Tuesday, June 9, 2009

'Drag Me to Hell' is a throwback to when horror movies were good!

Drag Me to Hell (2009)
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.

Christine (Alison Lohman) learns the hard way that ticking off old gypsy women can be bad for your health.
"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 have given up on the modern horror film, or if you habitually turn your nose up at PG-13 horror because it's not intense enough for you, you need to see this film. In the former case, it'll show that all hope is not lost for the genre on the big screen yet, and in the latter case, you need to get over your bad self.

But you need to check out "Drag Me to Hell". You won't regret it.

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