Saturday, May 30, 2009

You Didn't Have to Drag Me To Drag Me To Hell

The afternoon is beautiful, sunny, and warm today. Naturally, I went to sit in a dark theater and watch a horror movie. I was interested in Drag Me to Hell both because of its pedigree (written and directed by Sam Raimi of Evil Dead, Darkman, and Spider-Man fame) and because of its rating. It's a PG-13 horror flick. Horror writers who keep to the restrictions of the non-R rating can't fall back on excessive gore, nudity, or constant f-bombing to entertain an audience, they have to stick primarily to actually telling a story. The end results of these attempts usually end up being very good (The Ring, The Others, The Sixth Sense) or very, very bad (The Ring 2, The Grudge, Critters, almost everything the Sci-Fi channel shows on weekends). Happily, Drag me to Hell is one of the good ones.

I've seen the description "old school" in several reviews, and it's pretty appropriate. The movie is deliberately paced and uses the musical score to get the tension up. It's also very campy, but good campy, and more than a little over the top in places. Drag Me never goes quite as nuts as the Evil Dead series, but there are certainly moments that evoke Raimi's old franchise. While the plot is nothing really new (a selfish choice, a gypsy curse, a tormenting demon), and the big twist is very obvious, the way the elements are combined works very well for the film. There's a scene involving a set of dentures that left me both cringing and chuckling. In fact, Drag Me is packed with scenes that have the same effect. And really, what more can you ask of a campy horror movie?

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