Saturday, May 30, 2009

DRAG ME TO HELL - works better as loving pastiche than as horror

DRAG ME TO HELL is a very funny, loving pastiche of 70s exploitation horror flicks. It sees Sam Raimi of SPIDERMAN fame return to his roots, and every frame of this movie speaks of the fondness he has for the ludicrous nature of lo-fi horror. The colouring, the low-rent special effects (big on oozing bodily fluids), the two-dimensional characters, the absurdity of the central premise - it's all there. And in every case, the Bad Things that happen aren't scary at all, but just plain funny. This is, then, a movie, with it's tongue firmly in its cheek and, indeed, its pulse firmly on the zeitgeist. After all, in these recessionary times, who doesn't want to see the loan officer foreclosing a house get well and truly skewered?!

The plot is simple. Alison Lohman (WHERE THE TRUTH LIES) plays a sweet little push-over called Christine Brown. Fearing she'll be out-manoeuvred for a promotion by the office kiss-ass, she takes the unprecedented step of foreclosing the creepy Mrs Ganush (Lorna River). The boss at her bank (David Paymer) is impressed, but it all goes Pete Tong when the creepy Mrs Ganush puts a gypsy curse on Christine. For the next three days, she gets all manner of gross bodily fluids thrown at her, before the goat demon comes to take her soul. Her only chance of escape is to transfer the curse to someone else....

Lohman is perfectly fine as the scream-queen, but the movie belongs to the supporting cast. Reggie Lee is hysterical as the office kiss-ass, Justin Long is suitably straight-faced as the drippy boy-friend and Dileep Rao is spot on as the Indian mystic, to whom Christine turns for help. Overall, DRAG ME TO HELL is Sam Raimi at his most entertaining. But horror fans, take heed, this movie is PG-13 for a reason.

DRAG ME TO HELL played Cannes 2009 and is on release in the US, UK, France and Lithuania. It opens next weekend in Malaysia and South Korea. It opens on June 12th in Germany, Singapore, Estonia, Finland, Norway and Sweden. It opens on June 18th in the Czech Republic and Denmark. It opens on July 2nd in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Turkey and Vietnam. It opens on July 9th in Russia and on July 31st in Spain. It opens on August 14th in Brazil, and on August 20th in Argentina and Mexico.

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