Movie: "Drag Me To Hell"
Year: 2009
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Horror
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Writing credits: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 6/25/2009

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.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeWhole
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

Jun 25th, 2009, 10:12 PM
I don't usually like horror movies, but I loved this one. So did just about everyone I know.
Jun 25th, 2009, 10:53 PM
First movie in years to actually scare me. Also made me laugh a lot. I actually had nightmares after this movie. I absolutely loved it. Sam Raimi has finally got his shit together again.
Jason's a Furry! Run!
Jun 26th, 2009, 12:58 AM
Loved this movie, had a great time watching it. It's like you said, a good mix of creepy moments, jump scares, and stuff so disgusting I was writhing in my seat. It was a solid time at the movies, and it makes me sad that so few people actually saw this movie (I saw it in theaters a week after it came out, and except for my group and two other people it was empty. Disgraceful).
Amicable Herculean
Jun 26th, 2009, 02:56 AM
A PG-13 horror movie that's GOOD? This I gotta see.
Fookin' up planets!
Jun 26th, 2009, 05:26 AM
This is by far the "Perfect" horror film.
Jun 26th, 2009, 12:52 PM
Saw the trailer. Want to see the movie.
Retardedly Handsome
Jun 26th, 2009, 02:01 PM
I had been avoiding PG-13 "horror" movies over the past few years after being burned by many of them, The haunting of molly hartley comes to mind. I initially wrote this one off also till I heard a couple of my favorite movie reviewers give it some respect so I thought I'd check it out and it is worth it. From start to finish it is entertaining and creepy. My girlfriend left some nice nail marks on my arm that took about a week to heal. Don't want to ruin anything about, One question though, is the gypsys car the same as Ash's car?
Jason's a Furry! Run!
Jun 26th, 2009, 03:56 PM
Icculus: Yes, the car is the same. That's Sam Raimi's car, and he puts it in every movie that he makes.
Vigilante All-Star
Jun 26th, 2009, 11:09 PM
That movie was awesome.
Jun 27th, 2009, 04:52 PM
So what you guys are saying is you are a bunch of little girls? Seriously.. A horror movie that is actually frightning? Is there such a thing? Don't get me wrong, some are gross and have things that are difficult to look at, some are filled with cheap "boo!" moments that might make you jump.. but scary? I think not.

I'm not commenting on this particular flim btw, just the genere in general.

Personally horror movies = comedy for me, even the uber-gross-out SAW films. The problem is that the victims are so poorly defined and stupid that you are rooting for the villian. It's hard to get scare when you WANT something bad to happen to the teenagers at the sleepover camp. ;-)
Jack Burton, Me!
Jun 28th, 2009, 12:06 AM
I had goosebumps in some scenes, although the best part was the fact that the theater I was in is haunted from the death of a man who had a heart attack some years ago. I saw the film twice and laughed as much as the first time. The commercials and advertising didn't do the film justice; it made it seem as if it was your run of the mill average horror movie and unfortunately a ton of people went to it thinking this and walked out saying it was so bad it made them laugh. This one is going to become a cult classic. I proudly hang the poster up in my room
Jun 28th, 2009, 02:04 AM
Glad to see Sam making something that isn't a superhero movie.
Jul 2nd, 2009, 06:13 PM
Definately worth going and seeing.It's not Raimi's best but it's pretty damn close, if you ask me.Coming from a hardcore horror fan I have seen a lot of scary movies,I went and seen this during the day with people in the theatre and I got scared.
Jul 5th, 2009, 09:25 PM
An excellent film that regrettably few went to see. Hopefully DVD will see it's turn around.
The Mighty One
Jul 6th, 2009, 10:40 PM
I kinda think that people are overrating this one just cause it isn't Saw/Hostel and cause it compares favorably to Spider-Man 3. The plotting was shoddy, the characters weren't really used correctly (the Gypsy was made the villain rather than letting us get scared of the curse (which would have been alright if they didn't keep the curse ending instead of writing a Gypsy ending), it wasn't that scary (too "funny" to be scary), and the ending sucks ass.

It's a decent movie, but not a savior to horror or to Raimi.
Forum Virgin
Jul 12th, 2009, 11:53 PM
...it was one of the most enjoyable horror flicks I've seen in recent years.

In this day and age, when practically all horror movies are either half-assed slasher remakes, torture porn, or creepy kid PG-13 Asian imports that scare mainly with the movie equivalent of jumping out from a corner and going "BOO!", that's not exactly saying much.

Here's hoping that Diablo Cody's journey into horror keeps the reanimated corpse of horror plodding for another couple months before your usual Hollywood horror movie fare drags it down into the grave again.