Drag Me to Hell (2009)

  • Time: 99 min
  • Genre: Horror
  • Director: Sam Raimi
  • Cast: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver


Christine Brown is a loans officer at a bank but is worried about her lot in life. She’s in competition with a competent colleague for an assistant manager position and isn’t too sure about her status with a boyfriend. Worried that her boss will think less of her if she shows weakness, she refuses a time extension on a loan to an old woman, Mrs. Ganush, who now faces foreclosure and the loss of her house. In retaliation, the old woman place a curse on her which, she subsequently learns, will result in her being taken to hell in a few days time. With the help of a psychic, she tries to rid herself of the demon, but faces several hurdles in the attempt.


  • Woehaa, this was a flash back in time when I hired VHS tapes from the local video store with totally unknown, strange, low budget horror movies. Everything you could see in those movies comes back in this one … the tilting filming at critical moments (yep also used in Evil Dead! The mother of all horror movies for me), the meat maggots, the whirling autumn leaves, the plopping eyes, puking a dead cat, the arm penetrating a mouth…. etc.
    Some scenes are just slapstick material: the scene in the car where old Mrs. Ganush loses her false teeth and then lies drooling on the lower jaw of Christine … magnificent. Death Mrs.Ganush tumbling out of her coffin in such a way that the putrid drool runs over Christine’s her face and she starts gagging … masterful. The fly that causes a terrible nosebleed … irresistible.

    Yes, I’ve seen it all before … all the scary moments are used a zillion times before … the ending was so predictable … But nowadays a real horror/scary movie (small nuance) are sparse. It’s always some found footage film and paranormal nonsense. “Drag Me to Hell” is a fresh wind in horror-land and a guarantee for a raunchy evening of shuddering and chuckling.
    I really had to laugh when Rham Jas proposes to make an animal sacrifice after which Christine starts protesting in a bewildered way, saying : “I’m a vegetarian … ” Hehehehe timeless.

    Conclusion: Every horror enthusiast should see this one. Pure nostalgia


  • Sam Raimi’s return to horror filmmaking is a cause for celebration. After three consecutive ‘Spider-Man’ movies, it is about time for the talented director to revisit his roots. The creator of the cult horror film The Evil Dead (1981) and its two sequels, Evil Dead II (1987) and Army of Darkness (1992) makes a successful comeback with Drag Me to Hell, an original and brilliant addition to a genre that is in need of a revival. It is one of the best horror films ever to come out of this decade.

    Alison Lohman plays Christine Brown, a loan officer who refuses to grant a third property extension to Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver), an old, creepy woman with a fake eye, leprous fingers, and rotten dentures. Christine is then cursed by Mrs. Ganush to burn in hell for eternity after three days. The lamia, a demon of sorts, haunts her day and night, forcing her to take extreme measures to try to break the curse. The plot on its own reads out like a generic storyline for a standard horror film but Raimi’s execution and direction is far from ordinary.

    Raimi’s mastery of the camera is evident. His shots are constantly moving, coming from different angles and points-of-view. And when the camera zooms in on Christine in a frightened state, it is never a perfect rectangular still shot; the camera tilts left or right several degrees as if mirroring the lead character’s descent into madness. Raimi is also back to his old tricks again and that is good news for cultists who worship the ‘Evil Dead’ films.

    There is comedy in the horror, a sub-genre that the director has made his own nearly thirty years ago. His signature shocking, grotesque, and downright laugh-out-loud scenes are there to savor. Those unfamiliar with Raimi’s style of horror-comedy will find the film an exercise in silliness.

    The establishment of mood is paramount to horror filmmaking. Raimi understands the mechanics of the genre and fully utilizes everything in the book. He recruits famous horror film composer Christopher Young to produce a Gothic-like score which is both beautiful and chilling at the same time. Raimi triggers jump scenes (there are plenty) with the skill of a hunter going for the kill.

    The sound design is astounding, creating a dreadful atmosphere through the occasional eerie silence punctuated by frequent bumps, creaks, and spine-tingling shrieks. If the film ever gets an unlikely Oscar nomination, it would likely be for sound mixing or editing.

    Raver’s portrayal of Mrs. Ganush is scintillating, creating a villain so scary that an early suspense sequence set in a basement car park is stuff of nightmares. Although it is well-made, Drag Me to Hell may be an experimental effort by Raimi, something to test the audience before he remakes Evil Dead for the new generation.

    One can sense that this movie is going to be special when the silent classic 1980s Universal symbol appears rather than the heroic fanfare that accompanies the modern version. From that moment onwards till the clever ending two hours later, you are at the mercy of one of the most gifted practitioners of horror cinema.

    GRADE: A- (8.5/10 or 4 stars)
    More reviews: http://www.filmnomenon2.blogspot.sg/

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