Friday, June 05, 2009


By Reymundo Salao

Christine Brown is an ambitious young loan officer who is striving for promotion to the position of Assistant Manager in the company she works for. Her boss tells her that he is yet to decide and the position requires somebody who is capable of making tough decisions. A mysterious old lady, Mrs. Ganush arrives at her office to beg for an extension on her home loan. This is one tough decision for Christine to rule upon, so she eventually denies the extension, showing her boss that she is indeed capable of making tough decisions. Mrs. Ganush, after having felt humiliated when her begging proved futile, held a grudge against Christine and gave her a curse. The curse of the Lamia, wherein which its victims will be harassed by a demonic spirit, and after three days of tormenting her, the demon Lamia will claim and drag her to hell to burn for all eternity.

In the wider mainstream of moviegoers, Sam Raimi is known as the director of the Spider-man movies. But to those more familiar with his reputation, Raimi's greatness as a director is marked by his Evil Dead movies (Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn, and Evil Dead 3: Army of Darkness) It is this year that Raimi returned to the genre that made him one of the greatest cinematic masters, that which is the Horror Genre, with his new movie DRAG ME TO HELL.

This is the kind of horror movie that is definitely designed for more of a fun scare. There have been many horror movies out there which are made in order to really give you nightmares and even render you sleepless, horror movies that disturb you to the point of creating psychological trauma. Not this movie. This is a movie that you can get a fun thrill much like how some people would like to go to carnival rides or rollercoaster rides. DMTH may be disgusting in a more comedic, almost-"Looney Tunes - humor" kind of way, but it is never brutal. His horror is more wholesome, while it does maintain a certain high degree of fear factor. This is more of a horror movie which has a very 80's movie feel (take for example movies like Gremlins or Critters), which means that it can get really really scary at some parts but can also get really funny at times, definitely the kind of movie designed for the pure fun of watching a horror flick. And because of this, the movie really is something you can bring your kids to. But that's not to say that this is a kid's movie, because it does indeed tend to be dark and gritty in some aspects of it.

In a Sam Raimi movie, even the monsters find themselves in clumsy, awkward situations. This is just one example of how such a horror movie can also be absolutely hilarious. The oddball humor is just so funny that even now, as I look back at the movie's funniest moments, I break my own silence with a delightful snicker. Raimi employs simple practical tricks that still work in the current horror trends. This is not a big production, yet it delivers in a powerful scale its entertainment value.

One would notice that there is very little use of elaborate special effects. Some of the special effects seem to be suspiciously been rendered badly in an intentional manner, perhaps Raimi wants his special effects to look bad in order to have uniformity with the 80's B-movie style and feel of the film. They even managed to use the old Universal Pictures logo, the one used in the 1980s when director Sam Raimi got started in the horror genre with the first two Evil Dead movies. If you are a big fan of Army of Darkness or Evil Dead, you will definitely love this movie, as Raimi injects familiar styles in the movie that are so reminiscent of the format used in Evil Dead, the voice format for the possessed, the animal possession, the awkwardly floating possessed, and the fist-fighting monster; quirky, but absolutely superb.

Alison Lohman as the main character Christine was great in her role, and she is indeed appropriate in order to give her the kind of image that will make the audience immediately sympathize with her character regardless of what she does in the movie. On the otherhand, she also effectively shifts into bad-ass mode when we get to the scenes where she fights back the scary old lady trying to get to her. But Lorna Raver as the scary Mrs. Ganush really held the spotlight for me, a menacing character which can get really funny at times. I was definitely wanting to see more scenes with her in the movie.

All in all, DRAG ME TO HELL is a movie definitely worth watching. An ultimately FUN movie, in my opinion, if you indeed wanna laugh, you should watch this one instead of Night at the Museum 2. A movie that is conveniently destined to be another Sam Raimi classic. This movie is highly recommendable as a movie to be watched with a group of friends, because this is one horror movie that can make you laugh, cheer, and even scream.

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