Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


DRAG ME TO HELL (2009). Director [and co-writer]: Sam Raimi.

It seems inexplicable to me that a few prominent critics who should know better gave this crappy movie rave reviews. It's a typical 21st century horror film -- in that it's more laughable than scary, and is more of a morbid comedy than any kind of serious fright flick. Hoping to get a promotion, bank loan officer Christine (Alison Lohman) refuses to give an extension to an elderly woman (Lorna Raver) who's about to lose her home and be tossed out into the street. In retaliation, the woman [pictured] puts a curse on Christine: in three days a demon will come and drag her down to Hell unless she can come up with a way to stop it. The basic premise isn't bad, and there are some clever moments -- and the ending is good and uncompromising -- but the movie seems more interested in coming up with gross out moments than in developing character or creating true chills. There are a lot of tired old tricks and gags, and an essentially unlikable heroine. Fight scenes between Christine and the old woman border on elder-hatred. It's surprising how much of this is simply tedious. Raimi also directed the Evil Dead movies and the far-superior Spider-Man 2. The performances, including Justin Long's as Christine's boyfriend, Clay, are good.

Verdict: You can watch it in hell. **.

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