Drag Me to Hell
Sam Raimi’s history with the Spiderman trilogy lulled me into a false sense of possibility. Trailers for Drag Me to Hell showed real potential and I had high hopes. I was subjected to a film so utterly disgusting that even my husband and 15 year-old-son, huge fans of Raimi’s Evil Dead series, were grossed out.
The plot, your standard anger-the-gypsy-woman-and-get-cursed-then-fight-a-demon-for-your-soul plot, had merit. Alison Lohman as Christine Brown does an adequate job of being terrified by events surrounding her. There are some fantastic scenes that startle the popcorn right off your lap. After her initial fight with the old gypsy hag, Lohman does little more than get slammed around by the mostly invisible demon spirit pursuing her.
The movie would have been fantastically terrifying had they left the gypsy women out of it after she utters the curse. Every time she appears on screen, there is some sort of projectile vomiting or other gross-out technique employed to make the audience sick. Seriously, Sam Raimi has some sort unfulfilled oral fixation. Every manner, color and content of vomit imaginable is spewed out in this film. Once for shock value would have been enough but it seems to go on and on. Could he think of nothing else?
The gore is there, if you like that kind of thing, for the sake of gore. One scene has our heroine standing in the lobby of the bank with a trickle of blood running from her nose. It turns into a geyser and she ends up spraying seemingly gallons of blood everywhere for other reason than its gross. Nothing happened to her. The demon isn’t present. Raimi just thought buckets of blood shooting out of a pretty girl’s nose was funny or scary, I guess.
Another scene which demonstrates how ridiculous the movie gets has Christine once again being assaulted by the gypsy woman in her garage. She looks over and in Wile E. Coyote fashion, sees a rope, which travels through a pulley, which is suspending an anvil. You guessed it. The anvil is directly over the woman’s head. She manages to cut the rope and crush the gypsy – again. Now don’t all young twenty-something-year-olds have anvils hanging from pulleys in their garages?
The entire cast, Alison Lohman, Justin Long, David Paymer, Dileep Rao, Adriana Barraza and even Lorna Raver as the gypsy are quite good when they are allowed to perform and not merely act as props for the gross barrage of tricks used in this film.
It’s too bad Raimi felt compelled to go for another gross-out film. The terror he created in certain scenes was palpable and the movie could have gone down in history as a horror classic. Now, it’s just classically horrible.