Drag Me To Hell – Movie Review
- Directed by Sam Raimi
- Starring Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao and Adriana Barazza
I’m not exactly Johnny on the spot with this review, but since it was the last thing I saw in theaters (and possibly the only ËœSummer Ëœ09′ film I’ll bother with theatrically) I figured I should at least try to knock together a review.
After an opening set in 1968, in which a young boy is the subject of a sÃ©ance in which a medium unsuccessfully attempts to thwart a demon’s efforts to take his soul, we jump to present day to meet our heroine.
Christine (Lohman) is a loan officer angling for a promotion, though her inherently nice personality is working against her in the race for a promotion against another employee, and her boss has no problems with playing that to his advantage at every turn. When she asks him about the promotion, he tells her that he’s just not sure if she has what it takes to make the tough, unpleasant decisions that the position would require.
Left to mull that one over, Christine finds herself confronted with a disheveled (and wholly repulsive, if one is being honest) Gypsy woman named Mrs. Ganush (Raver), who is on the verge of losing her home. Ganush explains her situation being due to an illness, and desperately asks for a third extension on her mortgage. Seeing this as her opportunity to prove herself to her manager, and obviously against her instincts, Christine tells her that there’s nothing that she can do, which very nearly drives the old woman Ëœround the bend.
Mrs. Ganush throws herself to the floor, begging her to help her, telling her that she’s a proud woman, but for this she’s willing to beg, even tugging and kissing at the hem of her skirt. When Christine still refuses, she goes absolutely apeshit in traditional Raimi fashion, complete with Deadite sound effects and security forces her from the building.
Christine notices the woman’s car in the parking structure when she leaves for the day and edges towards her own vehicle with caution, only to be attacked by Mrs. Ganush, who is hiding in her back seat. The ensuing struggle includes the best use of a stapler as a weapon I’ve ever seen and ends with Mrs. Ganush tearing a button from Christine’s jacket, which she says a mumbling incantation over before forcing it back into Christine’s hands. After the customary reports are filed with building security, Christine leaves with her boyfriend Clay (Long), who tries to comfort her as best he can, talking her down from her hectic day.
Heading back to their car, Christine is drawn to a fortune teller’s shop, and Clay reluctantly humors her. Rham Jas (Rao), the fortune teller they meet seems at first to be something of the con artist that Clay is expecting, but he quickly becomes visibly troubled and tells her that she has a dark spirit upon her and rushes her out because he is unable to help her.
Clay is the customary skeptic, laughing it off (which I suppose is easy when it’s not your dark spirit) and he drops her back at her house (they have an oddly distant relationship, maintaining separate residences), where she is eventually attacked by an chaotic force, which she only sees as a goat shadow on the walls of her home.
Clay thinks she was attacked by Mrs. Ganush, and a psychologist assures them that she could be reliving her past stress, but after increasingly strange events, Christine goes to the home of Mrs. Ganush to try and sort things out, only to find her relatives holding a wake: the old woman is dead, she ain’t gonna be removing any curses anytime soon folks.
Rham is able to tell her that the demon haunting her is called Lamia, and after three days of torment and abuse, it will take her soul to hell. He eventually employs the services of the medium we saw at the beginning of the film, Shaun San Dena (Barazza) in a desperate bid to trap the demon in another living creature, leading to more Deadit-styled action and a possessed Billy Goat, which is just awesome. Christine fights against time to rid herself of the demon by whatever means necessary, and Raimi puts this waifish little girl through about as much punishment as he does Bruce Campbell in the Evil Dead films, it’s a rather wild ride.
Alison Lohman is great as the girl next door type, and it’s interesting to watch her become increasingly desperate in her situation, as well as her ability to handle the physical abuse she’s put through by the Lamia, it’s a splattery, gross-out filled film and she comes through it like a trooper.
Sam Raimi has made a fun little film that has as many laughs as it does chills, even if lots of said chills are the somewhat cheap jump-scares: he still makes it fun.
Give it a look.
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