Written by Ivan Raimi and Sam Raimi
Directed by Sam Raimi
Starring Alison Lohman, Justin Long and Lorna Raver
I just recently left a job at a bank and after seeing DRAG ME TO HELL, I sure am glad I did. This lovely, young woman, Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), tries so hard. She goes to work every day and does her best to impress her boss so she can get that promotion. She bakes family cake recipes from scratch to bring with her when she meets her boyfriend’s parents for the first time. She’s just trying to carve out a little spot for herself in the world. And then one day, in order to show her boss that she can make the hard decisions necessary in these trying economic times, she refuses to give an ill, elderly lady a third extension on her mortgage payments. Christine chooses personal career growth over human compassion and subsequently, Christine must go straight to hell.
The elderly lady is a Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver, who is absolutely repulsive and terrifying at all times). She comes from gypsies and she will have none of this behaviour. She knows that Christine could have done right by her had she really wanted to and so decides that Christine no longer deserves to live. In a turn that isn’t nearly taken as often as it should these days, Mrs. Ganush places a curse on Christine. The curse, as it is explained to Christine by a psychic she stumbles upon named Rham Jas (Dileep Rao), will find her tormented by a demon called the Lamia for three days. After these three days, the Lamia will return to take her soul to hell. It seems to me that Christine’s life already resembled hell but I guess it can always be worse. (You would be agreeing with me too if you saw what it was like for Christine to have Justin Long for a boyfriend – what a boring sap he is).
It sounds as though I’m poking fun but that’s only because DRAG ME TO HELL is a lot of unexpected fun. Raimi doesn’t cheap out on jump out of your seat scares that are usually accompanied by involuntary screeches but he does so a knowing admiration for classical horror conventions. Raimi may have been swinging along for years in the SPIDER-MAN franchise but he goes back to his roots with this one. He plays with sounds that are so intensely jarring, they would scare the deaf. He plays with shadows because he knows that what we cannot see is so much more frightening than what we can. Raimi plays, period. He knows, as well as his brother, Ivan, who co-wrote the screenplay, that scaring people is supposed to be fun. How else can one explain how something as simple as a handkerchief can become one of the most menacing devices I have ever seen? DRAG ME TO HELL is disgusting to watch and will gross you out but you’ll delight in every fright and desperately want the next to come. I don’t recall ever having as much going to hell.
FUN FACT: This was supposed to be Ellen Page's first post-JUNO role but she had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts.