DVD of the Week – Review of Drag Me to Hell (2009)
by NIR SHALEV
Writer/director Sam Raimi is most famous for his Spider-Man trilogy, although for many others his Evil Dead trilogy stands out more. It was between the making of the second and third films in that series, Evil Dead2: Dead by Dawn (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992), that he came up with the idea for another wacky and devilishly hilarious horror flick. Drag Me to Hell possesses the soul of the Three Stooges and all the fun of the Looney Tunes cartoons. Raimi waited a couple of decades to unleash this masterpiece and it’s as good as his early work.
Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is a successful loan officer at a bank, has a loving boyfriend (Justin Long) and is hoping to make a good impression on his parents. But in order to impress her boss (David Paymer) and possibly receive a promotion to Assistant Manager, she turns down an old gypsy’s (Lorna Raver) application to take out a third mortgage on her house. The gypsy attacks Christine in the parking lot and places a curse upon her, one that will cause a demonic spirit called the Lamia to aggravate and torment her for three days. On the fourth day she will he dragged down to hell. That sounds like Sam Raimi all right.
The premise is simple and the execution is almost flawless because the film doesn’t take itself seriously even for a second. The only bit of realism is that Christine seems like a regular person, just like one of us; I suppose the moral is that this could happen to anyone. Drag Me to Hell has a PG-13 rating for the content and loony violence but it never steps wrong. It is hilarious, especially when concocting action sequences and it does have a few moments when the soundtrack is guaranteed to make audiences jump.
The only feature is a production diary, in which we see some aspects of the behind the scenes filmmaking. The special effects are more practical and physical than computer generated, and we see how a film as extravagant and visually inventive as this can be shot entirely within a studio.
Other new releases this week: Adoration, Land of the Lost, The Proposal