Sunday, November 22, 2009

Drag Me To Hell Review (2009)

After taking a hiatus from horror movies, to work on the summer popcorn Spiderman franchise, Raimi decided to head back to his roots with Drag Me To Hell. But once you leave can you go back? Of course you can! In fact Ivan Raimi and Sam Raimi had written and talked about the film before Sam ditched to work on Spiderman. Its okay Sam, we forgive you. Raimi has stated that he wanted the film to be rated PG-13 on purpose. Saying that he didn't want the main appeal to be blood and gore, as he had done that before. Even though it does move away from the gore aspect we have come to know and love from Raimi, it still does deliver on subtle and dark humor. Casting Justin Long was a good start, but...I don't know, it seemed a little lack-lustery to me.

Raimi can continue to make horror movies if he likes, or he can continue to make Spiderman movies if he likes. It doesn't matter, the Spiderman movies obviously make tons of money, and Raimi does a great job directing them. When he does come back to horror though, he previous films have been a little shakey, The Gift, The Quick and The Dead, and Darkman all failed finacially at the box-office. However, with Drag Me To Hell having a budget of 30 million, and making 80 million, you can expect Raimi to Drag You To Hell Again

The plot is simple. A loan officer is competing for a managers position at the bank she is working at. Its down to her and another man named Stu (I think..?), later in her day, an eldery woman comes into the bank, wishing for an extension on her loan, even though the bank has already given her two extensions before. Wanting to impress her boss by showing him that she can make tough decisions, she decides to deny the old woman an extensions, thus foreclosing her home. As it turns out, this old woman is actually a hungarian gyspsy, and she decides that its time to use her gyspsy powers, and put a curse on this young girl. The curse lasts for three days, each day increasing in devilish torment, and on the fourth day, a spirit will come to take to burn in hell for all of eternity. Shit, now she actually has to do some work. I like the story, its quick, its easy, and its fun. Raimi always has a great eye for mythos and charaters and it definatly shows.

The acting in the film was decent at best. The main role of Christen Brown was played by newcomer Alison Lohman, she did an alright job, but she seemed almost too hollywood for my taste. Kind of typical auginu, but who knows, maybe I'm just a dick. But, I guess that Raimi had to take what he could get, when his original planned actess -Ellen Page, of Juno- dropped out due to a scheduling conflict, and I think that she would have done an excellent. Justin Long plays Christen's boyfriend, he was funny in the few scenes that he was in, but it was your regular boyfriend role where he said basically "I feel sorry for you, but I don't believe you!"

While the film was made to be a PG-13 movie, it did have quite a bit of blood and gore in it. Such as VERY killer nose-bleed, exploding eyes, and staplers to the face. So, that obviously mean that the movie tends to be a jump-scare based movie. I say this, because the MPAA gives R ratings to more mature movies with tension, because they usually deal with more mature subject matter, such as sex, and often have more language, and that is what Americans are afraid of and...ahhhh, I'll save this for some sort of topical rant.

For some reason, I felt that the pacing for this movie was off too. I don't know it it's just Raimi or what, but with both of the movies I've reviewed by him, the pacing just seems off. In this one it began pretty quick, then slowed way down, and then picked way up, and it was just strange. I don't know if it was the story, or the diolouge or whatever, it just bothered me. However, a positive of the movie was the effects. While the blood and gore described above were all done in classic on-set practical effects, while the other monsters and ghouls where done with CG, greenscreen, water puppets, and tons of other classic, and cool effect styles.
Overall, while Drag Me To Hell was better than a lot of your typical B-Movies, and a lot of popular horror films that have come out recently with the PG-13 rating, it still wasn't as good as I had hoped and expected. The acting wasn't that good, the pacing was off, and it seemed very rushed, and had a dissapointing ending, but great effects, and a cool main story save this movie from total destruction, while I hope that I don't get drug into seeing this again, it was better than actually getting dragged to hell.


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