I have a confession to make: I really kind of liked “Drag Me to Hell.”
Sam Raimi’s latest project is an homage to the gross-out B-horror flicks of the 70s and 80s (minus the nudity; hence the PG-13 rating). Alison Lohman plays Christine, a young woman with a bright future who finds herself at the business end of a gypsy curse thrown on her by an old woman, Mrs. Ganush (the fabulous Lorna Raver). Christine learns that the gypsy has set a demon on her, which will torment her before… um… dragging her to hell.
Written by: Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi
Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver
Running time: 99 mins
Seen at: Loew’s Boston Common
Most of the film is just one scene after another of blood, guts and corpses vomiting unpleasant substances into people’s mouths. It’s less a movie, really, than a full-length, grotesque “Looney Tunes” cartoon “" at one point, an anvil literally drops on someone’s head, their eyes popping out like two ripe grapes. The final showdown/exorcism scene is wonderfully fake “" if you don’t blink you may just see the wires, and the production guys moving the curtains.
For a movie that’s all about trashy flicks, it’s actually decently filmed. Raimi, whatever one may think of him, does understand how to place a camera, and “Drag Me To Hell” is better-edited and cohesive than I’m used to seeing in a horror movie. Raimi also obviously understands gross-out horror “" he knows that these flicks speak to the most uncouth, uncivilized parts of ourselves. Let’s not lie, part of the reason we like horror movies is the sense of controlled madness. We see crazy, frightening things; things that, if they happened in real life, would traumatize us. But in the safety of our cushy seats, we can scream and howl and laugh at the grotesqueness, and then walk out of the theater, civilized and confident once more.
Is this a good movie? Not really. The dialogue is terrible (and possibly meant to be so), the performances are silly, and the idea that there may be a higher meaning is laughable. But I jumped a few times in fright in that theater. I yelled in disgust and laughed at the absurdity that I was going to have to write a high-minded review of the film after it was over. Because “Drag Me to Hell” is decidedly not high-minded. It is low-brow and proud of it.
I think it’s great! I’m an old guy, and some of my happy moments when I was in high school were at a drive-in movie watching those old “B” horror movies like “Them”, “It Came From Outer Space”, while drinkin’ beer (underage, of course), and stuffin’ down the pizza. They don’t have to be believable, just entertaining.
I quote….”(minus the nudity, hence the PG-13 rating)”. This is what’s wrong with the enertainment industry, and our society. Unbelievably gory, violently obscene movies, shows and commercials, portraying sadistic torture, maiming and killing, are percieved as more acceptable than nudity. I have three children between the ages of 4 and 8. I promise everyone, it is easier to explain sex and nudity to children than the senseless violence portrayed every day in the media. TV commercials showing shocking scenes from movies (even this one) pop up in the middle of a prime time MLB game that I’m watching with my boys. There is no way to anticipate it. It needs to be stopped.