Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Dileep Rao, Lorna Raver, David Paymer, and Reggie Lee
Director: Sam Raimi
Rating: Nine of Ten Stars
When a loan officer hoping for a promotion at the bank (Lohman) forecloses on an old gypsy woman's house, she is put under a terrible curse: She has three days to find a way to reverse it, or a powerful demon will drag her bodily to Hell.
"Drag Me to Hell" is the sort of horor movie that most filmmakers seem incapable of making these days. It's a got a to-the-point script with a well-constructed story, it's got characters the audience can root for (despite their flaws) and, most importantly, it's got plenty of scares. It's a horror movie the likes of which we haven't seen on the big screen since... well, "Cursed" came close, but it was moreof a classic monster movie than a horror fim. This one is a throwback to a time when horror movies were actually good!
In fact, the film even acknowledges it's a reminder of a lost time for horror fillms by starting with the Universal logo from the 1970s and 1980s. And what follows is a film with the spirit of those days but in a thoroughly modern body. Whether you love the movies from back then--like me--or whether you're a kid who has only been exposed to the garbage and crappy remakes that are being passed off as horror movies today, this is a movie you'll get a kick out of.
With its well-mounted scares and finely crafted script, this is a movie that was made with care from the very beginning. It's enhanced even further by excellent performances by every featured actor, with star Alison Lohman earning every dime she was paid to be in this film.
Fans of Raimi's first big hit, "The Evil Dead", are also well-served by this film. It is, literally, the first time that Raimi returns to a movie of that kind. Like the "The Evil Dead", the film starts as a fairly standard horror flick, but then goes crazily over the top as it reaches its climax. But, with 30 years of experience under his belt, this return to the style of that first outing is far more effective than he's ever done it before. (He sort of did it with "Evil Dead 2", but that was a horror-comedy from the outset and was actually very different from both what he did in the original film and what he does here.)
If you're one of those people who habitually turn their nose up at PG-13 horror movies because their not intense enough for you, and therefore haven't seen this film yet, you need to get over your bad self, or at least check out the "unrated director's cut". This is one of the very best big studio horror releases in the past decade, and it gives me hope that maybe there is still a future for the horror film on the big screen. (But don't just take my word for it. The people who put together the countdown show "Chiller 13: The Scariest Movie Moments of the Decade" include several scenes from the film on their list. The show premieres tonight, Friday, on the Chiller cable channel. Check your local listings.)