Drag Me to Hell, written and directed by Sam Raimi (who also directed Evil Dead, Army of Darkness, The Quick and the Dead and Spiderman), was in a word... INCREDIBLE! I expected none of it, and had no idea that it was exactly what I was looking for when I paid my $10 for the experience. Love at first sight, that movie was for me.
Alison Lohman plays Christine Brown who is a promotion hungry woman working for a bank and is positively jonesin' for the newly open position of assistant manager. Then there's the new hire Stu Rubin who is a complete kiss ass, the guy everyone hates in a work place, and continuously gets in the way of Christine's promotion. When an old gypsy woman Mrs. Ganush has been evicted by the bank and requests a third extension of her mortgage, Christine's boss tells her that it's her call and in the interest of finally getting her promotion Christine denies the loan to prove to her boss that she can make tough decisions. Mrs. Ganush begs for the loan but Christine calls security and the gypsy woman goes crazy! Later that night Christine is stalked by Mrs. Ganush in the parking lot and they duke it out which turns out to be an absolutely FANTASTIC struggle. After much beating, tossing, glass breaking and putting the car in reverse a bunch of times, Mrs. Ganush rips off a button from Christine's coat and puts a gypsy curse on it! Then she throws the button back at her and vanishes. Fast forward to much later and while with her psychologist BF Clay , they pass by a fortune teller and Christine of course decides to consult with him. The fortune teller advises Christine that she has Lamia, the Black Goat, upon her. When Christine begins to be haunted by the dark spirit during the night at her home, she tries to fix the situation by releasing the loan to Mrs. Ganush, and thus the 'terror' really begins!
I put terror in quotes because really, most of the movie was not very scary except for the few audio cued points that made you jump out of your seat. But I dug it! I loved the way the demon lamia was shown through shadows until the end, and his goat-like design was surprisingly creepy, I will never look at those animals the same way again! There is an insane amount of blood (Christine's nose bleeding sequences are amazingly gross and hilarious, gore can be laughed at too!) and vomit (the scene of Gaunush's wake when the old lady's dead body falls on top of Christine and vomits 5 or 6 times is a tad much), but somehow it seems to work for this film, and comes off very funny. It was really great how Christine seemed to become crazier and crazier to everybody else as the films goes on, 'cos naturally the demon llama makes her hear things and she freaks out. I would NEVER kill my own kitten to escape a demon but then again... that gem of a scene where she's asked about her cat (post-kitten murder) at dinner with her boyfriend's parents is just classic and wouldn't have been there otherwise. The way she so poorly feigned her cluelessness when asked if something happened, her feeble statement "well... you know how cats can be..." was almost too much to bear, it was at that point that I fell completely in love with this film.
Now, the movie was not without flaws. First off, almost every character seemed to be utterly helpless, even the characters that were supposed 'experts' of such gypsy cursing situations. The whole sequence of bringing the demon forth into the goat was ridiculous, who gets outsmarted by a demon goat tied to a table?! That bugged. And also, I'd just like to point out that if my entire mortal existence depended on this one button, I would freaking double check that shit to make sure that it was indeed in the envelope, instead of some coin! It was really interesting watching her moral struggle over giving that 'button' away to doom someone else's fate but, well, once it was revealed that it was just a coin, it all seemed fruitless. Also, it was very predictable that she would end up with the button, but not in a bad way, I actually enjoyed that it ended the way i predicted, even though I was sad to see her and Justin Long part ways for all eternity. If you think about it, her fate was REALLY undeserving. She didn't do anything wrong! The gypsy hag failed to pay her mortgage TWICE and it was obvious that her family was not exactly in the poor house considering the roof over their heads and the big party/wake they threw for her after her death. So really, Christine got the very VERY short end of the stick, but the actress was phenomenal and I loved every second of her on screen doing her thang.
Sam Raimi made what I would call a horror themed comedy, which I have always always ALWAYS loved. Not at all on the level of his previous horror related films like the notorious Evil Dead, but I had no qualms with this film except for its sometimes extreme level of grossness. I went into the film hoping to be scared shitless but actually ended up quite happy with the way I simply cringed and laughed through the whole thing. Overall the movie was very silly and while that doesn't always work for wanna be horror films, for me, it worked for this one completely.
This is not helping.
6 days ago