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Article

Drag Me to Hell

Posted on

Lorna Raver, Alison Lohman, ...
Melissa Moseley

Drag Me to Hell

type:
Movie
Current Status:
In Season
mpaa:
PG-13
runtime:
99 minutes
Wide Release Date:
05/29/09
performer:
Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Reggie Lee, David Paymer, Lorna Raver
director:
Sam Raimi
distributor:
Universal
author:
66200, 10082
genre:
Horror

We gave it an A

Drag Me to Hell, Sam Raimi’s delirious psych-out of a horror film, is a candy-colored ghouls-gone-wild nightmare that treats every shock as a joke — or, at least, as an invitation to crack up at your own gullibility. Raimi, like Roman Polanski in his classic Repulsion (1965), surrounds a comely blond lass (Alison Lohman) with demons that seem to be erupting right out of her head. He gets into our heads, too; he scares the unholy living bejesus out of you. Raimi’s operating model is the fun house, with its jack-in-the-box terrors, but he doesn’t just toy with the audience. He plays it, like a maestro. He orchestrates a tongue-in-cheek symphony of fear.

Lohman, with her slightly dazed, rabbit-toothed sensuality, plays a bank worker who refuses to renew the mortgage of a one-eyed, rotten-toothed old gypsy woman (Lorna Raver). Lohman then spends the rest of the film fighting off the curse the gypsy has placed on her. She’s assaulted by flash-cut visions of baroquely grotesque and evil things, starting with the gypsy herself, a hideous crone ?who has a way of taking out her false teeth and, well, doing stuff without them. Their first encounter in a parking garage is like ?a slasher showdown crossed with a wrestling blowout; it unites the audience in a collective moan-laugh-shriek. The bedroom nightmare that follows is so gross it redefines the phrase in your face, and from then on we’re clamped into a state of tingly anticipatory anxiety.

Raimi directed all three Spider-Man films, but in the ’80s, before he went Hollywood, he made The Evil Dead and its sequel — splendid exercises in slapstick mutilation and whooshing-camera dread. Drag Me to Hell marks a return to their spirit — even if it’s only PG-13! — but it’s also a deftly unified freak show that keeps intensifying as its wormy-devil images keep spewing. Going back to his roots, Raimi has made the most crazy, fun, and terrifying horror movie in years. A

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