Drag Me to Hell (2009)
Yeah, another lie, I watched Drag me to Hell right after I watched Last House on the Left last night, but I enjoyed this one much more.
Directed by Sam Raimi and co-written by him and his older brother Ivan, Drag Me to Hell is a story about a young woman who gets on the wrong side of a gypsy and is cursed by her. It’s not too dissimilar from the plot of Stephen Kings Thinner or the story of Angelus on Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Unlike Billy Halleck and Angel however, Christine Brown doesn’t really deserve what happened to her.
While the story may not be wholly original, Sam Raimi brings his brand of horror with humour to it that makes the film fun to watch.
It isn’t really fair to compare this movie with the one I had just finished watching. Last House on the Left was Wes Cravens first motion picture and this one was Sam Raimis sixteenth, so the filmmaking experience levels of the people behind each film are drastically different, but I still want to contrast them because I feel like both tried to mix horror and humour, one failing and one succeeding.
First, Sam Raimi sets the tone and audience expectations right away and then, introduces the main protagonist, establishes her relationships to co-workers, her boyfriend, her boyfriends family and makes her someone the audience likes and wants to root for (and not just because she and her BF look like Pam and Jim from The Office) all in the FIRST TEN MINUTES! Last House on the Left failed to invest me emotionally in any of the characters beyond, you know, not liking to watch people being tortured and murdered.
The comedic aspects are also vastly different. While Wes Craven tried to use it (I assume) to juxtapose against the violence, like a lesson that went right over my head, Sam Raimi uses it as a release valve for the fear and excitement. Watching Drag Me to Hell is an amusement park ride. You get hit with a jump scare to get your heart going, followed by an action scene to pump the adrenaline higher and when you are at the peak, something absurd gets thrown at you that starts the laughter, followed by another big “BOO!” to start it all over again. It’s the ups and downs you expect on a good roller coaster.
It’s not groundbreaking and I certainly wont re-watch it regularly like I do The Thing, Halloween or even Raimis classic Evil Dead, but the movie is well made, well acted and flows nicely. It’s fun and deserves its 92% on Rotten Tomatoes