If you’ve been following along, you know that I am up to movie #6 of the October Horror Movie Challenge, which I’ve affectionately termed my Shocktober quest. I’m now over one-fifth of the way to my goal! The best part of this challenge is getting the opportunity and the excuse to reach back and watch those films that I somehow just never got around to at release. Drag Me to Hell is a perfect example of this.
When I searched for the release date, I could hardly believe that Drag Me to Hell was released in 2009. It seems incomprehensible that this film has eluded me for nearly 6 years. After all, this is a movie that I seem destined to love, what with the involvement of Sam Raimi, the man that conceived and directed my favorite horror series of all time, the Evil Dead.
And there are things about this film that I adore. There is a unique mix of horror and slapstick, executed with a deftness often lacking in horror comedies. The seance sequence is so incredibly reminiscent of any number of demon possession scenes in the Evil Dead that I can’t help but think that these films take place in the same universe. There’s a frenetic energy to the proceedings and the demon attack scenes that I can’t help but love.
Despite this, I’m not actually sure I really liked Drag Me to Hell. I think the fundamental problem I had with the film is that the protagonist, Christine, seems like a perfectly nice and good human being. At no point does it feel like she deserves the gypsy curse that has been placed upon her. Frankly, in trying to change up the standard formula, the film simply emphasizes why horror films are typically full of “bad” people deserving of the fates that befall them. At no point did I want to see the bad things that befall our heroine.
Beyond this failing, there was little exciting about the film, no true stand-out sequences. The frantic, darting camera work only served to remind me of how much I want another Evil Dead film. The moment that the psychic put the button into the envelop, the end of the film was obvious to both my wife and myself. Given the bad luck that befalls Christine at every turn, of course the ending plays out the way in which it does.
Drag Me to Hell is a perfectly competent film. It is well made, with great acting, with fun special effects. I found the script to be somewhat lacking, and I felt no real motivation to root for or against the protagonist – the series of events that befall Christine just felt unfair and not in any way that I found compelling.
I did really dig the old school Universal logo on the front and end of the film though.