| Two Reviews below by Keith Cohen and Jolene Mendez.
Writer/director Sam Raimi ("The Evil Dead" series, "Spider-Man" trilogy) is back in his comfort zone with a return to the horror genre that made him famous.
The descriptive title screams out a warning to the squeamish and easily frightened to stay far away. You can tell from the outset that you are in the capable hands of a master storyteller who gets mileage from haunted house parlor tricks. He is able to make you jump out of your seat and flip your emotional switch from pleasure to pain.
A prologue set in 1969 involves a young Mexican boy who stole a necklace from a gypsy. He starts hearing strange voices and believes something terrible is coming for him. His mother takes him to a medium. Things end badly for the boy. The medium hopes for another chance to cast out this evil spirit. The movie advances to the present day.
Christine Brown (Alison Lohman from "Matchstick Men") is driving to work on the L.A. freeway listening to a self-help tape. She is a loan officer at a bank with an eye on the vacant assistant manager post. She has come a long way from her farm roots. She met her supportive boyfriend Clay Dalton (Justin Long from "He's Just Not That Into You" and "Live Free or Die Hard") a year ago at a bar. They are in love and live together.
Everything in her life couldn't be better. Everything changes when she hears fingernails thumping on her desk. A haggard old lady with a glass eye named Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver) begs Christine for a third extension on her loan. Her natural instincts are to give the old lady a break. She checks with her boss, Mr. Jacks (David Paymer). He tells her it is a tough decision, but it is her call to make. With the chance to get a leg-up on a possible promotion and to impress upper management with her business acumen, she denies the extension. The old woman puts a curse on Christine's soul.
Christine spends the rest of the movie desperately trying to rid herself of this evil spell that turns her existence into a living hell.
Raimi with the precision of a surgeon pulls all the right strings. He effectively uses sound effects first and then follows up with scary nightmarish visuals. Being a devoted fan of The Three Stooges growing up, Raimi has an appreciation for comedy to relieve tense situations. His unique style adroitly mixes horror with sick and twisted humor.
Raimi superbly executes this simple story. This movie is destined to be a cult classic and has a terrific musical score.
Raver's performance is excellent.
The film is perfectly paced and goes by quickly with a running time of 99 minutes. Check this out if you are in the mood for blood, gore, scares and spooky fun.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"
Review Below By:
DRAG ME TO HELL - 4 out of 4 Stars
We all want to impress someone, especially our boss. If you knew that taking the steps to do so would ultimately change your entire future would you still do it? “Drag Me to Hell” features in on just that. Alison Lohman is Christine Brown, a loan officer looking for a promotion to assistant manager. When a colleague stands in her away of advancement she is looking for everyway to prove herself worthy of the job, even if it involves banishing a poor woman, who happens to be a gypsy, from her home by not offering her a loan extension. Having made the right decision in her boss’ eyes it will be one she lives, or dies to regret.
Following the fiasco with the elder woman in the bank she is stalked in the parking lot by her and viciously attacked. Once the woman gets what she wants, a button from Christine’s jacket, she says a few words in Latin and hands the button back to her. Obviously some powerful mojo is going on, because not long after Christine begins hearing voices, seeing shadows and is attacked by invisible creatures. Unsure of what is going on she turns to a psychic. He informs her that her soul has been cursed and she will be dragged to the underworld in three days unless they can summon the demon and kill it. Will Christine’s three days be enough time and will it truly lift the curse?
How do you craft a horror film to perfection? Just add Sam Raimi to the mix to get the perfect brew of blood, sacrifices and a gypsy curse while leaving viewers dying for more. “Drag Me to Hell” is a fun, suspenseful, horrific ride and is the definition of the genre. Outlandish, disturbing and hilarious are a few words I would use to describe this hit. Justin Long and Alison Lohman portrayed the parts of lovers in peril perfectly. Standout scenes involve Alison having a frantic break-down while meeting Clay’s (Justin Long) parents. Cinematography was brilliant, even when capturing a fly on the lens to add a great splash humor to the film. “Drag Me to Hell” has everything horror fans have been waiting for. It’s time to be dragged back to the theatre and remember what horror flicks are all about.