2/18/10

Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Alison Lohman Christine Brown), Justin Long (Clay Dalton), Lorna Raver (Sylvia Ganush), Dileep Rao (Rham Jas)

Directed by Sam Raimi (A Simple Plan)

From IMDB: A loan officer ordered to evict an old woman from her home finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse, which turns her life into a living hell. Desperate, she turns to a seer to try and save her soul, while evil forces work to push her to a breaking point.

Although I listed the very serious and respected A Simple Plan as Sam Raimi's directing credit, this film has more in common with his cult horror classics Army of Darkness and The Evil Dead, which starred His Royal Highness of B Movies, Bruce Campbell. But because it was also a film meant to scare the pants off of folks, I had to watch it by myself. Keven refused to come near it. Wuss.

That said, OMG gross! This film is, in a word, disgusting--in the best, most entertaining sense. I cannot stand horror films like Hostel and Saw, where the hideous torture could actually be played out in real life. Give me monster movies any day, back to Alien and forward to modern classics like 28 Days Later. This one sits in an uncomfortable middle ground between what I enjoy and what I can't stand.

Alison Lohman played a painfully desperate character. She is desperate to fit in, desperate for the approval of her boyfriend's family, and eventually desperate to survive. The subtlety of her descent into crazytown is well done, particularly as she moves into kitty-killing self-defense mode.

Justin Long is a cutey. Sure he's the Mac guy, but I've always liked them skinny, pale, dark-haired, and nerdy.

But there is a reason why this movie took me more than a week to watch. I caught snippets in 20-minute bursts over several days because holy crap, it was disturbing. As opposed to other creature films...this one didn't do it for me. Maybe the unfairness of Christine's situation was too difficult to stomach. The whole set-up seemed like entrapment. She didn't deserve having to go through this horrorfest, and the "bad things happen to good people" vibe made me uncomfortable. Sure apocalypse movies like 28 Days Later are predicated on such a concept, but I didn't like seeing it played out in an everyday situation.

Perhaps that's a win for Raimi. He made me supremely uncomfortable, especially when psycho gypsy woman gummed the heroine's chin and puked puss into her mouth. And possessed goats. And projectile eyeballs. Ew. My "ew" moments outweighed my enjoyment. Maybe Keven had the right idea after all.

5 comments:

Ann Aguirre said...

It was schizophrenic. He couldn't seem to decide whether he wanted to go for comedy or horror. I didn't like it. They shot their wad in the first 20 minutes, and then it was a combo of , "This is dumb" and "Wow, she just killed a kitten; I hope she dies." The ending where she gets sucked into hell, due to the envelope mixup (and who wouldn't check inside it, seriously?) was the only good thing about this steaming pile.

Carrie Lofty said...

I hated the comedy + horror thing too. Satires like Shaun of the Dead have set such a high standard regarding how to merge the two that this just came across as clumsy. Maybe he was trying to recreate the success of that same horror/comedy formula from his B-movie origins?

But srsly, a talking demon goat? And I know the effects can be so much better. This looked intentionally cheesy and cheap, which made me think he was being all arty old skool on purpose. Sucked.

Ann Aguirre said...

Yeah, this was NO Shaun of the Dead. This was no Evil Dead either, which I actually found scary in places and the humor actually worked. Maybe movie failed due to lack of Bruce Campbell?

Lyvvie said...

I used to watch tons of horror movies, but some point in my late 20s I started getting really nasty nightmares. I can no longer watch them or suffer night terrors for weeks.

Although I did watch Shuan of The Dead, it was worth the zombie dreams.

I also wanted to say I walked past a Lofty St. today and thought of you. I'll grab a picture next time, if you'd like it?

Carrie Lofty said...

Sure! That'd be cute.

I read a psychological analysis of people who watch horror films, and they generally tend to be in that late adolescent/early adulthood range, say 16-24. The theory is that those half child/half adult minds crave worst case scenarios as they prepare for life on their own.

This is especially true in times of conflict, when military service is a possibility--hence all of the torture porn flicks that sprouted a few years ago. It also coincides with the modernization of horror in the late 60s/early 70s (The Exorcist comes to mind straight away).

After the brain has matured and better understands actual worst case scenarios (the accidental death of a child, the early onset of a fatal disease of a spouse), then the need for horror is greatly reduced.

In other words, kids don't have enough to worry about but adults do. That was their theory anyway. All I know is that it works for me!