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)

TAGS: 4 star movies, drag me to hell

38 Comments

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  1. Thank you, im gonna be there first thing in the morning :) Vic, does this give you good hopes towards Spider-Man 4?

  2. Are You Out of your Mind ? How could you say that Army of Darkness was the best of the Evil Dead Series? Evil Dead 2 is the Best.Sam Raimi should stick with his favourite Horror Genre in Future rather than directing any childish Movie like spiderman.

  3. This film couldn’t come at a better time. Mortgage bankers beware…

    Reminds me of a few Stephen King stories. 8-)

  4. Going to pick a Sunday to go watch this with my mom, right after church. Ha!

  5. That picture of Mrs. Ganush is highly disturbing. I can’t stand looking at it and I can’t look away. Please, make it stop. :(

  6. @Psyko, certain areas of downtown LA all the women look like that ,,,

    :-)

  7. After nothing but bad and boring movies since Evil Dead, i remain skeptical. Even the last two Dead movies sucked, so i suspect it’s not so much a case of lost it as never really had it.

  8. Probably going to end up watching it with my horror loving friends. Glad to here it’s good.

  9. i thought it was a lot of fun

  10. WTH? Why is it that so many people almost DEMAND HUMOR in a freaking HORROR film? Are you so chicken-hearted that you can’t handle a REAL horror film? In case you don’t get it…and obviously so many people don’t….that as soon as you put HUMOR into a HORROR movie, it stop being HORROR. It is now what people call “camp.” People who think horror should be “fun,” do not know what a horror movie is. If you walk out a theatre feeling great and entertained, you just saw camp. If you come out on edge, worried, or otherwise on edge, THAT’S HORROR. SOOOO, let’s just go back and remake Hellraiser with Pinhead tossing out one-liners every two minutes…..maybe the Aliens in the Alien movies should do stand-up while they slaughter people. Let’s have the Saw baddies all get together and do slapstick, like the Three Stooges. This way, all the people who can’t handle watching true horror movies will be satiated, and the rest of us can just buy dvd’s of the real horror movies from years past. This is the reason I can’t stand the Elm Street movies anymore. I have a real problem with the main antagonist doing stand -up while killing people. That’s NOT horror. It’s stupid. Want humor? Go rent Vacation or Caddyshack.

  11. @Charles Darwin
    To each his own. As long as the movie is good to you, have at it. You can call it what you want: camp, comedy/horror or just plain comedy. There’s no need to be belligerant.

    Thanks for the review Vic. Last week you disagreed with me that this movie would be number 2 for the weekend; do you still believe that?

  12. I agree with Charles to an extent, it has to be the type of director. For Raimi, his thing is great horror and stooges comedy. Whereas Clive Barker, that is FULL horror and if comedy was thrown into then it wouldnt work.

    Sometimes it is the viewer, we live in a sick society where a beheading can be considered funny to some. Just saying.

  13. @Richie Rich

    Well I’ll admit that I haven’t seen Evil Dead 2 in a LONG time, but Army of Darkness is the one that stuck for me.

    @Charles Darwin

    WHERE did I say in my review that a horror film HAS to have humor? I just said that is the style of these films and within that style, these films work as entertainment. I have NEVER said that horror movies MUST have humor. I absolutely love a good horror movie – The Exorcist, the original “Ring” movies (Japanese versions), etc.

    You seriously need to cut back on the caffeine, bud. 8)

    Vic

  14. Plan on seeing this this weekend. Surprised that the reviews are so good for a horror movie even with it being rated PG-13. I guess thats when you truly know it will be good. It doesn’t rely on cheap gimmicks and scares, its more to it.

  15. @craig

    It most certainly does rely on cheap gimmicks and scares. That’s Raimi’s style. It’s by no means a psychological horror. There is no underlying, “leave it to your imagination” style dread going on here. It’s all audio-visual style scares. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing as I absolutely loved this movie. Raimi knows how to mix dark comedy, scares, and gross-out moments perfectly to keep the pace quick and the viewer entertained. He knows how to avoid self-serious horror direction that alienates and bores the audience. Another little tidbit here- the sound effects and music were fantastic as well. It’s rare that I come out of a movie and think back on the sounds and music used.

    I couldn’t stop smiling after the movie was over, and I don’t remember the last time that has happened. No heavily lauded comedy or romance movie in recent years has been able to give me the same happiness that Raimi’s sub-two hour horror movie did :)

  16. this movie looked like it had stupid written all over it

  17. @790

    O_o

    Mental note: Don’t go to California.

    @Charles Darwin

    Breeeeeeeeaaaaaath… Okay, calm now?

    Your question is like asking why fiction movies exist, can’t we handle the pure truth? Well, sure we can, but that doesn’t mean some people don’t enjoy a good fiction film.

    Different genres appeal to different people and some people simply enjoy some good humor mixed in with their horror, but that doesn’t mean they don’t like pure horror as well. At the same time though, you’re right in saying that some people can’t handle “real horror,” which, repeat after me, is just fine. Without opinions life would be a blur of ignorant bliss(?).

    By no means does comedy in horror films mean that they’re messing up “your” horror films, the director is just making a film they meant it to be made. Iron Man isn’t a drama, The Big Leibowski isn’t a documentary (or maybe it is) and Drag Me To Hell isn’t a pure horror flick. None of it is wrong and none of it is an insult to you.

  18. Too bad this film is PG-13 , cuz I would have spent my hard earned 6 dollars to view it via theater. Now I’ll wait for the dollar theater or for dvd.

  19. “SIN187UM said,
    May 30th, 2009

    Too bad this film is PG-13 , cuz I would have spent my hard earned 6 dollars to view it via theater. Now I’ll wait for the dollar theater or for dvd.”

    I’m with you.For some reason I just can’t buy the fact that any “real” horror movie that’s supposed to actually be scary can be rated PG-13.I’ve seen the commercials and the blood looks like cherry Kool-Aide coming out of that guy’s mouth.

    I’m not saying that the movie is bad because of it’s wuss-out rating,but it’s just not a “go-to-the-theater” type of movie for me.

  20. Guys, don’t let the PG-13 dissuade you. I had concerns about that as well but it was still great.

    Vic

  21. It’s not a “real” horror movie. It’s a horror comedy. The blood, goo, and various other things put in there are to be gross and make the audience laugh.

    And besides, any “real” horror movie that’s effectively scared its audience didn’t do it by utilizing R-rated gore and violence. That isn’t scary. It’s just what unimaginative directors use when they don’t know how to properly use characters, cinematography, dialogue, or the other fundamentals to create a creepy atmosphere. They resort to cliche gore and violence.

    But once again, this wasn’t a straitlaced horror film. It was a dark comedy mixed with some horror. It didn’t need an R rating to achieve what I, and the majority, think it was trying to achieve- shameless horror-comedy entertainment.

  22. I loved it.
    I was on edge, and felt very uncomfortable the whole time I was watching it, I was almost in dread of the next scare scene, and that has not happened in a very long time. the first sequence was awesome, and I think Raimi should do the next silent hill movie (though if he does do the next silent hill movie, no humor). I agree completely with Mr. Holtreman’s review. See this movie!

  23. Real horror movie, horror/humor? Sounds like movie racism.
    I Saw this movie Holy God! I Mean it did make me laugh a few times but, it was normally mocking humor making the antagonist seem more powerful. Raimi was just making a great movie, creating some sceans that make you chuckle but still make you feel terror. Just part of his genius simple as that.

  24. Well I was drug to see the movie today, so I avoided paying the 6 dollars I spoke about earlier. The movie was decent. I’d probably give it 3.5 – 3.75 stars because the ending was predictable, and again an R rating would have taken the film a bit further in terms of gore, and I feel cheated on not seeing the full demon. I’d still recommend waiting for the dollar theater or for the hopefully unrated director’s cut dvd.

  25. Well, Vic was right….again; the movie came in 3rd, not 2nd as I predicted. I guess I didn’t see the interest in Night at the Museum 2.

    Vic, do I send the cookie to your house or your business? 8-)

  26. @SIN
    So you drugged when you saw this movie? No wonder you didn’t like. Was it meth or smack? ;-)

  27. I would definitely like to see this, but I will probably wait unitl it comes to video. I can’t wait for Raimi to come back to horror all together. I have enjoyed the spiderman movies, but I agree this is his best genre. I hope that he decides to add the Evil Dead trilogy and bring back Bruce! Grooooooooooovy!

  28. @Kahless

    No cookies, I’m working hard on getting buff. :-P

    Vic

  29. POSSIBLE SPOILERAGE!

    So, I’ve seen it now and I thought it was great. The only area I thought could use some improvement was the ending. It ended how it should have (even though I really didn’t want to see that happen), but the events leading up to it were as predictable as humanly possible. As soon as they put the button in an envelope, I had the rest of the movie playing through my head. I’d have loved for a quick twist right there, at the very end, where Long reaches into the envelope and it suddenly cuts to Goat Devil Dude dragging down Mrs. Ganush. That, I would have not seen coming.

    I think it’s time for a sequel. Possibly where, let’s just throw a name out here, Bruce Campbell storms the joint (hell) with, oh, I don’t know, maybe a shotgun and chainsaw in tow and rescues the taken souls. ;)

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