How long have we waited for Sam Raimi to return to horror? While I thoroughly enjoyed all three Spider-Man films (yes, even 3), I detested For Love Of The Game and could barely sit through The Gift. Neither one really felt like Raimi, and if it wasn't for the presence of a certain 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88, I don't think I would have guessed they were Raimi.
Finally the original Sam Raimi has returned, back to basics, back to horror, back to what I think he does best. Along for the ride are Alison Lohman (Big Fish) (apparently Ellen Page was originally cast in the role) and Justin Long (Mac guy) among others. (Justin Long was funny in Dodgeball and he's great when he cameos in comedy films such as Zack and Miri Make a Porno, but in drama or horror he's kinda "blah".)
Lohman is Christine, a bank loan officer eager for promotion. When Mrs. Ganush comes in looking for another extension on her mortgage, Christine is told by her boss that this kind of decision is the kind that she should make on her own, if she wants the promotion. Christine listens to Mrs. Ganush, but regardless of what she thinks is actually the right choice, she decides to deny the extension to please her boss. Mrs. Ganush, facing eviction, gets down her knees and begs for Christine to reconsider. This confrontation does not end pleasantly for either, and Mrs. Ganush plots her revenge.
After work, Mrs. Ganush attacks Christine, steals a button from her coat and places a curse upon her. What results is a horrifying three days for Christine where everyone around her will question her mental health, while she is haunted and stalked by eveil spirits and demons and things of nightmares. If you have a phobia, chances are it's happening to Christine in this movie. Worst of all, this is just a preamble. On the third day, a demon will come to (you guessed it) drag Christine to hell.
Christine meets with a medium (Dileep Rao) who realizes what is happening to Christine. Nothing, from sacrifice to seances, will stop this demon. The stage is set for a final confrontation between Christine, Ganush, and the demon that ends with a heart-stopping surprise twist that I did not see coming.
Sam Raimi was working on Drag Me To Hell on and off for a decade, and you can tell this is a labour of love for him. All of his trademark visuals are present, and you will know them when you see them. And yes, the 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88 makes an appearance too. The only thing that doesn't is Bruce Campbell himself. But that is OK. The film has just enough humour without going Three Stooges slapstick, while concentrating on the horror aspects and things that crawl in the night.
The DVD is pretty decent, there are some production diaries, and the film itself looks good on DVD. Good transfer. Special mention must go to Lohman, one of my favourite actresses these days, who embodies Christine and makes her into a real, everyday person. And that is what is most horrifying about Drag Me To Hell. Christine is just like you or me. She didn't ask for this to happen to her. She just went to work, and made a decision to please her boss, just like all of us have done from time to time. Just that we didn't have demons chasing us afterwards.
As a morality tale, Drag Me To Hell is pretty black and white. This is not a complex movie. This is a simple horror movie, and one of the coolest I've ever seen. Do you like Sam Raimi? Do you like the Evil Dead? Do you like eyeball cake? Then you will love Drag Me To Hell!