When I finally had permission from Rampaige to go see this movie, the only place that it was playing was in the suburbs. Or at least, the closest place was the suburbs. When we went out to the suburbs, both Rampaige and I had forgotten what suburbs are like with all the homogeneity and sterility, which was both disgusting and somewhat nostalgic, seeing as it reminded me of towns I had visited while in college. Much to my surprise, the theater chain that we were going to was a theater chain that I used to work at in college, and seeing as I had a new schedule at work, I went ahead and applied to be a projectionist at this new theater. I got the job, and no matter how shitty or annoying my days might have been working at the theater, I could always remember the first time visiting that theater as a customer, hanging out with Rampaige, spending time in the suburbs, and seeing an awesome movie. ENOUGH WITH THE MEMORIES, LET’S GET ON WITH THE REVIEW.
Including this picture of Alison Lohman in a wet t-shirt for Beardy Joe, who one time stole a Flicka poster because he liked her butt.
The film opens with a segment of a family bringing their little boy to see a medium in hopes of helping remove a gypsy curse, but the medium fails and the ground opens up and the child is sucked down to Hell. FORESHADOWING, MUCH?! We then meet Chrstine (Alison Lohman), a young woman trying to move forward at the bank where she works, and her boyfriend Clay (Justin Long), a professor at the local college. An old woman (Lorna Raver) comes into Christine’s bank, and in order to impress her boss with a tough decision, Christine refuses a loan extension, so the old woman stays after work to confront Christine. After the physical assault, the old woman steals a button from Christine’s coat, utters some gypsy words, and then vanishes. THAT’S WHEN SHE GETS REAL. Spooky things start happening, from voices to shadows seemingly following Christine, and feeling like she’s out of options, decides to speak to a medium who informs Christine that in three days, she’s going to be dragged down to Hell. You messed with the WRONG old lady, Christine!
Not pictured: the ruler that Christine shoves almost completely down her throat. YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS, AM I RIGHT GUYS?!
With Christine NOT wanting to go to Hell, she tries to find the old woman, only to find that she has died since the curse has been given. Rut roh! Christine must seek other methods of losing the curse, from sacrificing her kitten to seeking guidance from the medium that was in the opening scene. Although the medium is able to summon the spirits, the crucial part of the ceremony doesn’t take place, and Christine feels like she’s out of options. She is then informed that, as a last resort, Christine can give the button as a formal gift to someone else, and that other person will take over the attention of the curse and be sucked down into Hell. While debating who to give the button to, an incredibly elderly man, the sleazy guy also going to Christine’s promotion, she then realizes that she can give the button to the old woman’s dead body as a formal gift. She takes the envelope with the button, shoves it in the dead body of the old lady’s mouth, and thinks things are over. When she goes to meet Clay, a coin collector, to go on vacation, he gives her an envelope that looks similar to the envelope she just gave to the old lady, and Christine realizes she never gave the button to the old lady but instead gave a coin for Clay’s coin collection instead. With her three days being up, Christine falls on the train tracks, the ground swallows her, and the movie ends.
The use of the name “Lamia” for the demon in the movie resulted in me being called a Lamia by Rampaige forever.
Have you seen any of the Evil Dead movies? To me, Drag Me to Hell is everything that those movies would have been had Sam Raimi had the budget that this movie did. As you can tell from reading the description, there’s no doubt about this movie belonging to the horror genre, but to read what it’s about and to watch it is an incredibly different experience. With the intensity of the special effects and CGI, it’s hard not to laugh at how intense the “scary” moments are. The initial moment of the startle scare, like Christine waking up from a nightmare, sitting up, and then laying back down to find the old woman’s corpse laying next to her, are effective at startling you, but a moment like that continues on as the corpse then pukes maggots and worms all over Christine’s face. The scare is there, but then the intensity of that scare helps relieve the tension immediately and you find yourself laughing quite hard. The effects and scares in the Evil Dead movies never really creeped me out or startled me, so they were always more laughable than scary. I know that my pal JD as argued the other way, that the scares in Evil Dead were creepier to him than the scares in this movie, but he doesn’t have his own blog so I’m talking about what I liked.
If you can watch the séance scene in this movie and NOT understand how this is a bigger budget Evil Dead, then you’re on your own. The talking cups, tables, and goats give the whole thing away, and it’s a great scene.
For as ridiculous and silly the entire premise of the movie is, you have to give credit to the cast for playing things completely straight. Neither Alison Lohman nor Justin Long necessarily deserve any awards for their performances, they definitely deserve credit for their commitment to the silliness of the plot. There were never any looks at the camera or winks or elbow nudges towards the audience the way other actors might have played it, so kudos to them. Although her character is dead for most of the movie, Lorna Raver made a fantastically terrifying old gypsy woman. Granted, the impact of her appearances are heightened with makeup or special effects, but every time you see this woman you are glad that she’s not a real person. Also, I’m pretty sure that this movie hold the record for a PG-13 movie with the most amount of bodily fluids shooting out of or into mouths. From drool to blood to embalming fluids to blood, Sam Raimi found every substance possible to douse characters in to completely gross the audience out, and successfully I might add. I can’t recommend this movie enough to people who don’t mind a little humor with their horror films, and I understand that the scares might not be effective with everybody, but for me, Raimi recreated the perfect blend of horror and slapstick that gave him his fame with the Evil Dead franchise. For those of you who are too sophisticated or pretentious to accept this movie at face value for a wacky, over-the-top horror story, than I feel bad for you that you can’t enjoy this movie like so many of us do.
Wolfman Moon Scale