Drag Me To Hell (2009, Sam Raimi)

These days when I hear “Sam Raimi’s got a new movie” I’m not all that excited. When I hear he’s got a new horror movie it sounds slightly desperate so I’ll wait for reviews. When the reviews are all positive I run out to see it. But I am hereby calling bullshit on those reviews, because this isn’t a great movie, or a creative revitalization – it’s a generic horror flick. Alison Lohman (the lead reporter who I don’t remember liking much in Where The Truth Lies, also in Big Fish) gets gypsy curse, spends the whole film understanding then trying to rid herself of said curse, puts boyfriend (Justin “Mac Guy” Long) and spirit guide in danger (not to mention getting herself in all sorts of embarrassing situations), and so on. It’s funny/horrifying that she does get dragged to hell in the final minute, her screaming face melting off as demon claws pull her beneath the molten rocks, but the 99 minutes before that weren’t worth the payoff. What’s worse is the visual style… I don’t mind missing those Evil Dead low-budget hallmarks like the anamorphic lens spin, the stop-motion and camera-speed effects and the slow 360-degree “where’d the danger go?” pan, and I don’t miss Bruce Campbell (not after My Name Is Bruce), but these things are replaced by a movie consisting of close-ups 85% of the time, as if shot by a damned TV director or an indie neo-realist. I mean, the movie had its effective shocks and a sad/hilarious old gypsy woman and David Paymer, so I don’t regret watching it, but I do regret that it wasn’t a whole lot better.