Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
Click poster to enlarge
More posters to select

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
TBC
Cast
Justin Long
Alison Lohman
David Paymer
Fernando Romero
.
Directors
Screenwriters
Ivan Raimi.
Running Time
90 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Honeymoon
3 Star Empire Rating
Last Impresario, The
3 Star Empire Rating
I Origins
4 Star Empire Rating
Soul Boys Of The Western World
4 Star Empire Rating
What We Did On Our Holiday
3 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Two Days, One Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Some Like It Hot
5 Star Empire Rating
A Hard Day's Night
5 Star Empire Rating
Boyhood
5 Star Empire Rating

Drag Me To Hell
Evil Dead fans, welcome to heaven...


submit to reddit


Plot
Desperate for a promotion, kind-hearted loans manager Christine (Lohman) refuses an elderly customer, Mrs. Ganush (Raver), only to become the subject of a terrifying gypsy curse that will see her dragged to hell by a vengeful demon called the Lamia...


Review
Drag Me To Hell
Browse more images »
Despite the fact that Sam Raimi’s production company is called Ghost House Pictures, its output, ranging from Boogeyman to The Messengers, has been lame, derivative and lacking in scares. So, at long last, here comes the boss to show everyone how it’s really done.

Raimi, of course, made his name in the horror genre with the Evil Dead trilogy. Since then, his career’s led him away from scares towards web-covered franchises. After the misfiring Spider-Man 3, Drag Me To Hell is a return to a genre he once ruled in an attempt to blow away the cobwebs. In fact, this is easily the purest Raimi movie since Evil Dead II.

Co-written with his brother, Ivan, this is the first Ghost House Pictures movie to live up to the moniker’s macabre funfair origins, lurching from wild laughs to beautifully choreographed scares like a locomotive threatening to leave the tracks. As with a ghost train, the objective is simple. Build tension. Scream. Reveal scary thing. Scream. Relieve tension. Laugh. And start all over again...

It’s a formula Raimi milks right from the off and the scene where Mrs. Ganush (a memorable Lorna Raver) places her gypsy curse on Alison Lohman’s Christine. An extended scrap in Lohman’s car, it starts with a terrific twist on the ‘there’s someone in the back seat’ chestnut, before exploding into a relentless audio-visual onslaught punched through with Raimi’s pitch-black sense of humour, as Ganush loses her rotting dentures, and turns an intended bite into a slobbery, gruesome parody of a kiss.

As the more demented elements of the plot are introduced — props for the possessed hankie, a genuine first for a horror movie — it’s clear that, for Raimi, Drag Me To Hell is a release valve for every deranged impulse he couldn’t indulge with the Spider-movies.

Although there is no ‘message’ here, the film can be seen as a cautionary tale about the perils of greed, like Raimi’s A Simple Plan. Christine’s one slip, her one concession to ambition, is enough to damn her to a horrific ordeal in which Lohman is humiliated and abused in the grand tradition of that other great Raimi lead, Bruce Campbell. In a sense, Raimi has really lucked out with the timing of the film’s release — if ever there was a period when audiences could be expected to enjoy watching a banker suffer, it’s now.

And boy, does Christine suffer. If she’s not being slammed into a ceiling by an invisible demonic force, then she’s hose-spraying a nosebleed around her office or vomiting up flies at the dinner table. There are other characters in the movie — Justin Long, as her earnest boyfriend, and Dileep Lao, as a shaman saviour, are fine — but this is undoubtedly Lohman’s show, turning in an impressive ‘remember me?’ performance that should put her back on the map.

Raimi, though, was never off the map — Spider-Man saw to that. But with this film, he’s rediscovered himself. It’s not perfect — the opening 15 minutes are drab, and the dialogue’s often tin-eared. But just as nobody goes to see a David Mamet film for the stunning visuals, nobody watches a Sam Raimi film for nourishing dialogue. And, in terms of visceral cinema, Drag Me To Hell is his most satisfying movie in ages. That it often feels like a lost cousin of the Evil Dead trilogy is no accident — this is the movie Raimi needed to make before he could move back into the big-budget arena; a low-down, cheap, nasty return to the vibe of the films on which he was granted most creative freedom. Drag Me To Hell? Try How Sam Got His Groove Back...


Verdict
Thrilling and often hilarious, it’s good to see one of Hollywood’s most inventive directors fully reinvigorated. On this form, Spider-Man 4 should be a belter.


Reviewed by Chris Hewitt

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for Drag Me To Hell
Empire Star Rating

Oh dear

Sorry Empire, but whatever fu@kwit gave this review anything other than 1 star is an asshole anj prob just jumping on the Sam Raimi’s amazing boat. The only decent film he has done is The Evil Dead, which is 5 stars. This film is utter dog shit and thats an insult to dog shit. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by markqpr2000 at 19:53, 27 October 2011 | Report This Post


Sam Raimi`s return to his roots, the horror genre, is a wonderfully extreme over the top flick. With the help of a whole bunch of great special effects and brilliant sound mix it has turned out to be a typical "Raimi horror", this time with the addition of wonderful scares. You do see them coming but they work every time, they are never cheap. Excellent! 9,0/10 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 21:54, 25 August 2011 | Report This Post


Utter Shit!

Cant think of the last time I have seen such a heavily divided group of reviews though. This seems to be is a serious Marmite film. I personally though thought this was one of the worst films I have ever seen! It wasn't scary, it was laughable! And by that I dont mean it was black comedy funny because it certainly wasn't! It wasn't funny, it wasn't scary, the acting was awful and the story line was shit. So to sum up, this film is terrible. Avoid at all costs! If you want a decent horror film th... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by guysalisbury at 15:06, 24 May 2011 | Report This Post


Original????

Original? Are you kidding? This is a complete rip off of the classiest horror ever made - "Night Of The Demon". ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jem0013 at 13:42, 24 May 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Drag Me To Hell

I thought, apart from the first 15 minutes, that this film was utter pants. You could tell the fate of the 'heroin' straight away & the dancing goat?what was that about. Avoid if you want to see a horror film that actually scares you. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by pauljthomas at 11:18, 23 February 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Far too silly

L: frankjackdaw |Damn it, I accidentally gave this film five stars instead of one!  Grr!  This film is far too silly to be scary, and at the same time far too silly to be funny either. It seems to be a string of supernatural cliches strung together with a collection of gross-out horror gags designed to make the 15-year-old fanboys chortle. Far too often, just when it should be scary or disturbing, it undercuts it with silliness and turns itself into a parody. oron. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Spaldron at 07:20, 15 February 2011 | Report This Post


Drag Me To Hell

Watched the Blu Ray last night, thoroughly entertained, not perfect but good fun. And I love Alison Lohman, she's like a better looking and more likeable version of Kirstin Dunst. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Tech_Noir at 07:09, 15 February 2011 | Report This Post


Far too silly

|Damn it, I accidentally gave this film five stars instead of one!  Grr!  This film is far too silly to be scary, and at the same time far too silly to be funny either. It seems to be a string of supernatural cliches strung together with a collection of gross-out horror gags designed to make the 15-year-old fanboys chortle. Far too often, just when it should be scary or disturbing, it undercuts it with silliness and turns itself into a parody. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by frankjackdaw at 00:46, 13 August 2010 | Report This Post


Fun Horror!

Raimi shows once again that he is a master of mixing suspense, black humour and gross-out horror to create his own brand of horror movie. Great fun! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by krisjcummins at 00:34, 19 May 2010 | Report This Post


A riot

The first 15 minutes are drab?? eh? This film rocks from start to finish. The car park sequence is so much fun and then after that is 90 minutes of Lohman getting covered in gore, slime, blood and mud. Great stuff. Not 'scary' scary but it has some fun shocks. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 01:16, 29 March 2010 | Report This Post


Drag me to Hell

A film that successfuly combines some of the most important elements of the horror genre: good vs. evil, people playing with things that contact the supernatural, souls at risk, and last but not least...things being out of place!! Feelings of terror, and discomfort...especially early in the film, at the scene with the old lady and Christine in her car. I found that scene really annoying!! Nevertheless, it was a good film that evoked the feelings that a horror film should evoke like threat and ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by eleninic at 23:04, 28 February 2010 | Report This Post


Drag me to hell

Old school horror, little effects for the first hour, just noises and shadows but it works. The evil dead references are awesome. Nice ending. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lynnshep at 22:45, 25 January 2010 | Report This Post


horse shit

just watched it and i think i wasted my $5 hire fee. predictable, sad acting, they killed a kitten? usually Raimi stuff is great but i think the budget was blown on special effects in this one. Raimi, go back to making classics with Bruce Campbell. also, the empire critic who gave this 4 stars (excellent) should think about his/her job position. horror movies don't need Christians reviewing horror movies. i don't know if this person is christian or not, im just using that as a derogatory term... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lusifer at 08:07, 12 January 2010 | Report This Post


drag me to hell

A new fresh movie that was original and scary! (Well is scared the crap out of me!) A film that i have bought and will defo watch over and over again! Sam Raimi is back in the genre that he is best at, comedy horror! Rock on Sam! xx ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Empo at 14:44, 05 January 2010 | Report This Post


Blinkered fanboy praise . . .

. . . can't cloud a garbage script that runs out of steam way before it's brief running time ends. Lohman is so poor it's a reminder why she's not been on the big screen in the last few years, while the film has about two scary moments. Ridiculously over rated love in for people who say 'groovy' a lot. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Sambora at 21:57, 30 December 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Okay film that is not scary

Any film that uses an anvil has my seal of approval ... More

Posted by jmsmith57 at 22:39, 28 December 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Okay film that is not scary

In a word - genius! Inventive, scary, gory, playful, original, and as funny as hell. Released from his Spiderman prison, Raimi makes the film of his career. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bozo at 17:48, 27 December 2009 | Report This Post


Okay film that is not scary

Raimi's definitely lost the twisted and inventive horror trademark that helped to create 'Evil Dead'. This is an improvement on films like 'Boogeyman', but it's too tongue in cheek and comical to be taken seriously, although the fact that the film does n't take itself too seriously plays to its strenghts along with a great performance by Lohman as the tortured Christine. She plays strong, ambitious and ever optimistic that she can defeat the dark curse bestilled upon her by a 'humiliated' gyps... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by gzus at 16:16, 15 November 2009 | Report This Post


Okay film that is not scary

Raimi's definitely lost the twisted and inventive horror trademark that helped to create 'Evil Dead'. This is an improvement on films like 'Boogeyman', but it's too tongue in cheek and comical to be taken seriously, although the fact that the film does n't take itself too seriously plays to its strenghts along with a great performance by Lohman as the tortured Christine. She plays strong, ambitious and ever optimistic that she can defeat the dark curse bestilled upon her by a 'humiliated' gyps... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by gzus at 16:16, 15 November 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: lilone Maybe I'm just completely desensitized by watching the GOOD horror films. sp; So, what are the good horror films in your opinion? ... More

Posted by clownfoot at 13:17, 11 November 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: lilone This is literally the worst film I have ever seen. sp; Have you seen Junior? ... More

Posted by CORLEONE at 09:37, 09 November 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

L: alexhurst25 the whole world gone mad ? This film was appalling and people are falling over themselves to praise Sam Raimi's tosh. Why ? The performances were reminiscent of Natalie Portman in Star Wars, the dialogue wince inducingly bad. The set-up in the bank…..pitiful. A five your old could have devised a more realistic set-up regarding a banking promotion. As for actual frights, making very loud and sudden noises isn't particularly chilling - it just makes you jump. Perhaps it was m... More

Posted by lilone at 02:46, 09 November 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Enough To Give Nightmares.

I watched it at home last night, after seeing it in the cinema a while back I must admit it lost some of its magic, of course because this type of film requires suspense that can only be created on your first viewing? it was still enjoyable a second time, and is a well made film with some original ideas, even on the second viewing it is very creepy in places - specifically the scenes where you just see the demon's shadow against windows, or shadow arms stretching under the door - much... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hampstead bandit at 22:04, 02 November 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Enough To Give Nightmares.

I bought it on Blu ray and watched it again last night, sadly it didn't really hold up as well, for me anyway, on the second viewinghh well, it looks like there are some pretty decent extras on there. ... More

Posted by captainrentboy at 10:52, 02 November 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Enough To Give Nightmares.

I'll start by admitting i must be wrong because it seems to have really struck a chord with people but i was dissapointed. Maybe it's because i can only afford to get a new release every two months or so but i'm gutted i paid 14 quid for it. I'm one of Raimi's biggest advocates and i even thought Spiderman 3 was o.k (Not great but o.k) but this just wasn't that entertaining. I love budget horror effects and was really hoping for that kind of look/feel but it all looked so bloody- Computerise... More

Posted by TheSpleen at 11:27, 01 November 2009 | Report This Post


More user comments

SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Future Of Film: The Streaming Services Will Be Major Studios
(Or how Hollywood will have to start worrying about Netflix)

The Empire Podcast #129: Liam Neeson Interview
Plus Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Holliday Grainger and Jessica Brown Findlay drop by to talk The Riot Club

The Future Of Film: We'll Be Watching Films In Virtual Reality
Immerse cinema aims to become the must-have experience for the filmgoers of the future

The Future Of Film: Cinema Will Cross The Uncanny Valley
The future of VFX, from believable digital humans to underwater mocap

The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)