Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver
Director: Sam Raimi
Running Time: 99 mins
Drag Me To Hell is an American film about a woman who finds herself cursed by a supernatural force after she rejected a mysterious old woman’s pleas for time to prevent her house being repossessed.
A bit of a mixed bag that showcases the strengths and weaknesses of director Sam Raimi’s unique style of horror, Drag Me To Hell offers up an entertaining and interesting fable-like story, though it struggles to keep the same narrative depth over the course of its whole runtime, proving a disappointingly generic horror in its middle act.
Let’s start on the bright side, with the fact that Sam Raimi’s eye-catching style of horror direction really works its magic here once again. His eye for gore and violence is pitch-perfect throughout, and although the story’s reliance on supernatural mumbo-jumbo is a point of frustration, Raimi is able to imbue his films with a more fun-loving streak than most Hollywood horrors.
So, while I wasn’t overly enamoured by the non-stop horror action of the film’s middle portion (more on that in a moment), I can say that without Raimi’s signature style, Drag Me To Hell could have been a far more drab and lifeless affair.
Another positive comes in the shape of Alison Lohman, who’s a surprisingly likable lead despite playing a character that’s never quite as lovable as you might expect. In tune with the story’s fable-like themes of morality and caring for others, Lohman gives a thought-provoking turn as a generally kind-hearted woman whose circumstances lead her down a devastating path.
That’s where the film is really at its strongest, particularly in the opening act, and again in the final few moments. With those themes of facing consequences for selfishness even when the intent wasn’t so malicious, Drag Me To Hell has some rather sobering dramatic moments, always ready to subvert your expectations on what its own expectations of morality are.
The problem, however, is that the majority of the film’s middle act – which runs for the best part of 45 minutes – doesn’t have that same thematic depth, and is a lot more focused on gory horror violence and a story that’s just a little too fantastical to be fully interesting.
It’s a similar case with Raimi’s breakout horror The Evil Dead. Though starting strongly, both films eventually buckle under the weight of non-stop horror action that really cheapens or even takes away from the real intrigue of the story.
If you’re a big horror fan, then I think you’ll really like Drag Me To Hell for both its genre sensibilities and moments of good drama. However, for general audiences, the film’s middle portion is a little too much to handle, squandering what was turning out to be an engrossing story, even if the film does eventually finish on a striking note. So, that’s why I’m giving Drag Me To Hell a 7.1 overall.