase sequence is compressed into the film. All the charm and cheesy fun is repackaged into this film, Hell, it is so familiar that it unbelievably feels like a homage to Raimi's past work in horror.

However, the bucket-loads of fake blood and the intentional gratuitous scenes of gore in "Evil Dead" are curiously gone from the film. "Drag Me To Hell" has great production values, and obviously the film has a larger budget than "Evil Dead", with some use of CGI, and fortunately, it may be as hilarious as the "Evil Dead" series. I have heard rumors that there are two cuts of the film, a PG-13 version and another that is R-rated. This film may or may not be a ‘cleaner' version, and after watching the film, I do think there may be a more gruesome cut since the film has several plot missteps, but this flaw doesn't necessarily hamper the film too much. It may have been toned down on the blood and gore to appease PG-13 viewers, Raimi manages to keep the film at an even pace, all the while maintaining his horror sensibilities.

Raimi maintaining his sensibilities and style is a very good thing. The film with its very simple set ups, basic plot devices, would be very mediocre it wasn't for Raimi. His flair for nauseating scene gags, darkly comedic dialogue, precise timing and delivery, then the film would be very ordinary. Honestly, the film's screenplay offers nothing new to the horror genre, and does nothing to reinvent the horror genre. There is a séance scene, a kitty and a cat named Hecuba, dramatic crashes of lightning, a graveyard exhumation with organ riffs; all these formulas have been done numerous times, but no one does better than Sam Raimi. The stapled eyelid, toothless biting, puking loads of blood, projectile secretion gags, clonks and bumps--the film is so hilariously awesome in the way it makes everything work. Mrs. Ganush's barfs are so hilariously nasty that it may be one of the film's highlights.

The cast plays their respective roles with a lot of zest and gusto. Alison Lohman goes from charming to petrified as soon as she gets ‘cursed'. It should also be noted that her character displayed some nice doses of comedic bloodlust, and the mighty puke of blood. Lorna Daver is the personification of raw nasty "toothless" indignation, her Mrs. Ganush character is hilariously creepy, for an old gypsy. Daver almost stole the show from Lohman, her scenes may be the film's major selling point. The overused boyfriend is played by Justin Long, and while his character may sometimes feel unnecessary, he did what he was supposed to do, and that is to ease the film's non-humorous horror sequences. Newcomer Dileep Rao plays the overmatched psychic who defines the details of curse and its unforgiving nature, and special thanks would have to be given to the goat--no farm animals were harmed during filming.

The film isn't your high-minded indictment of this country's mortgage system, and it is so predictable; you can see the twist coming from the beginning of the last act. Yet, despite its many plot missteps, the film manages to sidestep its many plot fumbles by maintaining its energy, humor and charm. Fans are privy to classic Sam Raimi and be on the look out for a yellow Oldsmobile and for a fly that flies around Christine that ends up on the camera lens. The film has all the ingredients of a Sam Raimi B-movie supernatural hookey that revels in its own absurdity. It delivers the goods--it never pretends that it is anything else. I'm just happy to see him return to form, after his absolute misfire, Spider-man 3. So the next time an old gypsy barfs and spits bile onto the desk of a loaning officer, give her what she wants.

Sam Raimi is Back.

Recommended! [4- Stars]

Poster alison lohman movie poster Mrs. Ganush Dileep rao toothless attack

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October 21, 2010
Yeah I remember Queen and you going at it on that other site, great review WP.
 
June 13, 2009
Interesting new review title. :)
June 13, 2009
it's ok to make fun of your own review :)
June 15, 2009
Hell, yeah. I've got a review that I'm working on where I totally kick the shit out of myself. Should be interesting to see what you and Trashie think. ;)
June 15, 2009
can hardly wait...give me holler. I'll be back, I wanted to go fishing but the weather's not cooperating...
June 15, 2009
So, you're getting rainy weather there too? That makes me feel a little better since we've had nothing but rain for the past four days. I never would have guessed you were the fisherman-type. LOL. Do you spear them with shurikens or just use the standard equipment?
June 15, 2009
Yeh. it's a hella cloudy and muggy here. I went Saturday afternoon, but I wanted to visit another spot. Yeh, I fish on occasion, and I use an antique fishing pole. LOL! Don't matter, as long as you can catch fish with it. I don't think the game warden would take kindly to shurikens and spears LMAO.
June 15, 2009
No? What about a katana or a Hindu chakram? Although, the latter might be a little hard to retrive! LOL.
June 15, 2009
you crazy, count! No way are any of my katanas going to touch water...well, I take that back there is one, I used to chop something before LOL! Hindu chakram...let's give that one a shot. LOL I gotta go Scottie says i should do something interesting...would you believe he reviewed a softcore film here? he just deleted it too...
June 15, 2009
Damn it, I didn't read it yet!
 
June 06, 2009
Uh oh.... you're gonna go to hell with the revised title above -- I don't envy the resulting backlash! Good review though....especially with today's economic problems centering around the mortage crisis, it's only appropriate to have a horror film with a loan officer... 
June 06, 2009
he-heh. when someone writes a direct rebuttal to your own review, the best way is to make fun of your own review. I'm a good sport, and I'm sure Karen can take it. LMAO
June 06, 2009
Hope so, good luck, W. I found "The Host" is on instant Queue in Netflix; I may check that out today.
June 06, 2009
scottie, if the quality's bad. I can lend it to you--I do own the dvd.
 
June 02, 2009
I thoroughly enjoyed this film from a purely entertainment perspective! It was clever, funny, gross and (at times) scary! You have to have a certain mentality to enjoy this type of film. Call it what you like, but I've got it... and I enjoyed this version of Raimi's sense of "horror" as much as I enjoyed Army of Darkness!!!
June 02, 2009
Thanks, bro. Make sure you check out QueenBFlix's review of this review right here LOL!
You already saw the film so you can make your own decision. :) Army of Darkness rules!!
 
May 31, 2009
Good review -- well, did she get her mortgage extended at the end of the film or not? I like happy endings.
May 31, 2009
Raimi happy endings? well, the climax here wasn't funny as with "Army of Darkness" but it wasn't happy either. Scottie, check out "Army of Darkness" instead.
May 31, 2009
She died pretty early on, Scotty.
May 31, 2009
Sux. I may rent AOD then!
June 01, 2009
I saw Terminator tonight. Not bad....
June 02, 2009
Yeah, with very few exceptions I hate happy endings in horror films . I may or may not see this but I enjoyed you review, Woo.
June 06, 2009
I dislike happy endings in horror, sci-fi and crime dramas.
 
May 31, 2009
Our opinions couldn't be more different if we did it on purpose. I was extrememly disappointed. At best it was average and Sam proved my worst fears that he doesn't really understand horror (here he seems to confuse it with VERY LOUD NOISES) and that although he's a genius as a director he should never be allowed to write his own screenplays as he did both here and in the bloated SPIDERMAN 3. I laughed once and that was at a joke that was simply a double barreled rehash of the eyeball gag from EVIL DEAD 2--and it wasn't a laugh so much as a snort. We got so many rip-offs of other films (excuse me, Homages) that it became annoying. There was the Poltergeist swimming pool scene and of course the whole denouement of the film was straight out of CURSE OF THE DEMON right up to and including the train station. I could see it coming as soon as I noticed that the coin and the button where in envelops that were identical! Everything that was special about EVIL DEAD 2--its zany kinetic originality and unpredictability was replaced by warmed over noisy stuff that I've seen before. If this film had been done by someone (anyone) else I might give it 4 stars, but coming from Sam Raimi its a 2 star film. P.S. Nobody else in the audience I was with seemed to be laughing either BUT OF COURSE IT WAS SO LOUD WHO COULD TELL?
May 31, 2009
Karen, I can see where you're coming from, as I've said in the review that it had a "bombastic" style, and that the twist (coin and button) was too predictable. In a way, I do feel that it had that sort of 'rehash' feel because of the gags, but I kind'a liked that he stayed within the confines that made his films great before (again, excuse me homages) and I was willing to forgive the fact that he may be ripping himself off--I guess it must've helped a bit that I REALLY tempered my expectations and that I liked his past work. I think his real solid fans may be a bit disappointed as you were, and I guess I was just happy to see him go back to his roots after Spidey 3 and his involvement with the "Grudge" American remakes. I think he meant this as a homage, may be a cheap way to stage a comeback, but at least he did. I thought the movie was a lot fun and not pretentious, it wanted to get back to the Raimi basics. I will have to re-watch the first two Evil Deads, but I always end up putting in "Army of Darkness" LOL
May 31, 2009
Trashie, we can only hope! It's Raimi and we have just got to see it! It does have that "bombastic" style, that it felt like a B-movie on steroids but I had fun with it. Let me know what you think, Dave says Raimi may have sold out a bit but I think he can afford to at this stage. I just remembered just how much "Darkman" ruled! I have got to see that movie again.
May 31, 2009
It wasn't cheap Woop. A lot of money was spent on this film, a lot of money was spent on SPIDERMAN 3. He was giving it everything he had here and there just wasn't anything there. You have to know where he came from in order to know where he's coming from now--he was never really a horror fan, he just sort of fell into it. This is the best he can do.
May 31, 2009
Karen, I meant it may be a cheap way to stage a comeback--as with Raimi "homaging" himself. I do agree, after Spidey 3, Raimi's skills as writer may be in doubt. I like Raimi, but I never was too knowledgeable as to who exactly he was. Unfortunately, even if this fim was a bit lacking on some things, it is still better than a lot of Hollywood horror garbage. How'd you feel about "Darkman"?
May 31, 2009
I liked it at the time, but when I look back on it I see the same weaknesses, and that film had 4 extra writers called in to fix up the screenplay. They also called in John Sayles but Raimi turned him down. Too bad, he could have helped a lot. Knowing about Raimi really does give me a different view of his work. For instance I know he really hated horror movies as a kid. The thing that scared him the most was blood. That's why you always get geysers of blood in his movies. It may seem comical to most people but I think its pretty scary stuff somewhere in the back of Sam's mind.
May 31, 2009
That is mighty ironic, a hater of horror films directed a horror flick. Yes, knowing the filmmaker gives you more of an edge, scared of blood? I didn't know that--he overloaded with the blood puke in this film. LOL
May 31, 2009
Ironic indeed. The way it happened was the 3 of them (Sam, Bruce, and Rob Tapert) assessed the situation and decided the best way to get into making films would be to make something for drive-ins and what played most at drive-ins were horror movies. So they decided that was the way to go. Sam Raimi becoming a horrormeister was a pure accident. The only true horror fan in their group was Scott Spiegel who grew up reading Famous Monsters and all that. Sam was A Spiderman fanboy.
May 31, 2009
wow! That is great info, Karen. Now that you've mentioned it, I want to re-visit "Curse of the Demon". I think I may have seen it with my mom before but I'm not sure. At first look, I thought this film was going to be a rethread on "Thinner", I guess that's why I liked it more than you did.
May 31, 2009
Oh you have GOT to see it! Its one of the real classics to come out of the era! I haven't seen THINNER and the idea that DRAG ME TO HELL was a retread of it doesn't sound like a big selling point to me.
May 31, 2009
Thinner is a movie adapted from a Stephen King novel, a judge crosses a gypsy family and was cursed to become thinner and thinner--it was good the way the lead actor looked worst each time you saw him..I liked Thinner more than this one. It had emotions and a lot of creepy mood.
May 31, 2009
See. Its not all that great when you stop and think about it. It average a 3.5 on amazon with a few 1 star ratings in there. Speaking of which, I'm going toget really bombed. I already got 1 negative vote. I wonder if they bothered to read it first.
May 31, 2009
I did too in amazon! someone is just going around giving neggies under that movie, I expect a lot of neggies when reviewing a mainstream theatrical release. A lot of folks know who it is, but he keeps on changing his name in ammie. That's the thing with ammie these days, their system gives neggies credibiltiy while positives no cred at all. I barely give neggies, I only do so when it sounds like the review is written by someone who hasn't seen the movie. I'll drop by your ammie profile in a bit and see if I can give you a positive and if it would stick.
 
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More Drag Me to Hell reviews
review by . January 17, 2012
I am a huge horror movie fan. I have been ever since I was little, but ever since all of these brand new horror flicks have come out, I have yet to see one that I can give five stars to. So let me start with the good on this movie, which honestly wasn't very much. The acting was pretty good, the picture was good, and the characters were somwhat interesting. The storyline was also interesting and they did throw in a good air of suspense and horror.     Now for the bad; there was …
review by . April 15, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Its this a Horror or Comedy
When I first saw the trailer for Drag me to Hell I was super excited as I've been (for a long while) looking for a horror movie to truly scare the pants off me. Ironically the last movie that really scared me (to the point i couldnt sleep for a month....LITERALLY) was the first Evil Dead.      Enter Christine a Lone Officer at a Bank who is competing for a position as Assistant Manager. One day an elderly woman comes in for an extention on her mortgage. Although it was …
review by . April 29, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
***1/2 out of ****     I'm sure I'm not within the minority when I say that Sam Raimi needed to make a movie like "Drag Me to Hell". Since Raimi is the man who directed all three films in the successful and cult-treasured "Evil Dead" trilogy, his roots are with horror films. In the 2000's, he chose to distance himself when he made the "Spider Man" films, which I have no problem with, given how good the first two films in that series were. "Drag Me to Hell" released at just the …
review by . July 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
What Pompted You to write a Review?   I am writing this review to let people know that I was not happy about this movie. I was very excited to see it when it came out and when I saw it, I said to myself, "Wow, what a complete waste of time"        How was the Plot, Acting, Direction?   The plot was good, they had a good idea that was poorly executed. Some of the acting was good but the lead female character was a huge disappointment. I feel …
review by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
What Prompted You to write a Review?   I want to keep people away from this movie.     How was the Plot, Acting, Direction?   This movie was pathetic.  I love Justin Long, but this is probably my least favorite movie with him in it.  The acting was terrible as was the plot.     Were You ENTERTAINED?   I was able to sit through the entire movie without turning it off, so I was somewhat entertained.  By the end, though, …
review by . May 31, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
DRAG ME TO HELL The Minority Opinion
The reviews are in and Sam Raimi's DRAG ME TO HELL seems to be a resounding success--with everyone but me that is. I wanted so desperately to like this film because I fell in love with Raimi's work about 15 minutes into EVIL DEAD 2 which was my first experience with his goofy, super-kinetic style and like almost every horror fan I've been eagerly/anxiously awaiting his return to the genre. Unfortunately DRAG ME TO HELL simply isn't the film I was waiting for. I can understand …
Quick Tip by . July 02, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I really liked the cinematography of this film. It had a very surreal feel, sometimes almost cartoonish like something you would see in a show like "Tales from the Cryptkeeper." It made the movie unique, and so I liked it.
review by . March 04, 2010
Ever have that feeling that for the last ten years horror films have been repetitious series of clichés and horrific actors taking absurd premises far too seriously? When was the last time you actually had fun watching a horror movie without it trying to work your lunch out of your stomach? Yeah, I'm pretty tired of modern horror films to. Luckily, a veteran of the genre has returned to teach us once more how to have fun with our horror once more. This man is of course, the one and only Sam Raimi! …
review by . October 20, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
This was an experience that was both welcoming and disheartening. Any of Raimi's old tricks are back, but some of his new tricks are present too, much to my chagrin. A good friend informed me that the first fifteen minutes of the film are "epic", a word that is not to be used lightly. In this, I strongly disagree. While some of the later scenes were very intense and quite fun, the first fifteen minutes were largely a waste of film.   Some of Raimi's old tricks include: the return of the …
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Touted as a return to Sam Raimi's horror-movie roots, Drag Me to Hell is indeed closer in spirit to the director's Evil Dead pictures than to his Spider-Man films. You got your gypsy gargoyles with rotted dentures, your upchucking corpses, your flexible two-way orifices--yes, Raimi's definitely back in the saddle. There's even a story: a sad loan officer (Alison Lohman) turns down the aforementioned denture-wearing gypsy for a loan extension, which leads to an evil curse and a date in hell in three days' time. A séance, an animal sacrifice, and a session in a storm-tossed graveyard will make the 72 hours pass very nervously, thank you, along with assorted scares. Justin Long plays Lohman's upper-class boyfriend, and Raimi fills the rest of the cast with some unusual and unfamiliar types. Along with the giddy horror-comedy that bursts out of the movie every 10 minutes or so, there's also an underlying mood of pity: Lohman's character is something of a hard-luck sad sack, who does enough wrong things to make her seem like a truly abject individual, well outside the heroic model of most multiplex offerings. (Lohman's own little-girl-lost quality adds to this feeling.) But don't let that get in the way of the fun-ride aspects of this goofy enterprise: Drag Me to Hell is a bunch of Z-movie gags wrapped in top-drawer production values.--Robert Horton


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Details

Director: Sam Raimi
Genre: Horror
Release Date: May 29, 2009
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Screen Writer: Ivan Raimi, Sam Raimi
DVD Release Date: October 13, 2009
Runtime: 99 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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