Directed by: Sam Raimi
Premise: A loan officer (Alison Lohman) is cursed by an elderly gypsy woman. She has three days to break the curse before a demon will come to take her soul to hell.
What Works: Drag Me to Hell is a very efficient scary movie. This is supernatural horror, which hasn’t been done well in a very long time, and fans of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead films will get a kick out of seeing the director revisit his filmmaking roots. Like those earlier films, Raimi is clearly having fun with the genre and with the audience and the film is extremely satisfying with its haunted house-like scares. Something Raimi accomplishes in this film, and something so many of the recent torture films have ignored, is how to create dread and tension and maintain it from beginning to end. This is accomplished through a truly masterful manipulation of the film medium and as an exercise in technical craft, Drag Me to Hell has some great workmanship. In particular, the use of sound is impressive and Raimi uses it to full effect, hinting at a lot of the demonic presence lurking just off screen.
What Doesn’t: This is a PG-13 horror film and it has been designed to appeal to mass audiences. There is nothing wrong with that and there are plenty of great horror films, like Jaws and Poltergeist, that don’t have hard-R content. However, hardcore horror fans should be aware that this is not Saw or The Gates of Hell.
Bottom Line: Drag Me to Hell is a fun horror film that accomplishes exactly what it is designed to do, which is scare the pants off of its audience.
Episode: #242 (June 7, 2009)