Monday, June 15, 2009

Movie Review - "Drag Me To Hell"

Sam Raimi returns to horror filmmaking with his latest effort “Drag Me To Hell.” Now I’m fairly unfamiliar with his horror work having never seen the “Evil Dead” series, which should tell you a lot about what I think of this film. There is obviously an inside joke here that I didn't get and unless your a hardcore fan of horror films and Sam Raimi, you probably won't get it either.

Now here’s my thing about horror films, there are two kinds: those that scare you, and those that startle you. This one is a startler. I hate being startled. When something pops up accompanied by a loud sound I think it’s just rude. But that's just me. What do you I know? So I obviously have a bias right off the bat and with that said, here's the synopsis:

Bank loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) gets a curse casted on her by a misterious gypsy lady, Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver), after “shaming her” by refusing to renew the mortgage on her home after she begged on her knees. Her reasons for doing so, she wants the Assistant Manager position that is open at the bank. Otherwise she totally would’ve given it to this woman who she just saw stealing candy from her desk and has been granted two previous loans in the past. I don't know, to me that's a character flaw.

So then weird stuff starts to happen to Christine. Her skeptical, yet caring boyfriend, Clay (Justin Long, yeah the Apple guy), doesn't believe in the weird events that she describes and thinks they are just coincidences. Christine seeks out the aid of psychic Rham Jas (Dileep Rao). But Christine doesn't have much time to spare. Will she be damned for eternity, or will she break the spell on time before being... dragged to hell.

While watching this movie, I wasn’t sure that what was happening was really happening. I was hoping that towards the end Raimi would give us a twist that would justify the rediculous occurances that I just sat through. In fact, the complete opposite happens. Without going into detail, basically everything that happens in the film really didn’t need to happen. The film could’ve really just skipped to the end from the moment Rham tells her she is cursed. There’s nothing more upsetting than sitting through a film and realizing that you really didn’t need to sit through it. Tim Burton did this in “Big Fish” and it ruined the beauty of the film for me. In this case, it just made me dislike it more. That's twice that a film with Alison Lohman in it does that. What's the deal? Is it an inside joke that i just don't get?

One of the many ludicrous occurances in the film was a scene where Christine digs out a six foot grave in the rain BY HERSELF... that's redicuous... I mean really? What's the deal with that. I guess I'm more confused because Sam Raimi was so dedicated to the form that this film took on. And we all know that he is a director capable of making a totally entertaining movie. So what... I...

There's another scene where she has a nose bleeds that squirts all over her desk, the floor and even on her boss and all he had to say was, "did I get any in my mouth?" She comes in the next day and it's as though none of it happened... but I... I... I don't get it.

There’s another scene where the Apple guy’s mother (yes that's what Im going to call him) calls him at his office and starts ranting about how he needs to find a good girl and stop dating those ditsy chicks, refering to his current girlfriend Christine. The whole time she is on speaker phone while Christine is standing right outside the hall. She just left the office so it’s obvious that he would know she is still close by. Hello! How about taking her off speaker phone! A non-credible way of establishing relationships. Yet Raimi dedicated to it and neve asks for forgiveness.

I guess you need people like me who just don't get it in order to keep this cult movie as just that, a cult movie. If you loved Sam Raimi's past horror films then you're going to love this. I guess it's sort of like my relationship with "Kill Bill." I loved it because I got it. I understood the movie references and I understood Tarantino's style as a filmmaker. Many people hated "Kill Bill" simply because the film references went right over their heads.

So while I understand that this is a horror movie for and by people who love the genre, I'm gonna have to give it a negative review. This one want right over my head. I'm gonna put Raimi's "Evil Dead" series in my Netflix cue, then I'll get back to this one.

1 comment:

  1. I guess this film is somehow unsettling and is asking you to do work and think. Watching the opening sequence in the bank, I actually thought it was slow. For some reason, I was expecting something "more." I guess I was thrown off by this because when action started to pick up, I was just like OK, I've seen this before. Maybe that's the beauty of it. I agree with you that there is something to the genre of horror that requires viewing through a different lens.