Sam Raimi, USA, 2009, 99 min.
Sam Raimi said that after Spider Man 3, he wanted to do an old school horror movie like the Evil Dead films that made him famous. He kept his promise with Drag Me to Hell.
With the current glut of horror films from all over the world, it is hard to be fresh and new. But Raimi is aware of that. He gives us a standard serious supernatural horror story, but puts an undercurrent of comedy through the whole thing. This film is funny. Very funny. And because the humor isn’t obvious, it is still scary as well.
Alison Lohman plays a young woman who runs afoul of an old gypsy and gets cursed with a demon. This particular demon torments the accursed for three days until it drags them to hell.
The bulk of the film is her getting tormented and coming up with increasingly desperate ways to get rid of the demon. Her strain is complimented by the calm practicality of her professor boyfriend. She does a good job portraying her rollercoaster of a mental state, and he (Justin Long) does a good job being sympathetic and caring. You want them to be happy, but the script keeps throwing up more and more potholes in their way.
Raimi knew what type of movie he was making. The story is serious, but the film goes over-the-top at just the right moments. It is if Raimi said “I’ve seen this scene a million times in other films, how can I make this one interesting?” That’s what makes the film good. It is filled with standard horror tropes that are presented assuredly and given the right twists that horror fans will really appreciate.