Tag Archives: don’t piss off the wrong person

Drag Me to Hell

So, you know who I like? Bruce Campbell, star of such fine shows as The Adventures of Briscoe County, Jr. and Burn Notice, and of such fine movies as Bubba Ho-tep and Army of Darkness. As it happens, he is closely related via both cinema and pre-existing friendship with one of the finest horror directors of the ’80s, Sam Raimi.[1] After what feels like an extended absence, Mr. Raimi has returned to his genre of origin with what is simply the finest PG-13 horror movie I’ve ever seen.

In Drag Me to Hell, a sweetly ambitious loan officer runs afoul of a gypsy and her curse, and is then run through the gauntlet by a tormenting spirit who, in less than four days, will drag her to hell. (Unexpected plot twist there, I know.) As a technical exercise, it is quite close to perfect. From the soundtrack orchestration to the foley artistry, every moment of audio is, er, picture perfect. And speaking of that, the framing of the shots and the unusually relentless daylight[2] are every bit as well done on the visual side of things. But, however good, you didn’t come here for a piece of technical achievement. And that’s just the thing: as an actual horror flick, it is classic Raimi, straight to the hilt. The laughs are hysterical[3], in the most literal sense of the word, over the top in the kind of measure needed to make up for equal measures of jumpy scares and existential, well, horror. Because[4], the underlying message of this movie is that it doesn’t matter how underserving you are. Sometimes, you can piss off the wrong person, and your life will go extremely pear-shaped extremely quickly. That right there is an unpleasant truth that extends well beyond demonic table dancing and workplace sexism.

Really, my only complaint? No Bruce Campbell.

[1] You may be aware of some of his more recent work.
[2] I mean, relentless for a horror movie. A lot of other kinds of movies probably would not be noteworthy on this point, for even more daylight than this.
[3] There are by-God running gags. So awesome.
[4] Aside from a ten second shot of shifty-eyed Alison Lohman at the dinner party with her boyfriend’s parents, in which she signed, sealed, and delivered her ability to deliver black comedy. I am officially a fan of this woman.