Movie Review: Drag Me to Hell

“Good sounds abound when the mouth is round.”

“You shamed me!”

Drag Me to Hell is completely ludicrous, although there is something satisfying in the fact that even the child in the beginning wasn’t safe from the great evil. Children normally seem to be considered faux pas, even in horror movies—constantly chased, but never actually picked off by the baddies. Innocence emerging victorious over wickedness, and all that. Apparently Sam Rami doesn’t hold to the usual sanctity of children.

This is the story of a small-town girl (Alison Lowman) just trying to make it in the ruthless, cutthroat world of loan application. She is the innocent, love-her-fellow-man type, but when she tries to get a raise, she tries to imitate the rest of the pricks and violates one of our key no-no rules of survival instinct: she pisses off a sick old gypsy lady. Naturally, Ms. Gypsy isn’t your traditional happy grandma—and turns out to be a psychotic curse spewing vengeance seeker that goes through a lot of work to see that our dear heroine gets, well, dragged to hell.

Entertaining, though. From the absolutely disgusting characterization of our very blatantly evil gypsy, to watching her try to gum the heroine to death, and the sheer ridiculousness of a talking, biting devil-goat, Raimi knows how to draw the laughs from you.

Scary? No, certainly not. I don’t care what the big boys in the reviewing world may say. Given, I’ve never been the horror movie type—since puberty hit I’ve not seen a horror movie yet that doesn’t exist for one of two things, in my opinion: pure comedy, or to waste my dear sweet time. This movie is good precisely because it plays on the former—the absurdity of these sorts of movies. This is B-movie comedy, so if that’s what you’re into, you’ll probably have a giggle. If not, move on.

True to form, there are plenty of fake scares, leading up to the “big” moments, which are themselves not unexpected. You know when the bad is about to go down and even the ending isn’t exactly a wild twist—although it is somewhat satisfying. Happy joy-joy? I don’t think so.

And no, it doesn’t end on some unkillable monster’s bloody eyes opening. Thank God for small favors.

Certainly, it’s more eventful than Paranormal Activity was. The demons and the escalation are also much more satisfying. Naturally, since Sam Raimi’s the captain at the helm, the special effects are top notch—and disgust is over the top.  As director, he gives the movie good flow and direction; and the movie is well-spliced and edited. The plot is nothing to look at, but if you’re going to a horror movie I can’t expect that’s what you were looking for anyways.

The characters are generic, but amusing in their own ways. The good, innocent girl driven to do evil to save her own neck (PETA will undoubtedly scream bloody murder on her), the disbelieving but loving boyfriend (Justin Long, ever the good guy), and some very, very evil gypsies. Of course, I can’t imagine any real gypsies would enjoy their portrayals here, but…pretty much everyone’s had potshots taken at them by horror flicks, so hopefully they won’t take it personally.

In closing: good to see with a group, if you’re in it for the comedy value, and if you are a skittish horror lover, you’ll probably actually appreciate the cheap scares. Got a date? Well, this probably isn’t for that—horror movies have a rep for that sort of thing, but this one is a bit too disgusting to keep anybody in the mood.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

~ by Chris G. on April 17, 2010.

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