Any movie that kills a ten year old boy in the first five minutes is okay in my book.
Let me clarify; Any horror movie written and directed by Sam Raimi and not taking itself too seriously is my idea of a good time had by all.
The movie begins in 1969 in Pasadena, California with a family bringing their possessed boy to a medium claiming that for the past three days, he has been seeing and hearing strange things. In the medium’s greatest efforts to extract the demon from the boy, he is instead, Dragged To Hell. I might say in a very extreme fashion, that is campy and awesome at the same time. Raimi is back!
Ok, he never really went anywhere. He has just been busy getting filthy rich from the Spiderman franchise. Here he devotes his entire collection of cool effects and ridiculous long pauses for dialogue to making a very entertaining horror film that I feel we have been needing for a long time.
With every bit of body fluid you can think of being thrown at you and flies annoying your eyes, to having to say good bye to the cutest little kitty, he leaves nothing to the imagination in the horror genre.
Alison Lohman stars as Christine Brown, a loan officer trying to get the assistant manager position in the bank she works in and is forced to make a tough decision to impress her boss. Her decision gets an old woman evicted from her home of thirty years. This woman, Mrs. Ganush played by Lorna Raver, puts a curse on Christine that we begin to see the effects of immediately.
That is not the last of Mrs. Ganush though. Throughout the 99 minutes of terrorizing sounds and mouth-covering gore, she makes appearances like a bad dream that won’t stop, and I don’t want it to.
Without an appearance by Raimi’s right hand man, and greatest legend, Bruce Campbell, I was a bit disappointed, but fear not, he did not forget his roots. He used the car from Evil Dead and every movie there after, giving it a very eerie feeling as it belonged to Mrs. Ganush. He also used so many classic Raimi directorial moves like the spinning camera seen so much in Evil Dead and Army of Darkness. He also had the ability to make a handkerchief scary. He used a lot of tricks that worked so well for Army of Darkness and Evil Dead 1 and 2, such as: things that scare you, and then make you laugh at the pure embarrassment that you just jumped at a handkerchief .
This movie makes fun of the horror genre without pissing anyone off. In fact, more horror movies should take note, because there was not one eye rolling in the theater. There was plenty of jumps and screams and tension though. Don’t go in thinking this will be a laugh fest, but it does have some great campy moments that you can’t help but crack up at and you’re meant to. For instance, a demon possessing a goat is a funny thing.
There were legitimate scary points as well. I always say that something is scarier when you can’t see it. The demon is haunting and torturing Christine for three days and you never see the demon but you get a good look at shadows on walls and close ups of eyes, and paired with ear screeching sounds; you will jump and hope that you never piss off an old woman like that.
Since we knew from the opening credits that the curse only takes three days, I was wondering about the pacing of this film. There were moments that I found myself thinking, “Will they waste time developing more story or too quickly jump into the demonizing parts of the film.” It was neither. There was great character development and background. We knew right away that Christine is an animal-loving vegetarian and a bit of a push over. Much of the information about the demon is learned through a psychic played by Dileep Rao, named Rham Jas. She goes to him frequently through out the film and teaches us about the demon and all things evil.
From a person who generally thinks that most horror movies are “cheesy” and a bit of a predictable snore, I thought that this one was great. It was so entertaining. And being a big Sam Raimi and particularly Army of Darkness fan, this really ranks up there with Army of Darkness and all of the employees of S-Mart. This is a must see, for fans of Raimi, of horror or just movies that make them forget their own life for an hour and a half.
I give Evil Dead, I mean, Drag Me To Hell 5 “Bruce Campbell head shots” out of 5.(In case Raimi forgot what he looks like.)
by Angela Davis