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Review Drag Me to Hell (2009): A Sam Raimi classic!

genre: horror, comedy

Drag Me to Hell is a film I have watched a couple of times now. With long periods between viewing sessions. The first time I watched this was in the cinema. The last time, on my 100-inch screen with a 4K projector. One would think my viewing experience would be less enjoyable. But I was real surprised to see how much this film got to me again. 

I was watching some interviews of Bruce Campbell where he was discussing Evil Dead 1 and 2. And how they were unrelenting. Despite the comedy elements, the films still managed to creep you out. Drag Me to Hell is no different. Once the horror starts, it never stops. The film is filled with genuine scary scenes intertwined with many gross out moments. There is not that much of a story, but Raimi demonstrates he understands horror. In each scene, he builds up tension and dread to such an extent you are looking forward to some comic relief. I read some comments and reviews of people who said this is Sam Raimi's worst. I am sorry, those people have no clue what they are talking about. They definitely aren't horror fans. Almost no blood is spilled, and most of the terror is acted out by an unseen presence. Yet, the film manages to make you jump at the right moments. Actually, this is a showcase of how to do jump scares properly. There aren't that many, even with all the violence and action displayed. But when they do, they matter, they linger. 

Alison Lohman is excellent as the haunted lead. I am so happy that Ellen Page wasn't cast in the role because she would not have been able to inject the subtle and graceful performance that was needed. Lorna Raver as Mrs. Ganush earns a spot in the hall of fame of most evil villains portrayed in film. Because she definitely is a force to be reckoned with. Although I was wondering, if this woman was so powerful, how come she wasn't able to earn or collect enough money to pay her mortgage. She also seemed to have a lot of friends and family members. Couldn't they have helped her? I mean I know she stated she was a proud woman. But she wasn't beyond begging. So why not ask her loved ones? And I do think that her rage was very unwarranted. Christine Brown wasn't the one to be blamed!

Overall, the film does a real good job of scaring the hell out of you, even after multiple viewings. Now, if that isn't a classic, I don't know what is. BTW, this doesn't mean it's a perfect film. Far from it. If you are going to look for it, you will find many flaws. Especially, story wise. It's a simple revenge story about someone getting cursed and doing their best to get rid of it. The uncompromising nature of this curse also is a very important element that sells the horror. Christine Brown does feel guilty. But like I said before, she is not to be blamed. Because of that, Drag Me to Hell is incredibly effective.

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