film & game reviews, the retro way.

REVIEW

DIRECTOR

Sam Raimi

WRITERS

Sam Raimi

Ivan Raimi

CAST

Alison Lohman

Justin Long

Lorna Raver

Dileep Rao

David Paymer

Adriana Barraza

Directed and co-written by Sam Raimi, Drag Me To Hell is a comedy/horror film from 2009 about a loan officer who makes a very powerful enemy when she denies an elderly woman a loan and the latter rewards her with a terrible curse.

Raimi's return to the horror genre after completing his Spider-Man trilogy, Drag Me To Hell is every bit as violent and wacky as you'd expect from the man who brought us The Evil Dead and its madcap sequels. If anything, this is far more a comedy than it is a horror film. There are gross-out "scares" but those are more hilariously odd and disgusting than they are actually frightening. Take the multiple scenes in which the poor cursed heroine Christine (Alison Lohman) gets thrown up on or when she's the one throwing up various fluids, for example.

 

Most of the scares in this movie are so cartoonish that it's just impossible not to laugh at them. Christine battles the old lady in a car at one point using office equipment and it's, for lack of a better word, mad. Although the plot itself doesn't really make any sense, it's merely a template for Raimi to then splatter with blood like a cinematic Pollock painting. This anarchy is both the film's biggest strength but also its biggest shortcoming.

There's a refreshing abandon to the over-the-top sequences in this movie that's reminiscent of Evil Dead 2's freedom to just go all-out, without much concern for telling some kind of story. This makes the relatively normal setting and side characters like Christine's boyfriend, played by Justin Long, seem quite absurd as if the very idea of Drag Me To Hell trying to be sensible for a second is, in itself, weird. The film's main problem, which is linked to its disregard for plot and logic, is it throws everything at the wall and hopes that some of it will stick, and a lot of it admittedly does, but this means that some of the ingenious madness involved here can get repetitive.

 

The sequences attempting to build some kind of a spooky atmosphere don't really work as, by that point, so much silly stuff has happened that you just can't take any of the film seriously. One wishes that a little more attention had been given to the plot and the overall mood but, thankfully, the goofy stuff here is genuinely very funny.

While it may be shallow, inconsistent and dumb, Drag Me To Hell makes all that work thanks to a proudly tongue-in-cheek approach spoofing horror clichés and bringing countless laugh-out-loud moments to the table.

Hugely entertaining nonsense.

TheRetroCritic

DRAG ME TO HELL

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film & game reviews, the retro way.