WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?
A loan officer (Lohman), ordered to evict an old woman from her home, finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse, which turns her life into a living hell. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try to save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to breaking point.
THE HUGHES VERDICT
For a start, for the critic whose name is in bold on the top of the cover to say that this film is “The scariest movie of the decade” really proves that this guy does not watch much horror. As that statement is so far from being the truth, that every fan should sue for false advertisement and for being led up a garden path.
The much anticipated return to horror from Sam Raimi was missed by myself during its cinema run and I had to wait for the DVD release to hit the shelves. During the time of wait, I have read many posts on this very Forum, that were very critical of the film and I watched really in hope that the film could not be as bad as it was made out.
Kind banker Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is eyeing up a promotion and competition from complete slime ball college Stew, when on her desk arrives an old woman begging for an extension for a home loan to save her from eviction. When for the first time in her career, Christine puts herself first and not the customer needs, its a decision that will haunt her for ever, as the woman puts a curse on her head in which in 3 days she will be dragged to hell by an unseen but powerful force.
Can Christine save herself from her fate, or will the old woman that she shamed, get her ultimate revenge?????
There is no question that the first half of this film is one of the best of the year. A slow but great build up as we get to know Christine and the kind of nice girl she is. When we meet the old woman for the first time, its unpleasant viewing and contains many look away moments as the woman is built for the word grotesque. Her wet and dirty handkerchief to slimy false teeth that she pulls out to suck on a sweet, is great moments that are more frightening than any of the shoddy CGI that comes later. In fact when the old woman attacks Christine in her car, the scene is one of the strongest of the year, especially when her teeth comes flying out of her mouth and she tries to suck the face of the poor girl. I know its sound daft on here, but its such a Urrgghhh!!!! moment that its wonderfully done. The trouble is when the curse is said, it seems the film is engulfed in it as well as it loses the momentum that it gathered so wonderfully.
We are left by nothing but a movie that does not know where to go. Christine running around in circles as she hopes for answers to her problem. One of the main criticism for Kill Bill Vol 2 is that the dialogue feels that it is written by someone trying to be QT….its not fresh and the usual snappy we came to expect from the great man.
Its like a wannabee, trying to copy the master. This quite rightfully applies to Drag Me To Hell, as the second half of the film is like someone trying to copy Sam’s work in Evil Dead. The flying eye-ball, the man in mid-air talking like a deadite, so much more I could mention, and its quite a shock when you realise its all from the man himself. One trick pony is a phase you can never say about Raimi, but the latter stages of this film carries so much of his previous work that its hard to ignore.
Many years ago now, the comic book brigade was up in arms when it was announced that Raimi was going to be the director of Spider-man, completely forgetting that he was right man after the style he brought to the underrated Darkman. Two sequels later and such critical success from the web franchise, that it was great for horror fans that Raimi decided to return to his horror roots. Its just a shame that this is not old Raimi, in fact it seems its Raimi playing at being Wes Craven, as the film carries much of Wes is work in the late nineties.
This is not a disaster by any means. Raimi does know how to play with the audience…there is a hint that when Christine’s boyfriend suggests they go to his parents cabin in the woods, that this film will transcend into a full horror climax. We do not quite reach that peak…but the final shot is delightful. A nasty sting in the tail that saves the whole watch.
I hate to be critical, but how can any horror fans give this a one or even two star rating. Are they saying that this is just as bad as the recent awful input of Walled In and dare I say it Knock Knock. Maybe the criticism comes from the fact that we expected so much from the hype. This is Sam Raimi after all, and maybe if anyone else done this film, there will be some love. Its enjoyable nonsense of the highest order….its just not the scare fest we were promised, or wished it would and could have been.
OVERALL: Some great scenes swamped by too much silliness, the easy going of the horror genre willlove it, but most horror fans will find it instantly forgettable.
[pt-filmtitle]Drag Me To Hell[/pt-filmtitle]