Sam Raimi returned to the horror genre in 2009 with the film Drag Me to Hell, the next title in the section on witches in DK Canada’s highly enjoyable Monsters in the Movies book.
Alison Lohman portrays Christine Brown, a loan officer at a bank in California. She’s in competition for the Assistant Manager’s position, and is trying to make the right decisions for her life and her career.
And those decisions all centre around whether or not she can provide another extension on the loan of the very creepy looking Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver) who ends up at her desk.
When Christine denies her the extension, Ganush vows vengeance and curses the young woman, sending her down a supernatural rabbit hole that could see her soul literally dragged to hell by the demon known as the Lamia.
There’s not a lot of new added to the horror genre in this film, but Raimi brings his kinetic camera style, love of gore and his sense of humour to the story, that despite its PG13 rating actually has some noteworthy jump scares.
And while it isn’t Evil Dead, this one is definitely fun, and there are some solid moments in the film. Honestly, any scene featuring Dileep Rao, who plays Rham Jas a psychic, is worth the price of admission as far as I’m concerned.
Sure, some of the visual effects haven’t endured very well, in fact a couple of them were iffy at the time, but there’s still a nice sense of spooky fun to it all. In fact, the only thing it’s missing to be truly enjoyable is an appearance by Raimi’s longtime friend and collaborator, Bruce Campbell (he was unable to make an appearance because of his shooting schedule for the television series Burn Notice).
Still, there’s a lot of fun to be had, the seance is a standout sequence, and the fate of the poor kitten, as well as the body-horror comedy that takes place throughout the film. And there is a lot of it.
Joining Lohman on her journey is Justin Long as her professor boyfriend, Clay Dalton, who has long term romantic intentions for the pair of them, despite his disapproving parents, and the possibility that she may not be quite sane with her belief in what is happening around her. Something he is quite happy to discount, being a firm sceptic.
Is Christine wrong for what she did? Did Ganush go to far? Can amends be made after death? And how scary is it to think that one could be cursed for a tiny thing, and then suffer all eternity in a hellscape, just because someone was vindictive?
Raimi keeps these thoughts at a distance, leaving them for a post-screening discussion. Instead he focuses on a popcorn creepfest that delivers exactly what you expect, and does so entertainingly.
Check this one out, or pick up a copy of DK Books’ Monsters in the Movies, and find something monstrous to watch tonight!