Sam Raimi’s ‘Drag Me to Hell’ is wicked fun and scary

If a curse is placed on you and you have three days until you meet an undeserving fate, how far are you willing to go to break free from the curse? That is a question that will linger in moviegoers’ minds as soon as director Sam Raimi’s (the Spider-Man movies) new film, Drag Me to Hell, is about to be unleashed.
The film opens in 1969 California where an exorcism is taking place with a young Mexican boy that results in the boy being pulled underground by unseen forces to hell. We flash forward to the present where we are introduced to the main character, Christine Brown (Allison Lohman). She is an ambitious Los Angeles loan officer and has a healthy relationship with her charming professor boyfriend Clay (Justin Long). One fateful day, Christine is caught in a pickle when she is approached by an old gypsy woman named Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver) and the gypsy begs her to give an extension on a home loan. Christine feels bad for her, but she in order to get a leg-up on a promising promotion, she denies Mrs. Ganush an extension. Later that day, Christine is attacked by Mrs. Ganush, ensuing in the funniest fight sequence to take place on the silver screen and all in the confines of a car.
Following the smack down took place in the car, the crazed gypsy places the powerful curse of the Lamia on Christine, which starts to torment her and wrecking havoc on her life over the course of three days. She seeks the help of a seer (Dileep Rao) and a psychic (Oscar-nominee Adriana Barazza) who had an earlier encounter with the Lamia in order to take the curse off her. If Christine does not find a way to get rid of the curse, she will meet the same fate as the Mexican boy in the beginning.
Drag Me to Hell marks the return to the horror genre of Sam Raimi, where he cut his teeth with low budget films that resulted to creating The Evil Dead trilogy with his brothers (Ted and Ivan) and his old high school buddy, Bruce Campbell, in the 1980s. He wrote the script with his brother Ivan, which places a traditional horror story in the modern world. The movie also has some humorous moments to restrict this film from being taken seriously, including a spontaneous geyser of blood and a fight with a haunted handkerchief. These slapstick moments made Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness hilarious, which in turn was inspired by the Three Stooges. Raimi was also able to sneak a cameo of his car (a yellow 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 dubbed “the classic”) as Mrs. Ganush’s car. The story is also considered a morality tale in which the main character finding herself in a situation where she could do the right thing, but instead she kicks an old woman to the curb to further advance in her career. This proves to be the worst mistake in her life.
It is up to the writer and actor to create a likable main character that would make the audience to care about the trials and tribulation that occurs to the character. Sam and Ivan Raimi were able to pull it off thanks to the help of the lead actress of Drag Me to Hell, Allison Lohman. The Raimis have the ability to make us, the movie-going audience, care about what happens to the main character as the two collaborators explore accidental, reluctant warriors in this film as well as past film they have collaborated on. Like Evil Dead’s Ash Williams and Spider-Man’s Peter Parker, Christine is an average person who is thrust by consequence into a fantastical world that she does not comprehend. Lohman’s approach to the role is incredible as her range goes from nice and sweet in the beginning to being pushed to the proverbial edge with encounters from invisible demons and bug-spewing old women.
To accomplish a horror story of this magnitude as far as the special effects is concerned; Sam Raimi got the help of Gregory Nicotero and Howard Berger, who worked with Raimi on Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness, to help create the monsters and make-up effects of the movie. Nicotero and Berger’s work have range from the Kill Bill movies to Planet Terror and they do not disappoint at all with their work in Drag Me to Hell. They manage to showcase their talent by creating different incarnation of Mrs. Ganush that haunt Christine, a exorcism sequence with the Lamia take possession of several people and a farm animal and a Loony Tunes-inspired that involves flying eyeballs and an anvil.
The tremendous special effects, characters and the return of Sam Raimi to the horror genre makes Drag Me to Hell a fun and scary ride that makes it one of the best made horror films of the year.
5 stars out of 5

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