Movie: "Drag Me To Hell"
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Writing credits: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi
Plot: A young woman trying to impress her boss cruelly denies an elderly gypsy woman a loan that causes her to lose her home. The gypsy curses her, summoning a demon to torment her--the woman learns that she has three days to get rid of the demon before she is pulled to the depths of Hell.
Review: After the pile of shit that was Spider-Man 3 I figured that Sam Raimi's film career (as far as I was concerned anyway) was effectively over. Fortunately Drag Me to Hell proved me very wrong on that count, as it was one of the most enjoyable horror flicks I've seen in recent years. It was completely off my radar, I knew nothing about it going in, so it was a pleasant surprise for me.
The movie's plot is predictable enough, and you can see the ending coming from a country mile, but these facts don't make seeing the payoff any less enjoyable. In fact, they probably only make it more so, because it's as if Raimi is giving the oldschool fans in his audience a knowing wink before he drops the hammer. The movie mixes a good amount of eerie creepy atmosphere building and cheap "loud thing jumping out at you" scares so you never quite know what you're going to get, and it's probably the most serious horror movie he's ever done. There's really only one scene that has the cheesy "Evil Dead" style humor, where a character is possessed during a seance. The movie is still plenty of fun though, with lots of over-the-top gross-out moments that made the audience shriek and gag in disgust. Raimi fans know he has always loved to torture his actors, and it's very clear that he made life very difficult for them during this shoot.
Believe me, even though this movie is only PG-13, Raimi makes up for the lack of gore by finding plenty of other ways to completely nauseate the audience, the most frequent offender being the old gypsy woman. I don't know where Raimi found the actress who played her, but my god is she a gem in that "oh my god that's so foul it's making me ill but I can't take my eyes off it" kind of way. Just when you think you've seen it all, she'll do something even nastier the next time you see her. Her performance is iconic and absolutely unforgettable. The rest of the cast isn't so impressive--oh, they're not bad or anything, but they're sort of generic horror movie characters you don't really give a shit about, which is fine, because that's exactly the kind of movie this is.
Perhaps some people won't find this very scary, but I found this movie to be creepier than most horror movies I've seen, and I even have a friend who went to see it by himself, ended up being the only one in the theater (it was the first showing on a weekday), and had to leave about halfway because he got too creeped out.
I don't want to say too much more because I don't want to give too much away (oh, you'll guess the plot easy enough, but there are moments you should be surprised by), so I will just say that if you're a fan of the Evil Dead series I think you'll enjoy this. It doesn't have the same slapstick humor and nigh invincibly badass hero, but it does feel like the same kind of fun in a lot of ways.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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