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So I’ll be honest, all manly fearlessness aside, when I saw first saw this movie the beginning hour scared the bejesus out of me. From the first scene, things were creepy and just plain spooky. Now the remaining half an hour is another story, but I’ll get into that later. Turn the lights off, turn the sound up, and give this flick a watch to get your blood pumping during the Halloween holiday season. Drag Me to Hell is probably one of the scariest movies I’ve seen in quite some time, and that’s saying something.
The story centers on bank loan officer Christine Brown, played by the very cute Alison Lohman (Matchstick Men, Big Fish, Flicka). Christine and her successful philosophy teacher husband Clay (Justin Long: Accepted, Live Free or Die Hard) live a comfortable life, and both have a bright future ahead of them. When we meet Christine, she’s within reach of an assistant manager’s promotion, competing with the pompous new guy who’s also managed to catch the boss’s eye.
Things are looking good, and Christine has assured her boss she’s capable of making the tough decisions, when an old, somewhat disturbing, gypsy woman comes in to ask for an extension on a loan. The woman’s had two extensions, and foreclosing on her house would profit the bank a nice chunk of money in fees,but the boss leaves it up to Christine to make the call.
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I have to say, I completely agree with the decision Christine makes. Call me cruel, but I think she makes the right call for someone in her position. I guess that’s why it seems a little harsh to me when the old woman later attacks her and throws down a curse to get even. The lady’s just crazy, and she gave me the creeps the whole movie through. You’ll just have to see some of the stuff she pulls in her angry, desperate state, it’s beyond bizarre.
But the gypsy woman and her curse are only the beginning. The Lamia curse that’s been put on Christine starts to manifest itself in strange ways, tormenting her to the point of seeking psychic help. For a price, she’s given a reading and told that she’s got three days before the Lamia drags her to hell, plain and simple. Like I said, pretty harsh right? Over the next few days Christine is plagued by the Lamia’s mental and physical tortures. I’m not going to lie, a lot of the shadows, and most of the jump-scares, were terrifying. This Lamia character doesn’t mess around. It’s the kind of evil that my religious upbringing used to warn me about: raw, brutal, and unforgiving.
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So there I was, good and scared, when old school Sam Raimi had to rear his peculiar head. If the name doesn’t sound familiar maybe some of his work might. More recently, he’s directed the three Spidermans, but some of you movie buffs may know him for the Evil Dead/Army of Darkness movies. Now don’t get me wrong, while Evil Dead 1 & 2 weren’t exactly my cup of tea, Army of Darkness was good cheesy fun and it’s that kind of attempt at horror/comedy that had the last half hour of Drag Me to Hell unraveling. I mean come on, some of the gags were just plain ridiculous and it almost destroyed the unnerving atmosphere that had been working so well. Things just get crazy. I don’t know what else to say, you’d have to see it to truly understand the wackiness that gets thrown into the mix. That said, I gave it a pass if only because it was a horror movie coming from Sam Raimi. In my opinion, Raimi has never been able to pull off horror. Evil Dead was meant to be a go at horror, but ended up being a cult-classic in comedic hack-and-slash crossovers. So for Drag Me to Hell to give me a solid hour of scares before breaking down into “I’m not sure what’s going on here, but I’m a little into it” territory was a huge plus in my book, especially for Raimi.
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I feel safe saying if you’re able to suspend some of your disbelief for an hour and a half you’ll most likely come away satisfied. It’s not for everyone, I’ll tell you that much, but I can’t help recommend it to horror buffs. A decent cast, some great scares, and even a few chuckles make
Drag Me to Hell a fun little flick to pick up during the Halloween season.
Drag Me to Hell is rated PG-13 for sequences of horror violence, terror, disturbing images and language. Runtime: 99mins