Drag Me To Hell Review

Published 5 years ago by

Short version: Sam Raimi returns to the format that put him on the map with Drag Me to Hell – and you won’t be disappointed.

drag me to hell review Drag Me To Hell Review

Screen Rant reviews Drag Me to Hell

If you’re a REAL Sam Raimi fan, you’ve heard of him long before he ever sat in the director’s chair for the first Spider-Man movie. His claim to fame came with a little trilogy of films known as the Evil Dead series.

The first film was made on a shoestring budget and launched Bruce Campbell into the B-movie limelight. Evil Dead 2 was essentially a remake of the first film but with a bigger budget. While many people think that film is the best of the series, to me the crown jewel is the third film: Army of Darkness.

Each film had an odd mixture of humor and horror – the first film had a bit of it that made it seem campy. But with each subsequent film he refined the comedy/horror one-two punch to a high art. By the time we arrived at Army of Darkness, he pulled out all the stops and the film was 90% comedy, 10% horror.

People have been waiting for YEARS for Raimi to return to the low budget horror/comedy niche and he finally relented with Drag Me to Hell. He’s commented that he needed to “recharge” on a smaller, fun film after the mega-budget stresses of working on three consecutive Spider-Man films.

So has he lost his touch?

Hell, no!

The basic plot of Drag Me to Hell revolves around loan officer Christine Brown (Alllison Lohman) – she’s an eager-beaver at her bank, wanting to be promoted into an open assistant manager position very badly. The problem is that she’s up against a new male employee who is a much more aggressive guy who also happens to have mastery over the fine art of sucking up to the boss.

Her boss tells her she’s in the running but the other guy is more aggressive and is able “to make the hard decisions” (ie. those that favor the bank and hurt the customer). So when a creepy old woman shows up at her desk asking for an extension on her mortgage, Christine decides this is the opportunity to make one of those hard decisions.

Bad call Christine, bad call.

Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver, who does an awesome job and is pictured at the top of this review) starts out nice enough, although she’s creepy and gross as all get out – but once she is denied and embarrassed by Christine the fangs (almost literally) come out and she places a curse on our young up and comer that will give her three days of hell before something REALLY terrible happens.

drag me to hell review1 Drag Me To Hell Review

We see something happen in the opening of the film that is a precursor to the curse, and frankly that opening sequence dropped my expectations for the movie. I found it to be neither particularly scary nor funny and I sat there thinking “Oh man, Raimi has lost his touch?” However I’m happy to have been proven wrong as the film moved along.

Along the way we meet her boyfriend, played by Justin Long, his rich parents including a snooty mom, and Indian fortune teller Rham Jas (played by Dileep Rao). Everyone fits right into the movie nicely like pieces of a tight-fitting puzzle.

The film takes a bit of time to rev up, beginning with the scene in the parking garage that you’ve probably already had a chance to see in the trailer. What’s in the trailer is just a hint and while you’ll be jumping out of your seat at the beginning of that sequence, by the end you’ll be laughing your head off. From there it backs off to the mundane for a bit but once the curse kicks in – a little bit here and there at first, but escalating in intensity… you’ll continue to be pummeled by scary scenes wrapped in bizarre comedy.

Raimi takes Lohman’s character from a sweet, if misguided loan officer to a desperate woman and right on through to someone willing to do whatever it takes to shake off this curse, and it’s hysterical to watch some of the choices she makes as she travels along her path.

Oh, and while (as far as I could tell) Bruce Campbell did NOT have a cameo in the film, you will notice a familiar car…

If you’re a fan of the original Evil Dead movies I think you’re really going to enjoy Drag Me to Hell. And even if you’re not, it provides plenty of VERY effective jump scares (I’m usually not a fan of those, but they’re applied to great effect here), lots of gross visual effects (amazing what you can get away with now in a PG-13 movie) plus a ton of Raimi’s trademark horror humor.

This one has future cult movie written all over it and gets a thumbs up from me.

Our Rating:

4 out of 5
(Excellent)

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TAGS: 4 star movies, drag me to hell

38 Comments

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  1. Don’t need to see this one.

    Sam Raimi already ‘Dragged Me To Hell’ when he made me sit through Spiderman 3.

  2. Great review Vic, anybody who didn’t like this flick just doesn’t know how to have fun. BTW Raimi didn’t have full creative control on Spider-Man 3, So cut the guy some slack. how would you like to have your bosses cram stuff in your face that you have to do, then you get attacked for it by losers in their mom’s basement.

  3. I’m going to try to see it today, after work. It looks like it’s on it’s way out of the theaters, and I have a free ticket. I just hope I can stay awake.

  4. It was enjoyable to a point, and some extra credit is deserved (as in The Mist) for not wimping out on the ending, but two problems stand out. The movie as a whole was not really in the all-out Evil Dead 2 vein, and that made the one scene with the anvil stand out like a sore thumb (and was also a little repetitious after all that came before). More importantly, the “twist” could have been seen by a blind man, and just in case I hadn’t figured it out by myself, there were at least two people in the theater who I couldn’t help but overhear whispering the same to their friends. It was also somewhat contrived — If the dollar was such a find, wouldn’t he have put it in his collection right away??

  5. Finally got to see it, in a thunderstorm no less. I enjoyed it but I didn’t see that much humor in it like Army of Darkness; of course, I hadn’t seen that movie in a long time.

    ****** SPOILERS AHEAD! SPOILERS AHEAD *******

    I like the fact that Raimi ended the movie with the girl being condemned. Usually, Hollywood likes the rosey cum-bi-yah endings and it’s refreshing to sometimes see the protagonist loosing.

    In the initial scene, when the boy was taken, I thought the Latino woman was saying she would see the boy again but it was this Llamia dude she was talking about.

    @Eric
    Yeah, that was one of the few problems but I enjoyed it the whole time.

    To me, the funniest moments were the young women jumping and screaming during certain scenes. In my dating days (about 6 billion years ago :-) ), that’s why I would take a date to these type of movies. Also, what I would done, after finding out that the owner of the button is the one who gets taken, was give to someone I hated or like she finally did, give it to the corpse of the one who cursed me.

    ******* END SPOILER! END SPOILER *******

  6. NO particular Raimi fan, I did not see the Evil Dead stuff and I found Army of Darkness disappointing. The Spiderman films are great films but do not leave an author signature for me. Then I saw Drag me to Hell. Great great fun ! Not an horror, really, but a scary film with gross humour that constantly engages. I had a great experience watching this, a unique film with a big “author” signature, one of the highlights of the year so far.

  7. Hi everybody,
    Big Sam Raimi fan. **spoiler alert**

    When I first saw the Evil Dead Films I was blown away.
    and I really enjoyed “Drag Me to Hell” The only Raimi film I haven’t enjoyed was “Darkman” and I can’t rememeber why Maybe I should revisit that film.

    Anyway I’m all over the place.

    The point of my comment is that Raimi has a unique way of useing his camera as the point of view of the Horror which
    comes right at you and in your face, and to top it off his comedic timing is right on the money.

    Anyway don’t feel bad about our little actress in “drag me to hell” Campbell was suck in after Evil Dead II and came out even more empowered and kicked butt in “Army of Darkness.” So I’m sure our little actress will be battling in hell in the next installment.

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