Basically just don’t eff with gypsies.
After denying a woman the extension she needs to keep her home, loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) sees her once-promising life take a startling turn for the worse. Christine is convinced she’s been cursed by a Gypsy, but her boyfriend (Justin Long) is skeptical. Her only hope seems to lie in a psychic (Dileep Rao) who claims he can help her lift the curse and keep her soul from being dragged straight to hell.
Writer/director Sam Raimi took a break from making horror films for awhile and actually went on to make the Spider-Man films. Although I haven’t really checked out all of his horror films yet, I still get the urge to after seeing a crazy film like this.
The one thing about Raimi and horror films is that they aren’t necessarily scary as much as they are just totally freaky thrill rides. He doesn’t really go for scaring the pants off of the audience, and he just more or less focuses on a way to keep an audience entertained, while giving them some freaky happenings on screen.
I have to say that this is what Raimi does incredibly well here because he seems like he is just having a ball putting this good-looking girl through all of this torture, and adding a nice little funny moment to top it all off. You get a lot of goofy stuff in this film and for other directors it would seem forced and totally unnecessary but the way Raimi uses it to his advantage, works for him because the whole tone of this film is playful rather than being way too serious for somebody to actually chuckle at intentionally.
There’s some pretty disgusting things in this film that may turn some people away like random bugs, rancid meat, and eyeballs but it’s all toned down for at least a safer Pg-13 rating. A lot of those disgusting things that I saw on-screen too had me laughing but I kind of wish they pushed the boundaries when it came to sickening parts of this film. Raimi is a man about gore when it comes to horror (I’m a poet and didn’t even know it) so when I just saw him put little disgusting things here and there, I kind of got disappointed because I knew he could have really thrown it in our faces, but still went with that Pg-13 rating probably because nobody would see an R-rated film from the director of ‘Spider-Man‘. Stupid, but true.
Another problem I had with this film was how it seemed like Raimi kind of focused too much on the whole moral of this story. Well, not really the moral, but the reason all of this crazy stuff is happening to this girl. I mean we get it, it was her decision to not let this old lady have her house back, stop hitting me over the head with this big moral story and just show me this girl getting terrorized by evil demons again.
The acting front of this film isn’t really anything special, but it will hold you over for the whole hour and 40 minutes. Alison Lohman is good as Christine Brown because she just gets tortured the whole film but by the end you see a transition in her that’s really cool and pretty believable. She’s never really been one of my favorite actresses but she does good here. Justin Long isn’t his usual comedic-self as Clay, but plays the loving boyfriend role pretty well although his parents are assholes. Dileep Rao is also pretty funny as Rham Jas, the fortune-teller who seems like he’s out of a comedy.
Consensus: Drag Me to Hell is too toned-down and has problems with its script but when it comes to Sam Raimi’s direction this horror flick is fun, creepy, dumb, and very much what people should expect from him.