Friday, May 29, 2009

Drag Me To Hell

Drag Me to Hell is a return to the classic horror genre for fanboy favourite Sam Raimi who made his name with The Evil Dead trilogy, before slipping off the radar and then making a triumphant return with the Spiderman trilogy.

I had high hopes for this film having been seduced by the array of glowing reviews from respected film journalists. We were promised a return to the classic horror genre; a break from tiresome gore porn and suggestive psychological horror.  Here’s a good old fashioned horror romp all about building tension, visceral thrills and genuine scares. Unfortunately the hype turned out to be just that.

The plot is quite simple.  In an effort to secure a promotion, kind-hearted bank employee Christine (Alison Lohman) rejects a loan extension application from an old woman who is about to be evicted from her home. In an act of revenge the old woman puts a heinous gypsy curse on Christine, damning her to three days of taunting and torture by the vengeful demon Lamia before… that’s right you guessed it, being dragged to hell. 

From here things seem promising.  The action gets underway with an excellent original set piece as Christine struggles to fend off a brutal attack from the old woman in the back of her car.  The scene is classic Raimi, unleashing the usual over the top action, featuring some inventive moves (think Bourne with his magazine), cranking up the thrills (and the yuck factor), with lashings of black comedy.  The image of the old woman ‘gumming’ Christine’s face and neck after she looses her finely carved dentures is hilarious.

Unfortunately during the rest of the film Raimi often resorts to tired old horror movie clichés and ultimately fails to generate any tension or deliver genuine scares.  

Every scene feels like its building up to a typically overused loud bang scare or shocking image that flashes on screen for a split second while the high pitched violin strings go into overdrive.  There is enough action to hold your attention and Lohman makes an amiable protagonist, displaying enough character and feistiness to enlist the audiences’ support.  In addition the climax, while not wholly unpredictable is quite satisfying and rounds off the film in a high note. Ultimately though Raimi fails to deliver the classic horror that was promised and the film works more like a black comedy /action thriller with supernatural themes.

I give Drag Me to Hell six vengeful gypsies out of 10. 

Guest Review by L. McG



OpenID iamheatherjo said...

I really love Sam Raimi, but I actaully had no desire to see this film. After your review, I'm pretty sure I'll wait until it's released on dvd to check it out.

If Bruce Campbell had a cameo like he did in the Spiderman movies I might be more willing to go to the theatre to see it! :D

3:01 am  
Blogger Skry said...

Bummer that the film started so well and then fell to pieces. Like HeatherJo I think I'll wait for a 2-for-1 cinema special before I try to watch it...

In other news:

9:02 am  
Anonymous Lou said...

Nooooooooo! Neeson can't do accents. Can you imagine Hannibal with a Norn Iron twinge?!

7:54 pm  
OpenID iamheatherjo said...

I had read somewhere that they were also considering Bruce Willis for Hannibal, which I can totally see!

The same article had Woody Harrellson rumored to play Murdoch.

I wouldn't mind seeing Michael Clarke Duncan playing BA.

12:02 pm  

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