Film review – Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Christine Brown (Alison Lohman)
Christine Brown (Alison Lohman)

Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is a likeable young woman whose one single act of greed inspired inhumanity results in her falling foul of a terrible curse. She has three days to rid herself of the curse before a demon will claim her soul. After considerable mainstream success with the Spider-Man films, director Sam Raimi has gone back to his roots with this incredibly fun horror film. Before Drag Me to Hell even begins, the appearance of the old Universal Pictures logo before the credits indicates that this is a film that will contain an element of nostalgia. Indeed the combination of the old-fashioned gypsy curse storyline with old-school scares very much makes Drag Me to Hell feel like something made during the late 1970s or early 1980s when American horror films were at a high point.

Drag Me to Hell is a classic Sam Raimi film with its wonderful sound design filled with maniacal laughter and screams, wild cinematography that often takes the point-of-view of the unseen demonic entity and special effects that combine make-up, prosthetics and simple CGIs. Many of the horror moments are hilariously disgusting and over-the-top, and the scares are fun rather than upsetting. Alison Lohman gives a terrific performance that is pitched perfectly within Drag Me to Hell’s subtly self-reflexive and slightly exaggerated tone. The basic storyline is simple and you can see the ending coming a mile off but with a film this well crafted it is not the destination that counts, but the journey. Drag Me to Hell is the best thing Sam Raimi has done since the Evil Dead films.

© Thomas Caldwell, 2009

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