Monday, June 15, 2009

Drag Me to Hell

Christine Brown has a great life; she is a loan processor up for promotion to assistant manager, her boyfriend is cute, successful and well off, and her life is on the up. Then one day at work she finds out that unless she can be trusted to make the hard decisions her co-worker Stu will get the promotion. Unfortunately for Christine she decides to start making the hard decisions the day that Mrs. Ganush comes to her for the third extension on her mortgage; when turned down Mrs. Ganush decides to seek retribution and curses Christine so that the Lamia will torment her and drag her to hell in three days.

Sam Raimi has a talent I envy. He takes some of the most bizarre pieces imaginable and turns them into startlingly striking images, he does this in Drag Me to Hell. Raimi has the corner on being strange, quirky, creepy and downright beautifully visual. His films have what so few young directors have now, when you see a Raimi film you know that it is a Raimi film – it cannot be mistaken for anything else.

Like most of Raimi’s horror films, I didn’t really enjoy this on my initial viewing. However, if this follows the pattern of his other horror films it will improve on me if I see it a second time. What bothers me about Raimi’s horror films are that he enjoys the gross out horror, and he telegraphs his films. I can tell you exactly what will happen for each plot point in the film and when it will happen. It’s downright clich├ęd and predictable. Normally, this gets brushed off by me because it’s hand-held directing, but somehow with each viewing Raimi’s films normally become more entertaining for me because deep down Raimi does have a considerable amount of skill – movies like Spiderman 1 & 2 have proven that.

I am also enjoying that Justin Long is getting some good parts. In Drag Me to Hell Long plays the boyfriend, a young college professor whose blue-blooded parents aren’t sure Christine is right for him. Long is able to be the one stable, grounded, human force in the otherwise bizarre horror-comedy – he is the sweet boyfriend every girlfriend dreams of having.

Drag Me to Hell is not the perfect Sam Raimi movie. However, it definitely feels like Raimi was trying to clense his psyche and appease his fans after the travesty that was Spiderman 3. The one signature missing from this film was an appearance from Bruce Campbell, I am going to have to hope that maybe he'll guest in Raimi's next project.

Director: Sam Raimi
Writers: Sam & Ivan Raimi
Christine Brown: Alison Lohman
Clay Dalton: Justin Long
Mrs. Ganush: Lorna Raver
Ram Jas: Dileep Rao
Mr. Jacks: David Paymer

No comments: