Written by: Sam Raimi & Ivan Raimi
Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao, David Paymer
Being nice to everyone reduces the likelihood of aggravating the wrong person, as it takes one bad interaction with a particular person to really mess up your day. Well in Drag Me to Hell, it’s less about a bad day but a series of days where the title will become the end result. Throw in some wicked imagery and gore for fun and it comes together to make this thrilling and campy horror movie.
Trying to fight for a promotion at her job as a loan officer, Christine (Alison Lohman) is told directly she must make some tough decisions to get ahead. The moment presents itself with an older woman asking for yet another extension on her mortgage. After Christine makes the tough decision, the woman casts a curse on her where in three days she will be taken down to hell for the act of disrespect.
Women really have it rough in the workforce where they have to prove themselves in ways their male counterparts never have to. This toxic dynamic forces Christine to drop the compassion she possesses to try and act tough with her decision because she perceives it’s what a man would do. Once she decides to conform, she ends up with a curse that will take her to damnation in three days. Just when you thought your day could not get any worse. Drag Me to Hell matches the tone of this ridiculous situation in a truly entertaining manner as it allows Sam Raimi to have some fun with the gory journey to escape the fires of hell.
As with any Sam Raimi horror feature, this film has plenty of gore in gross ways. From the gnarly look of the old woman cursing Christine to the different fluids being sprayed everywhere, it does not take too long to decipher who directed this movie. Similarly, the campiness and subtle comedy of the circumstance finds its way through in ways Raimi has become famous for. Even if the sequence of events transpiring in the story would horrify anyone as it does Christine, from the safety of the outside, some of the scenes will cause a chuckle. It’s displayed in the moments where Raimi mixes the horror with comedy where scenes are typically constructed in a manner to cause fright, but instead create some good laughter. This switch occurs on multiple occasions and further cements the legacy he has built and his own brand of filmmaking.
The journey to get rid of the curse presents many challenging moments for Christine and it certainly does not come cheap. She needs help from experts to get rid of something she did not believe in just a few days ago but desperate times call for desperate measures. As the story progresses, more instances appear to establish the difficulty of lifting this curse. It leads Christine to try fairly drastic actions, especially towards the end when she receives some sort of answer of how to end the misery she has been experiencing for a considerable amount of time. The downward spiral for survival even gets to the point of sacrificing animals, which vegans would certainly not enjoy, but it demonstrates just how badly she does not want this demon to do what the title indicates. It might posit the same question to the audience member to ask what might you do in order to avoid eternal damnation?
Hope comes at a premium in Drag Me to Hell as the three-day deadline comes hard and fast with the demon making it clear what will occur should she not get rid of the curse. As the deadline gets closer, the film really ramps up the zaniness and the measures Christine is willing to take but this story surely knows how to play with the emotions of its audience in the process. The number of fakeouts and almost-resolutions will give whiplash because the protagonist yearns for hope but when messing with a demon, it’s more difficult said than done.
Gory, gruesome, and jam-packed with weirdly funny moments, Drag Me to Hell hits all the checkmarks for a Sam Raimi horror film. It provides plenty of quality jump scares and the body horror to match it in a manner where it will drive you nuts. The three-day journey will come with its twists and turns but the culmination of it all will result in an ending you do not see coming, which really puts the cherry on top of this disgustingly fun movie.