Reel Shorts | Drag Me To Hell

29 05 2009

In his latest film, “Drag Me To Hell, director Sam Raimi has taken old fashion horror and blended it with a cautionary tale for greedy mortgage companies everywhere. Based on the reaction of preview audience, the only thing Raimi will be dragging when the weekend is over with will be a chest full of cash!

After an intense opening 40 years earlier, Raimi thrusts the story to the present where an overmatched, yet ambitious bank employer, Christine Brown (Allison Lohman) is vying with another co-worker for a promotion to Assistant Loan Officer. The former farmhand has now reinvented herself, even sporting a snobbish, preppy boyfriend, Clay (Justin Long) to boot.

Trying any and everything to impress her spineless boss, Mr. Jacks (David Paymer), Christine she appears to have the promotion in the bag when evil comes walking in the door in the guise of an elderly Romanian woman, Ms. Ganush (Lorna Raver). Behind several payments on her house and with the bank in the process of foreclosing on her loan, she asks Christine for assistance only to be rebuffed. In a last ditch effort, the proud elderly woman begs Christine – and doesn’t take rejection well. She lays in the cut for the poor unsuspecting girl and in the midst of a disgusting scary exchange puts spell on her promising death in three days.

From this point, the script written by Raimi and his brother Ivan, becomes a rollercoaster of emotion for Christine who seeks out the help of a psychic, Rham Jas (Dileep Rao) who breaks the bad news to her. Needless to say, hilarity does not ensue – but plenty of really, really bad things happen over and over.

Are there scenes in the film where the main character does something ridiculous and implausible? Plenty. Does she take an awful lot of punishment without showing any signs of wear? Absolutely. Do you jump out of your seat even when you can feel that Raimi is trying to scare you? Every time!

The genius of the script is that sometimes in films, bad things happen to random people without provocation. But he takes us through Christine’s psyche and moral center as we explore how she extricates herself from awful predicament.

While some of Raimi’s scenes are tremendously suspenseful, the director makes sure to balance the story out with plenty of humorous moments designed to take just a little bit of edge off of the story. Int the process, the film can be an enjoyable experience, especially if viewed with a group of friends. Reminiscent of classic 1970s horror films that were best experienced if one speaks to the screen, “Drag Me To Hell” may be one of the most entertaining horror films made in quite awhile.

Despite my historical reluctance to embrace these visual theme rides, “Drag Me To Hell” may not be the perfect scary movie but one thing for sure is that Raimi has a handle on his material from start to finish and while the story may go off the rails every now and then by the time it pulls back in the station you will enjoy the ride!

Grade: B-




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