The Flick Chicks

Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Drag Me To Hell

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Drag Me To Hell – A Deliciously Wicked Mix of Horror and Comedy
 
By Judy Thorburn
The Flick Chick


After directing the three Spiderman films Sam Raimi returns to his horror flick roots with Drag Me to Hell.   He co-wrote the script with his brother Ivan, and as director delivers an entertaining thrill ride that evenly blends humor and horror, not unlike his Evil Dead series, which should satisfy his fans. What’s more, the Raimi brothers came up with an original tale that utilizes home foreclosures as a timely plot device. That, alone, is a scary fact of life many can relate to during these hard economic times.

Alison Lohman (replacing the originally cast Ellen Page) is memorable as California bank loan officer Christine Brown, a former overweight teen, in line for a promotion as assistant manager, that is if her competition, co-worker Stu Rubin (an Asian played by Reggie Lee, with an unlikely Jewish name) doesn’t land it for kissing up to her boss, Mr. Jacks (David Paymer).  Taking what she sees as an opportunity to impress her boss and proving she is capable of making tough decisions, Alison goes against her grain and denies a third mortgage extension to Mrs. Ganush  (a superbly maniacal Lorna Raver) an elderly, half blind, sickly, gypsy woman who doesn’t want to lose her home and wind up in a nursing home. Come on now. Everyone knows in horror films you never mess with a gypsy, especially when she looks as creepy and threatening as this old hag. That’s a move Alison inevitably begins to regret…big time!

After feeling shamed for begging on her knees and then having security called in to toss her out, Mrs. Ganush goes ballistic and is forced to leave with revenge on her mind.  In typical horror movie fashion, before too long, the usual fright inducing clichés start popping up starting with an encounter in the underground parking garage after Christine leaves work where Mrs. Ganush has been waiting for her.  After a nasty fight in the back of her car that entails biting, kicking and stapling (yes, that’s right), Christine gets away, but not before the irate gypsy grabs a button off the sleeve of her coat and unleashes a nasty curse that begins with Christine first having to endure repeated torment for three days by Lamia, a goat-like demon, before she is dragged to hell and sentenced to burn for eternity.  Of course, that is unless Christine can find a way to dissuade the evil spirit from taking her soul before it is too late.

In the meantime, when Christine goes home strange and frightening things begin to happen such as creaky sounds, loud clanging pots and pans, forceful winds blowing through her window and shadows of an evil spirit that lifts her up and throws her around the room like a rag doll.

Christine’s boyfriend, psyche professor Clay Dalton (Justin Long,  looking way too young for the job) is supportive and loving but, like in all movies of this genre, is at first skeptic about what is causing the terrifying, supernatural occurrences plaguing his girlfriend.  It takes a visit to a psychic, Rham Jas (Dileep Rao), for Christine to understand what she is up against and somehow find a way to save her from going to, well, you know where. Eventually, Rham Das takes her to a séance led by spiritualist/medium Shaun San Dena (Adriana Barraza, "Babel") an old Latina that is way too familiar with this evil spirit, having witnessed the horrendous fate of her son some 40 years earlier.

From his past work in the horror genre, Raimi proves he is well experienced in orchestrating scare tactics and he creates more than a few chilling moments that make you squirm, if not jump out of your seat.  Yet, so much of what goes on is so absurd and over the top that you can’t help but laugh. That isn’t to say there isn’t enough gore to keep avid horror fans happy.  The dark humor also involves projectile vomit of maggots, a nosebleed that turns into a projectile mess, and various other cringe inducing, gross out gags.  Several scenes revolve around the toothless gypsy repeatedly going face to face with Christine and attacking her with a wide open mouth, devoid of teeth.  It’s pretty disgusting, but funny and gives a whole new meaning to suck face.

I haven’t had so much fun watching a horror movie in a long time. Although I caught the early tie in to the twist at the end, you will be surprised IF you don’t pay close attention to what may seem like an insignificant detail until the final scene.   So grab your buddy, a date, or your significant other and drag him or her to Drag Me to Hell for a helluva ghoul, I mean, good time.