Chronologically, I saw Evil Dead trilogy after Spider-Man trilogy. Therefore, for me, to say that “Drag Me to Hell” is Sam Raimi’s triumphant return to the horror genre is an overestimation in my part for I have no right to admit such claim given that I only learn about Sam Raimi through Spider-Man and not through Bruce Campbell.
That being said, “Drag Me to Hell” has an unmistaken reminiscent to Sam Raimi’s horror induced creative past. To me, the way “Drag Me to Hell” presents itself as a horror film (a PG-13 one) will be a surprise (a dangerously unpleasant surprise to some) to recent horror fans bred by the likes of teenage scream-fest such as Scream series and found adolescence by the likes of Saw series. Whereas, again, reminiscent to his Evil Dead, “Drag Me to Hell” is treading a thin line between “boo” moments and splattery gory imagery bordering between disgusting and funny sans Bruce Campbell which is sort of like to say, “Hey, I’m a huge fan of Evil Dead, and I’ve been expecting something similar because Sam Raimi heads back to the genre. But, dude, that was a disappointment.” But, overall, “Drag Me to Hell” is an entertaining flick, with a lovable ending (although you shouldn’t be surprised with the ending, you’ll see it coming from miles away) and it is best experienced in a packed theater where you could gasps, screams, and laugh with so many people. Me and my wife had a great time in the theater last night.
Christine Brown has a lot to prove. She needs to convince her boyfriend’s parents that she is no longer a girl from the farm. Therefore, she, who works as a Bank officer had her eyes trained to a vacant assistant manager position. Problem is, there’s Stu, the new guy whom Jim Jacks, her manager, and one whose word and nod meant “promotion”, delightfully pitted her against Stu for the position. One day, an elderly Mrs.Ganush came in, she was overdue in her mortgage, already has a loan extension for twice, and the Bank had to evict her out of her house. She begs Christine to give her another extension and spare the eviction. “Can you make a hard decision?”, her manager said and she, with her eyes sets toward the empty chair under the “Assistant Manager” plank made hers. Mrs.Ganush is of course unhappy and humiliated. Later that night, she puts a curse on Christine and suddenly, she only has three days before an evil entity came knocking to literally, drag her to hell.
Mostly, “Drag Me to Hell” relies on the element of surprises. A sudden movement, a sudden shriek, a sudden appearance. Before long, you’ll get used to it, and you’re going to expect *every* single calm scene is a facade to a “whoa” moment shortly afterward. The sound also played a great effect toward the overall horror factor. I think that hardcore horror fans (those who appreciate subtlety more than visual and phonetic induced horror sights & sounds) would find it a bit excessive, but no problem here, I was too busy enjoying the film to notice.
Sam Raimi is clearly having a ton of fun filming this film. There are several scenes that almost means nothing to the overall plot, but merely a device for him to bring those gooey Evil Dead things back. But of course, no Bruce Campbell, no show. Alison Lohman, although lovable, is kinda cheesy and B-quality in the acting department (perhaps intentional by the filmmaker. Either way, she was a perfect choice for this kind of horror/comedy film). The rest of the cast, is, at most, “meh.”
I mentioned that this film is best experienced in a packed theater. The theater where I had seen this film is only two row short of full-house. During the first scary scene, the film breaks the fourth wall as shortly before the first scary scene emerges, there are nervous laughter all over the theater, a rustle here and there that shows the audience are being anxious to whatever coming next, and girlfriends trying to snuggle deeper into the boyfriends arms and apparels. I don’t remember when was the last time I see a horror film in a theater, but “Drag Me to Hell” is definitely one of those rare fun moments I’ve ever had in a theater.
My rating: *** / **** Although a no-brainer, I loved how the film choses to end itself and I loved the fact that the film is not taking sides. For those reasons alone, this film is already a better than average horror film. Further, I based my rating here to the value of experience I had for seeing this film in a theater with a lot of other strangers. Everything else is, well, neglectible.