Raimi may be better known now for his exploits in the Marvel world of Spiderman, but Drag me to Hell sees him return to his horror roots to show the new generation just how it’s done.
Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is a pleasant but meek loan officer who in trying to show her boss some cut-throat assertiveness, inadvertently shames an old gypsy woman, who curses her in return. With her soul now destined to be dragged to Hell (as the title suggests), Christine must find a way to appease the demon and save her soul.
The plot is reminiscent to the Stephen King adaptation, Thinner (1996), and may be straightforward, but it is always in motion. And really, do you need much more explanation than – the protagonist needs to stop herself from being dragged to hell?
If the last few years have shown anything, it is that modern horror has forgotten that what is truly terrifying on screen is what cannot be seen. Unfortunately, now for every Drag me to Hell or The Mist there seem to be five Saw or Hostel films released… a scary proposition indeed.
But Raimi, who will always be known for his emergence into the film world with the Evil Dead trilogy, shows exactly why he is considered a master of horror. Sticking to simple tactics to scare up frights, it is impressive just how startling a scene can be that consists of the standard ‘silence followed by loud noise’ cliché. Certainly shock has always been one of Raimi’s strongest aspects, and when coupled with his genius employment of ‘slow pan and quick zoom’ cinematography, you are in for a terrifyingly bumpy ride.
Drag me to Hell contains the classic trait of any Sam Raimi film: the ability to quickly move between horror, slapstick action, gross-out moments and comedy. Which harks back to times when horror kept us on our toes rather than squirming in our seats. This is a very refreshing reversal indeed… and one that will hopefully lead to more filmmakers following suit rather than producing more formulaic Slasher movies.
But what stands out in the end is that Drag me to Hell is an impressively finished, well paced product with all the high-end values of a Hollywood film while maintaining a low-budget horror feel to it. Exactly what you want from a true horror master.
Did Drag me to hell have you running for the hills, or leave you wanting more? Let us know what you think.