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Friday, May 29, 2009

Drag Me To Hell - review

'Mrs. Ganush' from Drag Me To Hell - Click to see larger version and full gallery on www.horror-movies.ca

Ladies and Gentlemen, Sam Raimi is back! If you are a fan of the Evil Dead and Army of Darkness movies, then I really think you will love this.  I know that I did.  I'm glad that he took a break from Spider-man to give us this horror masterpiece. The only thing that disappointed me about this movie, which I don't really consider a spoiler but something I can mention to you so that you won't have to look for him the whole movie, is that unfortunately Bruce Campbell doesn't make a cameo appearance.  I even waited through the end credits hoping that maybe there would be a bonus scene at the end that included him but no such luck.  According to the trivia page on IMDb.com, he was busy on Burn Notice and declined.

This was not Justin Long's first horror movie, since he was in Jeepers Creepers, so it was nice to see him here as a horror movie veteran of sorts.  I thought he did a great job as the supportive boyfriend.  This is the first movie that I can recall seeing Alison Lohman in, but I will be sure to remember her name after this. (I see she was also in The Thirteenth Floor, but that was 10 years ago!) I thought she played her role really well, and she's really beautiful. I really think she's got that "girl next door" look to her and not in the way that Playboy has misconstrued the term.

Now, it's time to enter spoiler territory. More after the picture.

Alison Lohman as 'Christine Brown' in Drag Me To Hell - Click to see larger version and full gallery on www.horror-movies.ca

The movie opens up jumping right into the backstory. It's 1969 and a child has stolen a silver necklace from a gypsy woman. The parents tried to give it back, but she cursed their son anyway. They waited three days before bringing him to this woman who is a medium. Unfortunately, the curse only lasts three days before the Lamia literally drags you to hell. Since the parents waited too long, the medium gets to witness the boy's fate and vows to face the Lamia again later. Cut to opening credits!

What I love about Raimi is that beyond his extraordinary camera work/technique, he's obviously a Three Stooges fan. This was clearly evident in Army of Darkness, and although it doesn't bleed through as much in Drag Me To Hell, you can still see it a little.  In the seriousness of the moment as the parents are trying to protect their child, the demon throws them around to get to the boy and takes the time to smack the father twice across the face.

So you know what happens next because you've seen the previews. You've seen that Christine (Alison's character) wants the new position so she turns down the gypsy woman's loan. Thankfully, the trailer doesn't spoil all of this scene because it works out so beautifully.  Oh, and when security escorts Mrs. Ganush out of the bank you see her car. What the hell is she driving?! Is that the car from Evil Dead?? Sweet!

The next part that the trailer alludes to but doesn't completely spoil is the fight where Mrs. Ganush attacks Christine in the parking garage. This fight is AWESOME!! You will have flashbacks of Ash in the cabin.  If this isn't mentioned at next year's MTV Movie Awards for best fight, I just don't know if I can respect them.

I mentioned earlier that I believe that Raimi is a Three Stooges fan.  Well, where he started going for slapstick in Evil Dead 2 and really went for it in Army of Darkness, in this movie he leans more towards the gross-out factor.  I wonder how many different items/substances Alison Lohman had in her mouth during the filming of this movie. Wow.

I really like how the Raimi brothers wrote Clay (Justin's character) in this movie.  He wasn't the dick boyfriend. Sure, he couldn't see or experience everything that she did for the three days that she was being tormented, but he still stood by her. And for him also being a psychology professor, that's pretty freaking amazing.

The three days are almost up and Christine finally decides to take matters into her own hands, which leads to some potential acts of sad desperation before moving on to a very smart move of revenge.  After her grave vandalism, I really didn't expect the movie to end the way it did.  I mean, there were mentions of a cabin and it being in the woods, so I thought that might be teased at the end. Instead though… wow. I should have seen it coming. Part of me knew it, but I was willing to allow myself to be surprised, so when it ended, my mouth flew open.

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