Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, David Paymer
Director: Sam Raimi
Writer(s): Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi
Cinematography: Peter Deming
Original Score: Christopher Young
Running Time: 99 Mins.
Do not be fooled Drag Me To Hell is not, as poster quotes would have you believe, “the scariest film of the decade”, it is however director and writer Sam Raimi’s return to the horror genre after the bitter disappoinment of his own Spiderman trilogy closer Spiderman 3 (though the fourth is due in 2012) and in truth this for me is even more disappointing than the webbed wonders last outing.
Much has been made of Drag Me To Hell being Raimi’s return to his roots, he is after all the man who gave the world the Evil Dead series, the main issue I have with Drag Me To Hell is likely an issue I would also level at Raimi’s early efforts whicvh I have admittedly yet to see, and that is fro humour to work alongside horror there must be real scares and a distinction between what is funny and what is supposedly scary, the best example of this must be the original Scream, both wittliy funny at appropriate points whilst at once being down-right scary.
Failing to do either is the crux of Drag Me To Hell and the humour is far from witty, it is simply the extreme gross out style humour all too often slated for being present in the worst teen-comedies, even bordering on looney-toon style violence in some scenes (anvils on heads and eyes popping out!), the film that springs to mind most recently adopting this tone was the dire graphic novel adaptation The Spirit!
There are some minimal good points to be eeked from such a poor experience however, and Raimi is as ever hugely inventive with the camera, treating it like an extra character rather than a mere device, though when he points it at such awful attempts masquerading as horror you have to wonder why he bothered with such a weak and cliche riddled script. Delivering such plum lines as “I beat you, you old bitch” whilst kicking a demonic gypsey woman in the face. is Alison Lohman, who is game enough at being liberally thrown around and spraying blood from her nose but stands for not alot when her character is so deathly dull. Justin long as the token boyfriend fares a little better and displays the likeability he is so adept at doing.
But when all this coming from a plot ripped largely from Stephen King’s Thinner, itself a poor DTV effort yet somehow more enjoyable than this, you really wonder a.) what Sam Raimi thought he was achieving by “going back to his horror roots” and b.) most amazingly of all why critics have by and large hailed Drag Me To Hell as some kind of horror /comedy masterpiece…though to be fair I can’t see “the weakest and most unfunny horror film of the year” being plastered on billboards now, can you?
Sam Raimi is NOT back on form with Drag Me To Hell, unless of course you are a fan of weak comedy horror’s that achieve neither of these mantras, nice camera work though!