REVIEW: "Drag Me to Hell!"

REVIEW: "Drag Me to Hell!"
After a 17-year hiatus from the world of horror Sam Raimi has returned with a swift kick in the ass to the genre, once again raising the bar for every other director who thinks they know how to a scary movie.
While many people know Raimi from his work on the Spiderman trilogy (which becomes a quadrilogy in 2011) many others know him from his first trilogy, the "Evil Dead" trilogy.

In Raimi's first foray into the business of major motion pictures nearly thirty years ago in 1981, it was with the now cult-classic "Evil Dead" where a young Bruce Campbell, as the film's main character Ash, fights off demons in an isolated cabin in the woods.

It was in the third film of the series, 1992's "Army of Darkness," that Raimi seemingly left the world of B-grade horror behind. But his latest film, "Drag Me to Hell," proves Raimi still has what it takes to make his audience toe the dangerous line between uncontrollable fear and hysterical laughter.

The film starts nearly 50 years ago with a frantic family taking their son to a Hispanic witch doctor. Complaining he is seeing shadows and hearing voices, the doctor (Adriana Bazzara) realizes the boy is cursed. Before she can begin the cleansing ceremony, the boy is grabbed by unseen hands and dragged into a circle of high-rising flames.

Almost 30 years later, a bank loan officer named Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is eager for a promotion to an assistant manager position at the bank where she works.

When an elderly-looking gypsy named Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver) comes in to ask for a third extension on her home payments, Christine's boss tells her to make a managerial decision. Unfortunately for Christine, Mrs. Ganush is no ordinary gypsy, and she attacks Brown.

Unable to shake the feeling something is wrong, Christine and her boyfriend Clay (Justin Long) go to a palm reader who informs Christine that she had been cursed, and in three days - she'll go to hell.

The remainder of the film, an hour that goes surprisingly fast, is centered on Christine and her no nonsense boyfriend trying everything in their power to remove the curse, including a final séance scene that puts Raimi on par with Stephen King or Edgar Allan Poe.

To say that Raimi unleashes every tool in his horror-movie arsenal is an understatement.

Using a ridiculously low budget, Raimi gives us creepy-looking shadows, a slew of vomiting bugs and a nose bleed scene that would make Jackson Pollock proud.

While gore is a big part of "Drag Me to Hell," the film is also quite scary. However, staying true to his roots, Raimi is also over-the-top ridiculous that you will be laughing your head off in between yelps of terror.

So utterly ridiculous in its premise, the film's true value comes in its execution. Raimi is firing on all cylinders and then some.

While some may not like to mix horror and comedy, for me it's like chocolate and peanut butter. The two can exist separately from each other, but together it is pure euphoria.

"Drag Me to Hell" is not only a mix of two great genres that are great together; it's downright sinful how much fun it is.

That said it's not going to be a film for everyone. You just have to ask yourself if you can stand being grossed out, terrified and simultaneously at a loss of breath from convulsing with laughter.

If you, like me, are not only up to the task but welcome it with open arms, then you'll no doubt agree that Raimi can drag us to hell any time he damn well pleases.
2 Yes
1 No