Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Horror Movie Review: Drag Me to Hell

Drag Me to Hell

Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, and Dileep Rao

Written by: Sam Raimi and Ivan Raimi

Directed by: Sam Raimi

Release Date: March 15, 2009

Production Companies: Universal Pictures, Ghost House Pictures, Buckaroo Entertainment, Mandate Pictures, and Tippett Studio

Boy, talk aboout a movie to which I was looking forward. I mean we've got Sam Raimi, a cute blonde, demons, and Hell. What's the worst that could happen?

Unfortunately, Drag Me to Hell seems to hit every possible downfall and turned out to be a great disappointment.

Christine (Lohman) is hoping to get a promotion at her bank, but unfortunately she's competing against Stu (Reggie Lee) who can, "make the tough decisions." Benevolent and mousey, Christine then is visited by Sylvia Ganush (Raver). She needs an extension on her home loan before the bank takes her house, but when Christine's boss says that it's a tough decision and up to her, she turns down the extension request. Ganush attacks Christine and during the attack curses her to be taken to Hell in three days by the Lamia.

Throughout all this and after, Raimi's main goal seems to be to gross us out as Ganush is a physically revolting character and the Lamia's main form of attack seems to be nauseating rather than frightening. Plenty of films have been successes with predominantly gross out effects being the big draw, but Drag Me to Hell doesn't try to do anything new or unexpected.

The actors are not compelling either. Lohman seems more embarrassed than fearful. You almost expect her to say, "Oh, sorry about that. You know, Lamias these days, what can you do..." Justin Long, playing boyfriend Clay, has little chance to do anything with a character who is painfully dull, and the fact that he works in a university psychology department isn't even used. Dileep Rao as the seer Ram Jas is actually fairly competant in his role, but the writing doesn't seem to allow his character to actually react to anything.

I know Raimi likes to inject humor into his movies, but it wasn't working here. A guy being possessed by the Lamia does a Lord of the Dance jig or something was eye-rollingly out of place. In The Evil Dead, Raimi also lightened up his horror with humor, but it fit better there, or maybe Bruce Campbell was better able to convey the humor. In Drag Me to Hell, the humor just makes the scenes seen awkward.

Then there's the Lamia, described in the movie as a demon with the head and feet of a goat. But in mythology, Lamia was a Queen driven mad when Hera killed the children Lamia had bore from her trysts with Zeus. The murder of her children drove her mad and she began eating children across the land. Later the lamia became a sort of succubus seducing men and eating them. Nowhere does the lamia get described as having a goat-like appearance. Admittedly, if the movie was good, I wouldn't care, but considering the poor nature of the film, the random distortion of the Lamia when there are goat headed demons he could have used with minor tweaks, such as Baphomet.

Unfortunately, Raimi's return to horror didn't just drag Christine to Hell, but me along with her.

Related Trailers

The Thirteenth Floor

Alison Lohman also appeared in The Thirteenth Floor. Computer scientist Hannon Fuller has discovered something extremely important. He's about to tell the discovery to his colleague, Douglas Hall, but knowing someone is after him, the old man leaves a letter in his computer generated parallel world that's just like the 30's with seemingly real people with real emotions. Fuller is murdered in our real world the same night, and his colleague is suspected. Douglas discovers a bloody shirt in his bathroom and he cannot recall what he was doing the night Fuller was murdered. He logs into the system in order to find the letter, but has to confront the unexpected. The truth is harsher than he could ever imagine...

Jeepers Creepers

Justin Long also starred in Jeepers Creepers. A brother and sister driving home for spring break encounter a flesh-eating creature in the isolated countryside that is on the last day of its ritualistic eating spree.

The Evil Dead

Sam Raimi also wrote and directed The Evil Dead. Five friends travel to a cabin in the woods, where they unknowingly release flesh-possessing demons.

Army of Darkness

Ivan Raimi also co-wrote Army of Darkness. A man is accidentally transported to 1300 A.D., where he must battle an army of the dead and retrieve the Necronomicon so he can return home.

No comments: