Alison Lohman in "Drag Me to Hell"
Drag Me to Hell
Director Sam Raimi ("Spider-Man") returns to his "Evil Dead" roots for this tongue-in-cheek gorefest -- one part spooky chiller, one part campy chuckler. Raimi's "Drag Me to Hell" is unapologetic and over-the-top, a fitting addition to the enigmatic filmmaker's diverse resume.
But the picture's extreme gross-out factor -- such as when a hideous-looking woman vomits earthworms and cockroaches -- may have more stomachs churning than hands clapping.
Bank loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman of "Flicka") makes a life-altering mistake when she reluctantly refuses to extend the mortgage of peculiar old woman Sylvia Ganush (Lorna Raver). Turns out Sylvia is a witch-like gypsy who doesn't take too kindly to being "shamed" by Christine. A tense and violent confrontation between the two in a quiet parking garage results in Christine being cursed.
It's a bad day to be a banker.
Christine soon begins to receive terrifying visits from a shadow-cloaked beast while her remarkably considerate boyfriend (the always enjoyable Justin Long) struggles to understand her bizarre behavior. Christine eventually seeks the aid of two spiritual guides to help quash her torment, leading to a clever and memorable climax.
Lohman and Long are terrific in their roles, easily selling the young-couple-in-love routine. Raver is perfect as the wicked gypsy and her unsettling performance lingers well past the end credits. It's clear Raimi and the actors had fun with this, even if some audience members may not.
The raunchy scenarios accumulate as the film moves along, and by the end it's nearly impossible to take anything seriously. Even those with the strongest of compositions will likely find moments of shock and awe (try not to squirm in the film's final act ... I dare you).
Horror fans will get a kick out of Raimi's latest, but it's sure to be a drag for the squeamish.
Rated PG-13 for sequences of horror violence, terror, disturbing images and language. 1 hour, 39 minutes.
- Tyler Hanley