Friday, June 19, 2009

Review: Drag Me to Hell

Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Genre: Horror
Format: Theatrical Release
Director: Sam Raimi

My significant other and I couldn't decide on what to watch as we arrived at the movie theater today. There was a change in our plans so we arrived at the theater earlier than anticipated. I was actually thinking of Disney's Up but then Drag Me to Hell came up during the discussion so we decided to go watch it even though during a previous conversation, we have agreed to wait for its home release. As a horror movie fan, Drag Me to Hell should have been a significant movie for me but ever since its premier late last month, I wasn't too thrilled about Sam Raimi's comeback to horror. I have heard so many great things about the movie but I wasn't convinced when I found out that the movie was rated PG-13. That is usually an indication that the horror movie is tame enough for everyone to enjoy without offending anyone in the process. After the brilliance of his Evil Dead series, I thought that this would be a possible stinker. I was wrong - this PG-13 movie is very evil and I love it.

Drag Me to Hell tells a story of Christine Brown, a loan officer who is cursed by an elderly gypsy woman whose application for a home loan extension was denied by Christine. The curse has a 3 day lifespan where the cursed person's life is made into a living hell and it ends with that individual being literally dragged down to hell by a demon. This may sound like a cookie-cutter plot but it is packed full of horrific scenes that will remain as some of the most genius moments in horror movie history. Even though things are less gory here, the same sensation of glee and terror that were accomplished in Raimi's Evil Dead movies have effectively made it into Drag Me to Hell. Raimi - with the help of his brother/co-writer Ivan - has concocted a horror movie that is not only creatively scary but also brilliantly hilarious at the same time. There is zero cheap scare moment and every single scene is executed with a high degree of cinematic precision that can rarely be found across all movie genres. There are a lot of vicious physical gags in the film that are not only disgusting to watch but also strangely comical due to their over-the-top nature. The movie's usage of sound is also terrific because they are not used to invoke unnecessary scare or a build-up to such end. Instead, many of the noises you hear make perfect sense in the context of the storyline and they have an immediate impact over the audience's reactions. Drag Me to Hell will have you screaming and laughing until its terrific ending that I can only describe as a perfectly satisfying bravura that will have you begging on your knees for more horror movies from Raimi.

If you are a horror fan who have not seen this film, do yourself a favor and watch it immediately. Even the casual moviegoers who are just looking for a good movie to watch will find plenty to enjoy here. Sam Raimi has always been a horror director at heart and this movie proves that. Even though I enjoy his recent Spider-Man films, I never consider them to be great but at least they successfully brought him to the center of the mainstream market. Raimi tends to overplay his favorite web-crawler and these movies always get crush under their own weight midway through the screenings. With a new Evil Dead announced, I hope that he will refocus on making more horror movies because he has some serious mastery over the genre. As we were stepping out of theater, my significant other expressed to me the desire to buy Drag Me to Hell when it gets a home release - this coming from a person who doesn't believe in owning a movie. Yes, it is that good.

RATING: 5 out of 5

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