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October 22, 2009
Review - " Drag Me to Hell "  -  (on DVD) By Roland Hansen
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Allison Lohman does wet tshirt in Drag Me to Hell
Drag Me to Hell - movie poster
Drag Me to Hell
Directed by: Sam Raimi
Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Young, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao,
David Paymer

“Drag Me to Hell” is a pretty straight forward cinematic property, its
aims are to amuse, scare and generally just provide the audience with
a darned fun time. On all counts it fires in as a success, a lean and
ruthlessly efficient movie “Drag Me to Hell” does what is required to
make it an enjoyable summer romp before accumulating in a
wonderfully twisty and tricksy build up to a ballsy climax. As a return to
the genre that made its directors name, “Drag Me to Hell” isn't a
cimnematic pinnacle but marks a confident and accomplished effort,
riddled with oodles of energy and black wit, it’s a horror trip worth
buying into.

Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is a working gal with a desire for
promotion, and thus an opportunity to disprove her quaint farming
roots and show herself as worthy of professor boyfriend Clay (Justin
Long). Such a chance presents itself in the form of the vacant
Assistant’s Manager Job at the bank, but whilst Christine is a prime
candidate there is stiff competition. The head of the establishment
suggests that if Christine was a little more willing to make “tough calls”
then she would be ideal, and later that day a chance to demonstrate
said quality arises. Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver) a one eyed crone
seeking a third loan on her house wanders to Christine’s desk, and in
a bid to be seen as firm she denies the elderly woman her want.
However Ganush isn’t easily sated and places a curse on Christine,
one that after three days of torturous haunting and menacing visions
will send her right to the depths of hell.
“Drag Me to Hell” is almost exclusively fixated on the character of Christine and two of the movie’s strongest points are
focused around that aspect. Firstly as the leading lady Lohman is a star, making good on the promise that she suggested in
other features, now elevated to head status and relishing it with a determined and strong central turn. Secondly the movie is
lean and unless a character serves to flesh out the personality of Christine or power the plot, then the Raimi brothers have
seen fit to leave it out of their script. The perfect example comes in the form of Justin Long’s boyfriend, it’s actually a pretty
decent effort from the usually geeky actor, but he only really features when he is able to add to the three dimensionality of
the main character. The chemistry between Lohman and Long is believable and in “Drag me to Hell” that’s really the only
relationship that counts.

The movie isn’t a nail biter in the most traditional sense, it isn’t primed with pants wetting terror or “Saw” style gore, Raimi
favoring the slow burn before unleashing an unforeseen moment of boo horror. The picture received a PG-13 rating, usually
the kiss of death from a creative perspective in the horror genre, but on this occasion Raimi is able to use his considerable
genre know how to elicit respectable amounts of tension and seat shaking shocks. It never approaches the levels f cringe
worthy terror that “The Evil Dead” conjured in its most intimidating moments, but it’s about the most unsettling PG-13 genre
piece to arrive all year. Being a Raimi movie it’s also filled with yukky laughs and black humor, the sense of humor at the
heart of “Drag Me to Hell” is certainly twisted but it’s also regularly funny. Raimi has a way of making the most bizarre horror
conventions seem amusing, an arterial spray from the nose is worth a good chuckle as is believe it or not the slaughter of an
innocent cat. An instance involving a possessed goat is more blatant concerning its comedic intentions, but all in all for
those willing to embrace it, the horror goofballing is pretty strong with this one.

The film is short and based on a simple and deliciously effective hook, sure the screenplay requires a little hokum and
laughable mythos to be bandied around, but they’re easily embraced on such a salacious and amusing thrill ride of a
picture. Audiences are sure to enjoy the fact that this is a plot molded to an appropriate runtime, keeping things constantly
at a level of intense enjoyment. For purists it probably lacks the groundbreaking innovation of some of their genre favorites,
but overall even they should be able to take this as a pleasurable cinematic experience.

Technically the movie has a rash of crap CGI but the cinematography is cool and underplays the style whilst always
effortlessly dialing up the tension and creepy theatrics. The atmosphere is religiously freaky, Raimi deploying his work in low
budget and high budget affairs to concoct a slick looking horror whilst avoiding the assembly line work that plagues a lot of
modern thriller work. The film also wraps up
with a deliciously twisty and unpredictable
ending, the movie keeps you guessing right up
to the final frame and unleashes a delightfully
bawdy climax. This is one of the elements that
really helps “Drag Me to Hell” overcome most
genre competition, it’s got the backbone to
deliver the finish that the population really

An energetic and commendable addition to the
collective works of all involved, “Drag Me to
Hell” infuses dark comedy and jittery tension to
neat effect, and boasts a really good central
performance from Lohman. It’s not a perfect
attempt in scare theatrics and is plagued by a
few minor concerns, but they won’t stop you
from having a damn good time with the quick
and potent “Drag Me to Hell”.