The wind howls. Dead leaves dance across a freshly dug grave. Lightning cracks and paints the swollen sky purple and black like a bruise. Gnarled, twisted tree branches tap against the windowpane, and rusty hinges groan a chorus of creaks and screeches as doors rattle in their frames.
This is the deliciously frightening world of director Sam Raimi. An off-the-rails haunted fun house ride at the mercy of a demonic carnival attendant â€“ thatâ€™s probably the best way to describe Raimiâ€™s iconic horror panache. The directorâ€™s cult legacy was spawned out of films like ”The Evil Dead”, ”Evil Dead II”, ”Darkman” and ”Army of Darkness”, where Raimi blended comedy and horror into gooey, pulpy, cinematic goodness.
Raimi departed from the genre to direct films like ”The Quick and the Dead” and ”For The Love of the Game”, which did little to showcase his unique sensibilities to mainstream audiences. Eventually, Raimi lucked out and went Hollywood with three blockbuster ”Spider-Man” films, which brings us up to current events. Raimi has gone back to his roots and delivered his signature haunted house carnival ride experience with ”Drag Me to Hell”.
Cue the retro Universal Pictures logo. After evicting an elderly woman from her home, loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) finds herself the recipient of a supernatural curse, which turns her life into a living hell. Desperate, she turns to a psychic to save her soul from damnation while evil forces push her closer to madness.
Everything about this film feels like classic Universal Horror. There are gypsies and palm readers and ancient rituals to be carried out. In the vein of an EC Comics story, ”Drag Me to Hell” makes no apologies for being as gloriously disgusting and scary as it can be. Itâ€™s downright spooktacular â€“ a celebration of screams and squeals for cult horror fans to relish.
There are several references to ”The Evil Dead”, including a lovely little eye-popping sequence that will leave you squealing with grossed-out glee. ”Drag Me to Hell” is rated PG-13 and abandons the recent trend of â€˜torture pornâ€™ horror and opts for old-fashioned chills instead. For any filmmaker who has made a PG-13 horror film in the past 10 years, Raimi just dismissed you from the field.
Set to become an instant cult classic, Drag Me to Hell” is a flawless exercise in genre filmmaking. It was funny. It was scary. It was intrusive. It was revolting. It was a damn good time. See this film in a packed house and enjoy the ride.
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