Drag Me To Hell: *** (out of 4)
I can't believe that I liked a movie that included a cat being hurt. I have cancelled season passes for less; but somehow I knew that this was both serious and ludicrous, and I stayed. For my trouble, I saw a woman swallow blood, maggots, mud, embalming fluid, and a variety of other horrifying things. And yet, I smiled and cackled throughout. It must have been a Sam Raimi flick...
Drag Me To Hell is a story of supernatural vengeance over a single banal act. A young loan officer denies a loan to an elderly gypsy, and is in turn cursed to three days of suffering before her soul is taken to Hell; she in turn must try to stop it. It's a simple premise, but told by a director that has previously treated his viewers to the demented glory the first known filmed tree rape, pioneered EvilCam, and brought us the greatest B-movie actor of all time.
So, how does it hold up? Well, it's no Evil Dead 2, but is that a shock? Specifically, its budget was big enough to use actual special effects, rather than relying on visual effects and shock; it was PG-13, which cut into the gratuitous gore; and much as I was hoping, Bruce Campbell never once appeared and shot anything with his boom-stick. But it otherwise had the feel of past glories, and introduced its own memorable silliness, such as the Evil Handkerchief and the horrors of dentures. And it even included a vague reference to a cabin in the woods!
But what may be the most memorable is the interaction between the supernatural and the office. Surrounding the big-E Evil is the little-e evil of the world of banking; and besides the timeliness of it, it still seemed somehow weirdly appropriate. The Victim (her name is Christine, but really who cares?) has a lame job with an awful boss and all she wants in the world is to be promoted. It's sad, it's real, and it's the kind of thing that would otherwise make her experiences exciting... Working in a bank is almost as bad as being damned. How would you better express that than this movie?
It's worth watching if you like this kind of thing. And I like this kind of thing.