Sunday, May 31, 2009

Drag Me To Hell: Sorry About Earlier, Man

Gypsy women are tough.

Drag Me To Hell, I'm sorry about earlier. I grouped you in with a bunch of movies I didn't think I wanted to see. Up was part of that list. I did want to see Up. But really, Drag Me To Hell, I should have had more faith in you. I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions, or mistrusted my gut. Sam Raimi, you're a trustworthy guy. Especially after this. If you make another movie, I'll see it, and gladly. 

Bad horror movies are good because they're bad. Good comedies are good because they're good. Bad horror crossed with good comedy? A good film. Horror comedies can be terrific. Raimi decided to be brave and go back to his Evil Deadsian roots, coming off the failure of Spider-Man 3, and it paid off big. Drag Me To Hell is grippingly suspenseful, grossly hilarious, pretty well action packed, and masterfully shot. A perfect movie for cheering on the heroine, and jeering at what horrible things happen to her. 

Alison Lohman was a terrific casting choice. As loan officer Christine Brown, her slight lisp, cute round face, and endearing smile give every horror that befalls her a meaner edge, and makes every chance she gets to kick ass slier. For tongue-in-cheek terror, Lohman plays it great, adorable but with teeth, not some useless prissy slasher-genre girl. 

Speaking of slasher-genre girls, isn't it great that Drag Me To Hell isn't a slasher film? I'm very sick of slasher films. When characters are dropping left and right there's no time, and often no attempt, at character building. No one gets a backstory outside of what stereotyping allows. Drag Me To Hell keeps its lead alive to the bitter end. It keeps almost the entire cast alive. The characters become real, and sympathetic, and rooting for them makes sense. Its easy to root for them.

There are a great many moments of this film that, if I were to talk about them, I would spoil most of the wonderful scares and gags that the trailer and commercials haven't already ruined. That part in the trailer or commercial where the fly goes up her nose and she wakes up, then lays down next to the old woman? They shouldn't have showed that, but don't worry, it's better in the movie. Everything is better in the actual movie. 

There are fight scenes, there are bizarre gross out scenes, there are really truly funny visual gags most of the time. It's well written. It's very well shot, by Mulholland Drive's cinematographer Peter Deming, with lots of shallow focus paired with the deepest. The monsters look monstery, the mood is always exactly as it ought to be, for humor or horror, and the film reaches the point where even the title card warrants huzzahs. 

 - Eric T. Voigt, Served

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