Just how much hair can a twenty something woman lose over a period of three days?
Written By: Ivan & Sam Raimi
Directed By: Sam Raimi
Sam Raimi likes to scare, that much should be evident by a look at his early filmography. He is also a very unique director with a rapid fire style that is always infused with visceral sensibilities. Yet after such films as The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II and Darkman he moved on to more common fare, just as good as his earlier work in some instances, but a different breed of film nonetheless. Drag Me To Hell was billed as Raimi’s return to his roots, and while that label is somewhat true, it falls short of what Raimi does here. Drag Me To Hell isn’t a return to form for Raimi, it is a synergetic effort to bring together his old sensibilities with the new tricks he has learned in mainstream Hollywood.
Looking at Drag Me To Hell in such a way actually helped me to get over some of the misgivings I was developing while watching the film. Raimi goes for his usual gore, and while he does it in his usual great style I found myself questioning whether or not such campy gore really belonged alongside the high production levels and polished look found in Drag Me To Hell. If the viewer doesn’t see this melding of past and present that Raimi is going for then I do think his old tricks stick out like a sore thumb. But, once I picked up on the blending I have spoke of, the old tricks fit nicely, contrasting the newer Raimi touches in a complimentary fashion and adding a bit of extra flavor to an already fun film.
The set-up of Drag Me To Hell is simple, but that’s all it needs to be. Young girl is pushed into doing something she doesn’t want to do, and she is cursed because of it. Raimi, and brother Ivan, do add a few nice wrinkles by making our heroine into not so much of a heroine. As the movie rolls along she becomes more and more openly vapid and a small part of us begins to root against her. We don’t want to see harm come to her per se, but we do want to see her get her due. It’s an interesting quandary the Raimi’s develop, what started out as such a simple tale becomes a smidgen complex thanks to a few minor movements in the character of Christine.
Outside of that aspect Drag Me To Hell does remain incredibly simple, with a very easy to decipher plot, character motives that never stray from the beaten path and turns in the story that are tried and true. None of this is a bad thing mind you, because Drag Me To Hell is very much an old school horror film. It isn’t about what will happen in the story or what we are able to figure out as the audience. No, Drag Me To Hell is about the tension of each and every moment, the escalation in consequences and the ultimate release we seek from that tension in the deciding moments of Christine Brown’s life.
I am going to go on a very lonely island all by myself and let you know that I enjoyed Drag Me To Hell a lot more than I did either The Evil Dead or Evil Dead II, and it is a far better film that Raimi’s dreadful Army Of Darkness. I know those are revered movies among horror buffs, but I am one horror buff who never viewed the first two as anything more than good horror films, not the all-time classics most make them out to be. Drag Me To Hell isn’t an instant classic either, but is a well made film that has the same type of kinetic energy found in Raimi’s earlier work suffused with a better touch of a more seasoned director behind the camera. In a day and sage where Saw and Hostel are what people think of as good horror you need to give Drag Me To Hell a spin and be reminded that the studio system can produce real, honest to goodness horror when they allow a quality craftsman to do his thing. Or you can stick with torture porn, but trust me, not seeing Drag Me To Hell will be your loss.