Sunday, October 18, 2009
DRAG ME TO HELL - MY REVIEW
Drag Me To Hell was the bane of my existence for a long time. When I first heard that Sam Raimi was going back to basics and doing a kick ass horror movie I was salivating to see it. The day it opened I headed to the theater for the early afternoon show, ready to be slapped around by Raimi's brand of comedy horror. Then the projection machine broke and I was sent home. Three other times I tried to see it in theaters and inevitably something always went wrong. Time screwed with me, my schedule was off, it was as if the fates were trying to prevent me from viewing the film. I even broke down and bought a pirate copy which was awesome until ten minutes into it and the movie was all in Spanish. Finally Drag Me To Hell came out on DVD and I was allowed by the fates to view the movie.
I kinda wish the fates had kept their defenses up.
There's nothing wrong with Drag Me To Hell but that's because nothing happens, at all. I sat watching the movie waiting for it to start and it really never does. Drag Me To Hell has no pacing to speak of, it rushes at some parts then slows to a crawl at others without finding a rhythm of any kind. Right when it looks like the movie is going to kick into gear the scene just peters out. There isn't enough of the insanity that made Evil Dead 2 so amazing, none of the twisted evil or morbid humor either. To be honest if it hadn't been advertised as a Sam Raimi film I would've thought it was some unknown director fresh out of film school.
The story of Drag Me To Hell is pretty basic, which I had thought would work to its advantage. Perky, pretty loan manager Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is a really good person and one day she decides to try and impress her boss to secure a much needed promotion by denying an old gypsy woman a third loan extension on her home. Pissed at the denial the gypsy woman puts a curse on Christine that will bring a demon to Drag Her To Hell. Okay so the film starts with us watching a good person put through anguish and pain because she did her job? If I wanted to see good people suffer I could walk outside not head to the movies.
That plot point aside after a pretty cool confrontation between the old gypsy and Christine in her car the movie flat lines and never does anything else. A couple of times Christine gets thrown around and you see some creepy shadows but for the most part it's a bunch of talking. Don't get me wrong, I love dialog heavy movies but not when it's Sam Raimi and the title is Drag Me To Hell. Make with the demons, make with the carnage, make with the shit that made Evil Dead 2 so kick ass. Nope, not Raimi, he's gonna let us see Christine, her rich boyfriend, the fortune teller and the asshole boss chat it up.
Watching Drag Me To Hell is a lot like waiting in traffic. You keep thinking "Yep here it goes we're gonna move" and then nope, not you fucker you're gonna sit still. Raimi doesn't even throw the audience any cool curve balls to freak us out. If you've ever watched a horror movie or a Sam Raimi film you'll know what's going to happen before it does. The entire last fifteen minutes of the film is pointless because you've already figured out the big "twist" so you're just watching actors go through the motions.
I was also kind of mystified as to why Raimi made his heroine such a powerless victim. Sure Ash had horrible things happen to him in Evil Dead 2 but he fought it tooth and nail. In Drag Me To Hell Christine does nothing, she just stands around doe eyed, cries and screams a lot. She's such a victim that when she finally rises up to take action it's totally unbelievable.
Drag Me To Hell lacks humor, action, plot and characters to care about. To me this isn't a film by the man who made Evil Dead 2, this is a film by the man who made Spider-Man 1-3. Gone is the cutting edge insanity that once rattled through Sam Raimi's brain, it's all filled with spider-webs and lattes now. Everything in the movie is calculated, there are no original or exciting moments, the whole thing is a giant demon encrusted bust. I'm hoping one day somebody will jump start the world of horror films but for now it looks like Sam Raimi is out of the running