Drag Me To Hell - Movie Review


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Drag Me To Hell

There's something terrifying in realizing that you're in line to see The Hannah Montana Movie, when in fact you're just trying to get to Drag Me To Hell, a film that swings so far away on the pendulum that it hits the other side. Especially if you've arrived during the trailers, then you'll find yourself shoving kids with their Montana lunch-boxes "the hell out of the way" just so you can get your fill of hellish mayhem. Well, if that's what your looking for, I found that Drag Me To Hell lives up to it's name. What we have here is a genre movie that has itself firmly rooted in retro values. It exists to thrill, scare, and simply to play upon that which viewers are already afraid of by throwing it up on the screen suddenly and with accompanying sound effects. This film really manages to remove all boundaries, and it does so while keeping up that PG-13 rating, a feat that in and of itself deserves the highest of praise.

How amazing it is to realize that in a world filled with Hostel's and Saw's a film called Drag Me To Hell is the most sensible of the bunch. Not that it's wholesome by any sense of the word. The leading lady will literally have mouthfuls of mud, worms, flies, green corpse goo and so much more by the end of this journey. It's more of a thrill-ride. The scares lie mostly on the border of one of those online videos, where the viewer studies a vacant scene just long enough for an image from the Exorcist to suddenly appear and release an ear-piercing scream. It doesn't take long to realize that at just about any moment something can, and will, pop-up to rattle your bones.

The film is centered around Christine Brown (played by Alison Lohman), a simple country girl turned city-folk who's struggling to make a name for herself while slaving away at the bank. She's aiming for an assistant managerial position but is up against some rotten competition. When a sad (but quite sickly) old woman appears for a third extension on her loan, Christine is given the chance to either give the lady a pass, or prove her worth by kicking her to the curb. Her choice earns the films title as the old woman pays her back with the gift of a horrid curse. If Christine can't manage to save herself after three days of torture a demon known as the Lamia will rag her away to the underworld.

The film is keenly self-aware. Christine is not presented as a "bad person," but rather a good person who is flawed by simply being human. What the film understand is that this is the case with just about everyone. There is a great illustration here in which the question is posed, "who would you really want to send to hell?" Well, no one, not even your worst enemy, but goodness isn't the defining factor as far as humans are concerned. Even further, no sacrifice on your part is going to quell that fire. Christine learns this through some highly questionable (and oddly hilarious) choices regarding household pets.

From a religious standpoint perhaps this film could be regarded as an illustration of the turmoils associated with living under the Biblical old covenant. It could even provide insight into what ran through the mind of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, as he pleaded to have the burden of his descent into hell removed from him, in any way possible.

Yeah, that's right, I just connected Drag Me To Hell with Christian values. They're there, but Drag Me To Hell really doesn't give them much acknowledgement. It might be aware of them, maybe, but the movie has more pressing matters at hand. In the universe of Drag Me To Hell there's only two realities: those who are alive, those who are in hell, and those who are in the process of being dragged to hell. There's not a single mention of heaven to be found. That's just how it is, and what it results in is something that's simply entertaining and undeniably fun.

Director Sam Raimi knows what he's doing, and he has clearly learned what entertains audiences with a career that spanned from the Evil Dead to Spiderman. The violence is often comical, cartoonish even (at one point actually involving an anvil), and is made all the better for that. Notice the music too. Was that jazz I heard during that battle in the car? I believe so, and it was just perfect.

Was it worth dragging my girlfriend to Drag Me To Hell. I say yes, she might admit yes, and if you can, I say you should too.


as an aside note.

Take notice of some of those new-age references in here too. Christine gets help from a mystic by the name of Rham Jas, not too far from Ram Das the Harvard professor turned LSD experimentalist who authored Be Here Now. I don't think it's a coincidence, and the fact that it's in there personally makes the film just that much more entertaining.

The Chicken Sees

1 comment:

Beth said...

everything is falling into place.