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Friday, November 30, 2012

Drag Me to Hell - review (2009) 31 Days of Horror #25

Premise:  After having a curse put upon her by an old, gypsy woman for allowing the bank to repossess her home a young bank worker (Alison Lohman) must find a way to save her soul.

Review:  I was only a few minutes into Drag Me to Hell when I remembered what a treat it can be to watch this slime filled, eyeball popping, jaw-gumming film.  I literally caught myself sporting a smile on my face, which would usually be an odd reaction to a horror movie - not this one.  In case you are wondering, I did not have too many nips off the old brandy bottle, the smiling was only in reaction Sam Raimi's returned to his roots.  With this film he has provided the world with a new horror classic, one that defies categorization in any one genre - a film, dare I say, which tops all his previous work.  This is not only a film that will settle on startling and shocking you, nor is it a film that will only provide you with laughs.  It is a film that flawlessly combines the gruesome with the comic, the obscene with real emotion.  There are many flavors here, but not one flavor that over-powers the rest.

The glue that makes the film so tight is the connection to real life emotion.     It is not just shallow storyline about another helpless victim being chased down by a slasher with a machete, this film takes on many fears and stresses found in every day life - job fears, relationship fears, fears of death.  Christine (Alison Lohman) battles with her conscience whether to take the empathetic path and help an old woman keep her house or take the selfish path, that would hopefully further her career, allowing the bank to take possession of the house.   The choice she makes sets off some crazy events leading to a string ethical decisions Christine has to make which will have you questioning just how far you would go to further your career, save your life, talk to a goat.

Splattered throughout the film are some delightfully over-the-top moments.  These could easily undermine the removing the audience from the anxiety brought about by the young lady's plight, instead they compliment it.  Many of the scenes are just so off the wall, bordering on just plain ridiculous, still the further they pushed the limits the more I found myself smiling, having a great old time.  That is not to say the film is light fare, it is not.  The tone throughout is quite dark, nasty and often scary which makes the success rate of the humor more surprising.  Oh yeah, Raimi provides plenty gross-out, stomach turning moments.  It is impossible to overlook the parade of bodily fluids and body parts or the hilarious on-going hair gag.   I wish I knew why, but it all works.

Scariness:                3.5 out of 5  Even as the humor softens the blow, it is intense.  

Violence/ Gore:     3.5 out of 5   It is not the blood that will turn your stomach, it is the fluids.    

Story:                       4.0 out of 5   A simple tale about a bad choice and its reprecussions, but it  keeps your interest from start to finish.      

Overall rating (as a film, not just a horror film):  9.0 out of 10

Check out the rest of the reviews for FilmSnork's 31 Days of Horror here.  

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