Sam Raimi does it again! What a masterpiece! In the sea of mediocre and watered-down movies, he showed what a mainstream horror movie should look like. Drag Me to Hell is an exquisitely gory and stylish mixture of action, horror, and comedy (mostly slapstick). I just loved the sleek visual style with saturated colors and heavy use of CGI. Yes, you read that right, I loved the CGI in this movie. It somehow felt more natural than in other, similar movies. And, I’ll say it, it was just fun. Striking a perfect balance between realism and the surreal nature of the scenes, it was one of the highlights of this movie.
After years and years of awesome practical effects, it would appear that Raimi fully embraced the new technology. Although I still love his early works like The Evil Dead trilogy using only practical effects. Drag Me to Hell is a movie following Christine, a loan officer who’s cursed by an elderly Gypsy woman. The storytelling is tight, the pacing fast and the camera work exquisite. And with a running time of just 90 minutes, this movie will be over before you know it. It has this vibrant atmosphere that just sucks you into its strange supernatural world. I would compare it to a ride in an amusement park, it is that good.
We oftentimes forget just how important sound editing is in movies. Here, it was pitch-perfect, working in tandem with those glossy visuals to scare the crap out of you. This means that we will be focusing on jump-scares since the atmosphere was more entertaining than frightening. A fair trade-off, if I might add. Drag Me to Hell is a PG-13 movie but this doesn’t mean there won’t be gory and nasty scenes. The violence and blood were a bit toned down to get this rating, however, if you get your hands on the director’s cut, you will get the full experience.
Additionally, if you have the pull and the money, you can get away with anything. And they definitely had both of those things here and then some. It would appear that Raimi decided to go in Peter Jackson’s direction and used special effects and gore in a rather aloof and fun fashion. For example, there’s a running gag about some kind of disgusting fluid always ending up in Christine’s mouth. These scenes and a couple of others reminded me of Jackson’s early movies like Braindead and Bad Taste.
Christine Brown works at a bank as a loan officer and she’s really good at her job. This is why she’s doing everything she can to get that promotion to assistant manager of this branch. However, one faithful day all of this will change. After an incident with one of her customers, Christine was cursed with a terrible fate. If she doesn’t do anything about the curse, she will go straight to hell in just three days. And the clock is already ticking…
I will spare the whole old world meets corrupt modern world spiel as it’s pretty obvious. Instead, I would like to emphasize just how much I loved Alison Lohman here. Where was she all these years and why she isn’t a bigger star? Alison absolutely nailed her role, just like Justin Long who started his career with another cool horror movie, Jeepers Creepers. David Paymer and Bojana Novakovic were also great.
Drag Me to Hell is not your usual horror comedy as it focuses on some truly gross-out situations to generate humor. The confrontation between Christine and Grandma Ganush in the underground parking garage is a perfect example. I have never seen such creative yet gleefully disgusting scenes in any other movie. At the same time, you want to look away and see every last outrageous detail. If you’re looking for movies like Drag Me to Hell, I suggest you start with Planet Terror and Feast.