Sam Raimi returns to his roots afters years of making big blockbuster movies, namely Spider-man 1-3. This time he brings us and old-fashioned movie about a woman who gets cursed by an old gypsy and starts to experience rather unpleasant things which all will lead up to her being dragged to Hell, hence, the title. The movie feels old-school and a fun step back into a period before all the Saw movies, horror franchise reboots and when Peter Jackson was still playing around with buckets of pig-blood or puppets.
I saw the trailer for Drag Me To Hell and wasn’t too enthusiastic after seeing it but you can’t judge a book by it’s cover and a movie by it’s trailer so I went on to watch this with mixed expectations: low due to the trailer and yet hopeful due to Sam Raimi.
I was not disappointed.
While not being perfect the movie takes me back to my youth when this style of movie-making was still fresh. This felt like a trip down memory-lane and is infinitely better than say the latest Saw movie. The effects are at moments laughable but then again, remember the final shots of Evil Dead with its wooden stop-motion. Maybe it was due to budgetary reasons that some effects are not of the quality of that of the effects in the Spider-man movies, but it could also be a wink as well as the movie is full of winks. The Oldsmobile makes a return and the Gypsy lady could very be well one of those shemps from the Evil dead movies. Also here is some slapstick-horror with a stapler as well as some simple, but effective gore sequences, even if they only consist of a lady putting her dentures on a table. That is what is so admirable about this movie: in a time when torture-porn like Saw and Hostel need people to cut limbs and genitals for shock-value Raimi shows us that simple bad teeth, dirty nails or some bodily fluids are just as if not even more effective.
Starring in this movie is Alison Lohman, a girl I last witnessed opposite Nicolas Cage in Matchstick Men. This time she’s playing an adult who gets tormented by the super-natural. She’s a spunky heroine not aided by her boyfriend played by Justin Long who is wasted here and gets nothing more to do than advertise some Apple products. The most memorable of the cast is the Gypsy herself: Mrs Ganush, played by Lorna Raver. She is really a hideous figure/creature and the fighting scene between her and Alison is an instant classic. She is also the one who generates the most of the scares in the movie and will not soon be forgotten.
This movie will not appeal to everyone and I’m not sure how the young public who never grew up on Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy and Peter Jackson’s early film will respond to a movie that deals more with fluid-gore and humor than bodily torture, but I liked the movie and had a fun time.