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Drag Me To HELL!


kimmy

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is full of valuable life lessons. And undoubtedly foremost among those lessons is: do NOT mess around with Gypsies. Nowhere is the wisdom of this rule more strongly illustrated than in the 2009 Sam Raimi horror "Drag Me To Hell." If Christine Brown had watched "Snatch", she might have spared herself a whole world of trouble.

Christine is a young banker vying for a big promotion. Her boss is a chauvinist, and appears to be favoring the new guy because he doesn't think Christine can make "tough decisions". Adding to Christine's stress, she overhears her college-professor boyfriend's class-conscious mother dismiss her as "the girl from the farm" and saying she has "higher expectations" of who her son ought to be dating. So when a gruesome old woman comes to her desk and pleads for an extension on her mortgage, Christine has the opportunity to show her boss she can make one of those "tough decisions".

When we first meet Christine, she's listening to a voice lesson CD in her car, learning to erase the last traces of a southern accent from her voice. Later, as she's leafing through a cook-book, a picture of her falls out revealing her to have been "Pork Fair Queen, 1995" (and rather tubby at the time.) She grabs the picture and crumples it. She doesn't like her roots... she hates that she used to be fat... she wants to be accepted by Clay's snobby parents. I think that somebody who's embarrassed of their own roots is, themselves, a snob. Anyway, Christine decides that if a chance to take a step up that ladder means foreclosing on a poor Mrs Ganoosh's home, so be it. Mrs Ganoosh reacts badly to the news, and has to be dragged out of the bank by security. Later, Mrs Ganoosh ambushes Christine in the parking lot, and a violent encounter ensues. Christine is unharmed in the attack, but feels strange afterward. On a whim, she visits a psychic and asks to have her fortune told. The psychic becomes so shaken that he stops the reading and gives her money back.

Frightening things begin to happen to Christine, and she returns to the psychic to ask what he really knows. After she explains the encounter with Mrs Ganoosh, he reveals his theory: she has become the victim of a terrible gypsy curse.

An evil spirit, he explains, has been bound to her. It will torment her for 3 days, and if she can not find a way to end the curse within 3 days, the spirit will (wait for it...) Drag Her To HELL!

Perhaps I'm just much too sensitive for this sort of movie. Or perhaps my gigantic new plasma TV is just too immersive. Whatever the case... this movie scared me half to death. It serves up real fear. Sometimes it comes in the form of well-placed shocks and startles, and sometimes it is scenes where it builds and builds (the demon takes forever to walk up those stairs!) but it comes, and comes. It's merciless and relentless-- for Christine, and for the viewer. Usual horror-movie advice, like "don't be in the dark" and "don't be alone" is of no use to Christine, because she's not safe even in broad daylight surrounded by her co-workers. About the only thing that dials down the tension a little is that some of the stuff that happens to Christine is so gross that it's darkly amusing. It's almost like a message from the director to say "we're just having fun here." I think Raimi's instincts are spot on in knowing how much to show and how much to hide and how to pace it... it's just plain scary.

I think that the pulpy title, and the title graphic, and the "Ghost House Pictures" logo, and some of the suspense music, are intended as homage to horror movies and horror comic books of the '50s and '60s.

Alison Lohman is on the screen just about every moment of the film, and she's entirely up to it. Lorna Raver is great as the hideous Mrs Ganoosh. Justin "I'm a Mac" Long is on hand as Christine's boyfriend, but does not sell any computer products. She already owns a Mac.

-k

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Saw this flick for the 1st time this past Halloween with some buddies. It was pretty darn good. Sam Raimi's 1st horror flick since the Evil Dead series. The movie was actually rated PG-13 (how??), but all the gory scenes are off-the-wall & original in true Evil Dead and will totally satisfy any horror fan who's seen every and is bored with the same 'ol hack n' slash movies/scenes.

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