Drag me to the Cinema

You can stop asking Sam Raimi when he’s going to make Evil Dead 4 now. Essentially, he already did. He just chose to call it Drag Me to Hell. Following the high-budget blockbuster hijinks of the Spider-man trilogy, this really represents Raimi cutting free and breaking loose. Drag me to Hell is – to coin a movie reviewing cliché – a white knuckle rollercoaster ride from start to finish. The king is back.

An adorable Alison Lohman plays Christine Brown, a loans officer potentially facing promotion at the bank where she works. Life is good, as the tagline proclaims, she has a good job and a great boyfriend (Justin Long). Unfortunately, thanks to a certain promotion-chasing decision, she’s going to hell in three days.

Obviously having never watched Thinner, Christine makes the mistake of pissing off an old gypsy lady (and attacking her with a stapler, for good measure). After an inspired set piece in a car park, the gypsy unleashes a particularly nasty curse upon Christine; condemning her to be dragged to hell by a soul-eating ‘lamia’ demon. Christine has three days to break the curse.

Raimi isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel here. He merely takes old horror staples and works them to great effect. Drag me to Hell is an old-school ghost story which harks back thematically and stylistically to EC comics’ nastiness.

It may only be rated PG13 (15 in the UK) but never once does it feel lacking. While Raimi is light on the blood and gore, he more than makes up for it with scenes of deadite-style possessions, constant vomiting, (offscreen) animal murder and repeated looney tunes inspired violence (a character even has an anvil fall on their head). It’s a welcome break from the usual torture shenanigans of most modern horror.

No pun intended, I had a hell of a time with Drag me to Hell. It’s fun where most modern horror tends to be dour and mean-spirited, and a nice contrast to the dull J-horror of which the storyline could seem like a distant offshoot.

On a more depressing note, Drag me to Hell failed to top the UK charts thanks to the forces of Night at the Museum 2. Fuck humanity.

5/5 screaming Scream Queens!!!

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