‘Hell’ drags in fans of traditional dark comedy horror films


If you are looking for the ultimate date movie, then Drag Me to Hell is one guaranteed to get your arm squeezed, your shoulders hugged and your body squirmed. The girls will scream, and everyone will laugh, sometimes uneasily and sometimes disgustedly. One thing for certain is that this movie has something for everyone.

It begins with innocent heroine, Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), effectively being dumped on from all sides. Her fragile sense of self is undermined time and again, especially at work where she endeavors a promotion. Thankfully, her ultra normal boyfriend, Clay Dalton (Justin Long), is a pulled-together professor of psychology whose soothing and self-assured composure serves as Christine’s character foil.

But fate soon comes to test Christine’s innocence and substance in the form of the literally unforgettable Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver). Christine fails the moral barometer miserably and the quest for her soul begins.

The best aspect of this movie is the synergy between the different elements that make it truly horrifying. The plot moves along fluidly because of this, but never predictably as it toys with audience expectations.

The musical score is haunting, chilling and in no way formulaic. It seems to anticipate what the audience will consider standard horror flick moments. The music then counteracts these notions by interjecting moments of genuine scare where they are least expected.

Writer-director Sam Raimi blends the elements that have made him a force to be reckoned with in the horror filmmaking world. Darkness and gore morph this flick into a seamlessly quasi-campy thriller. Raimi once again employs the type of brooding cinematography that worked so well in Spider Man with wonderfully sinister results.

Likewise, the classic campy gore that reset the standard for modern horror in Evil Dead plays a part to create a masterfully scary and wickedly humorous effect. Raimi is obviously a fan of old gory horror flicks such as the original Night of the Living Dead.

He intuits the noir horror flick feeling, although the cheap gore effects of yesteryear were nowhere to be found in this piece. It is done in a manner that elicits “oohs” and “ahhs,” as well as refreshingly unexpected laughs.

All of the film’s elements make for plenty of thrills guaranteed to please fans of modern dark humor films, and everyone in between. With everything working together, Raimi creates a more realistic look, which is indubitably frightening – yet hilariously disgusting – to watch.