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Monday, June 01, 2009

I Dug Drag


Drag Me to Hell
***1/2
Contents: Projectile bodily fluids, near bloodless violence , and creepy crawlers. Some language.

When I sat down in the theater I asked someone I went with " why couldn't Sam have just added a couple of f-bombs or some nudity? That way I don't have to sit around so many 12 year olds." The screening I went to late Friday night was mostly 14 year olds. This could have been disastrous, but I think they loved the film as much as I did. And that's what this is, a fun house ride; their screams and outbursts made it all the more interesting.

This is Sam Raimi's first horror film since Army of Darkness, which wasn't much of a horror film as it was a fantasy adventure film. But I got a kick out of that film, and so did pretty much every other 10 year old boy I knew who saw it back then and I'm sure still do today. This film is full of as much slapstick and gross-out humor, but is far more coherent.

I'm tired of reading reviews talking about how this is lowbrow work for Raimi. This is the best film he's made since Evil Dead II, and I would be more than happy to see Sam direct only horror films. This has more energy than any of the Spiderman films, and doesn't have the somewhat heavy-handed theme of civic responsibility which hung over those films in a rather maudlin manner.

Though, while the execution is vintage Raimi, the thematic content of the film is much more tied to the naturalistic hell is other people from A Simple Plan. Money, greed, and bad decisions result, figuratively there and literally here in all hell breaking loose. But if you're trying to make an allegory about the home foreclosure crisis with this film you'll probably pull a muscle. This is just an old fashioned horror ride.

I can't quite say I loved it all. The last 10 minutes lose quite a bit of steam, focusing on a red herring setting up a twist I'm pretty sure everyone saw coming (including the 14 year olds behind me, which is a rather bad sign on the obviousness scale for movie twists). And the twist really creates all sorts of problems for the film thematically if you think of the film, despite its real world bearings, as much more than a pitch perfect adaptation of an EC Comic book.

Alison Lohman is perfect in the lead and even Justin Long, who I can't stand because of those smug Apple commercials, wasn't annoying.

Returning to a genre you revolutionized can be problematic, but this is like Raimi hasn't been out of the game, like he made this in the late 80's. And I can only hope he's not yet done with the brand of films that put him on the map.

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