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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

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

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


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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
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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

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Drag Me To Hell
Empire Star Rating

Enough To Give Nightmares.

Drag Me To Hell is chilling, terrifying, shocking, funny in places and is enough to give anyone nightmares. It has great pefomances from the newcomer Alison Lohman that goes through a terrible ordeal that you really feel for her ongoing struggle to surrive this terrible curse. Justin Long was also good but like Empire said, this is Lohman's show and I hope she will be used more because she did a great pefomance. This film did freak me out, I screamed and I know that if I scream in a horror movie... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 09:33, 01 November 2009 | Report This Post


CGI no more!

This brilliant old-school horror film just proves that old-fashioned techniques are still the best. CGI demons would never have the same effect and this is easily the scariest film since the classic that is "The Descent". The recent "District 9" proved a similar point and could you imagine such films as "Gremlins" or "Aliens" re-made with CGI??? - I can't!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Dietrich Beatty at 11:28, 27 October 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Excellent

Bought it today. Still an awesome film. For those saying it is unorigonal - pray tell where similar films can be found as I would like to watch them. Makes a great double bill with Trick R Treat. Much prefer this to the Saw bollocks clogging up the screens at the moment. ... More

Posted by Rgirvan44 at 20:19, 26 October 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Excellent

L: kargon "film of the decade" get a grip wasnt the same film i bloody watched, thought it was quite crap, well overhyped A (fucking) MEN! Can I get a witness , yes! Finally! I love movies and especially crazy gory stuff, but this film sucked. I mean even when i tried to unplug my brain, it still sucked. But thats my opinion. ... More

Posted by wgamador at 20:01, 26 October 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Excellent

"film of the decade" get a grip wasnt the same film i bloody watched, thought it was quite crap, well overhyped ... More

Posted by kargon at 17:24, 25 October 2009 | Report This Post


Excellent

Lived up to the hype. Scary, funny and very inventive. Welcome back Sam. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Caster at 12:03, 20 October 2009 | Report This Post


Superb Sam Raimi

Drag Me To Hell is a film that demands the cinema treatment and deserves it. Sam Raimi is let loose and delivers what is a non stop, thrilling, funny, jump a minute spooktacular adventure. The horror directing is top notch and the whole film goes along with its furious pace delivering shocks and laughs in equal measure. Thank you Sam Raimi ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by THE DALTONATOR at 10:17, 08 September 2009 | Report This Post


RE:

Who are some of you kidding?  Take Sam Raimi out of the equation, stick in any generic director and you'd all be criticizing this as unoriginal, cliched and UTTERLY predictable, irrespective of what he 'was going for'. I'm an extremely vocal, unapologetic Evil Dead fan - and I was hoping for a smidgen of that same magic in Drag Me To Hell... instead we got too much CGI ("the effects are extraordinary", guy above me?  Hahahahaha... no.)  and little to jump at.  Oh, wai... More

Posted by Drone at 23:12, 28 August 2009 | Report This Post


Nasty, very nasty. I'm still having nightmares about it and I saw it over a month ago. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by adamthecaptain at 15:22, 25 July 2009 | Report This Post


Saw it in cinema tonight: After the Spider-Man trilogy, Sam Raimi returns to his horror roots. What a way to do so! The story about the cursed lead character might not be completely original but the excecution of it is magnificent. A brilliant mix of truley horrifiying moments and the typical Raimi over-the-top horror humor that we know from the Evil Dead franchise works perfect, gives the film enough variation and keeps up the pace. Lead actress Alison Lohman convices and carries the f... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 23:42, 16 July 2009 | Report This Post


nice!

Liked it a LOT! Bonus points for the hanky and the talking ghost. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by distortEd at 12:48, 15 July 2009 | Report This Post


nice!

Liked it a LOT! Bonus points for the hanky and the talking ghost. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by distortEd at 12:48, 15 July 2009 | Report This Post


Yawn

I never paid much attention to the 'Scariest Movie in the Entire Universe Times Twenty'-style advertising this film received, thankfully. Then again, I can't think of many scary films at all in recent years so maybe there is a grain of truth in it, it this were the case though it would be a purely negative reflection of the dire state of the Horror genre rather than a reason to praise this tepid Raimi effort. There is much to enjoy here - a splatter of humour, Evil Dead metaphysics - however, ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ybdisco at 15:19, 08 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Absolute shit turned up to 11...

L: Olaf L: wgamador L: SpiderBat ...is still just absolute SHIT!!! Just louder, stupider, and even more irritating. Horror for the Teletubbies generation. Sam Raimi should just give up now. He hasn't made a great movie since the first Spiderman. Do good directors become lame and bored after certain levels of success? ow dare you hate this piece of crap? How dare you not jump at stuff on the screen when the volume is increased to level 21 during the scary moments?... More

Posted by wgamador at 22:56, 07 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Absolute shit turned up to 11...

L: Olaf What did you think of Evil Dead 2? mm, I've got a review on that somewhere... ... More

Posted by clownfoot at 21:39, 07 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Absolute shit turned up to 11...

L: wgamador L: SpiderBat ...is still just absolute SHIT!!! Just louder, stupider, and even more irritating. Horror for the Teletubbies generation. Sam Raimi should just give up now. He hasn't made a great movie since the first Spiderman. Do good directors become lame and bored after certain levels of success? ow dare you hate this piece of crap? How dare you not jump at stuff on the screen when the volume is increased to level 21 during the scary moments? How dare your ... More

Posted by Olaf at 21:26, 07 July 2009 | Report This Post


Evil Dead 4...

You have to feel sorry for the simple goofs that brought into the super hype surrounding the advertising remit of Drag Me To Hell. With 'scariest film of the decade' and 'from the director of Spiderman' drilled into their tiny little brains, it's no wonder they were somewhat disappointed with the actual content of the film. However, for the more savvy audiences out their, those who could read between the lines and link the two advertising spiels appropriately, this could only mean one thing - S... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by clownfoot at 21:12, 07 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Absolute shit turned up to 11...

L: SpiderBat ...is still just absolute SHIT!!! Just louder, stupider, and even more irritating. Horror for the Teletubbies generation. Sam Raimi should just give up now. He hasn't made a great movie since the first Spiderman. Do good directors become lame and bored after certain levels of success? ow dare you hate this piece of crap? How dare you not jump at stuff on the screen when the volume is increased to level 21 during the scary moments? How dare your ears not bleed by the... More

Posted by wgamador at 15:37, 06 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Absolute shit turned up to 11...

L: SpiderBat Horror for the Teletubbies generation. sp; No, horror for the Evil Dead 2 generation. We just haven't evolved that much in the intervening 22 years...   p; ... More

Posted by clownfoot at 10:06, 06 July 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Drag Me To Hell

I love old ladies don`t you? They are so sweet, kind and understanding. They might moan a bit but most of them are great....well unless they`re the old gypsy woman in Drag Me To Hell who puts a curse on the young lady who decides to get tough and not extend her loan on her house that she hasn`t kept up her payments for and is then condemned to hell. Honestly I have never ever seen such a scary old lady in a movie as this gypsy woman called Mrs Gurnash I think excuse the spelling. Forget the Wic... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cruisecontroller at 01:31, 06 July 2009 | Report This Post


Absolute shit turned up to 11...

...is still just absolute SHIT!!! Just louder, stupider, and even more irritating. Horror for the Teletubbies generation. Sam Raimi should just give up now. He hasn't made a great movie since the first Spiderman. Do good directors become lame and bored after certain levels of success? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by SpiderBat at 17:24, 05 July 2009 | Report This Post


Absolute shit turned up to 11...

...is still just absolute SHIT!!! Just louder, stupider, and even more irritating. Horror for the Teletubbies generation. Sam Raimi should just give up now. He hasn't made a great movie since the first Spiderman. Do good directors become lame and bored after certain levels of success? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by SpiderBat at 17:24, 05 July 2009 | Report This Post


It dragged me and my mates to Hell

Jesus,Mary and Christ!This is without doubt the scariest/funniest/sickest movie I have ever seen.I used to think the grudge was scary but this makes it look like a cartoon.Had so much fun at the cinema that night it was unreal!was hooked from start to finish which is unusual for me cause Ive started falling asleep in recent times at the cinema but this reminded me just how good going to the movies can be.If you havent already seen it then go,go now! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by kram20 at 21:24, 29 June 2009 | Report This Post


The best horror I've seen in ages.

Fuck me. This was the most fun i've had in the cinema for a LONG time. Raimi still knows how to do a fantastic horror movie. Loved everything about it from the 80s Universal logo and the title card to the ending that was as strong as the opening. Everything inbweteen was a hoot. It scared in the right places and it was hillarious in the right places. Raimi is still a legend. I had high hopes for this and it more than delivered. I'm eagrely awaiting the DVD ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Workshed at 00:05, 29 June 2009 | Report This Post


Evil Dead 4...

Holy shit. Flying fucking eyeballs, Batman. This film is made of win. And success. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by clownfoot at 23:49, 24 June 2009 | Report This Post


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