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Drag Me To The Hell

drag_me_to_hell_m

I like Sam Raimi. Despite the abominations of the Spiderman trilogy (with the third making me question my fondness for him in an almost vocal manner) I have hung in there and awaited a return to making silly scrungy horror. My wait seemed to be in vain, but is now over with the release of Drag Me To Hell, the cheesily named return of Mr Raimi to the horror fold. Unless you include Spiderman 3, which was pretty horrible! BDUM-TISH. I’ll get my coat.

The plot is simple – girl crosses gypsy woman, girl gets cursed, shit happens, girl tries to get rid of curse, antics occur – but it is, as ever, beside the point. What you want from this kind of film is shocks, jumps, laughs and scrungy bits, and this has them all. It’s not a particularly consistent film, starting out (after the initial setup) with some fairly shock laden material, with menace pouring from the soundtrack and misdirection in the action getting you to jump at the times when you don’t necessarily expect it. This is all cut slightly with the Evil Dead style of humour, with goo galore and scenes of a ‘ewwww’ nature, as well as some flashes of dark comedy that inspired “Oh you can’t”s from the crowd in equal measure with laugs. However, as the film progresses towards the endgame the shocks start to fall off and the tension starts to ease. I don’t know if that’s because I got used to the adrenaline pumping around or if it did just start to lose its edge and descend too far into the ridiculous, but either way the end didn’t hold up to the intensity of the beginning. The seance scene in particular didn’t get much from me apart from laughs (and occasional jumps, although that is not achievement where I am involved). From then onwards it throws up a couple of moments, but nothing that compares to the rather high bar of the films opening.

The acting is fine, with the straight man being straight, the screamy girl screaming, the mystics being mystical and the scary lady being scary (as you would hope), but they aren’t going to set the world on fire. There are occasional attempts at fleshing out back story, but these generally help to setup jokes or push characters further into the cliche mould, removing the need for any further exposition. The effects are in general good, with the occasional bit of dodgy compositing, and the shadows seemed to work especially well, adding a chunk of inevitability to some of the earlier scenes. However I especially liked the score, which carried things along even when what’s on screen may not have been as good as it could have beeen. It has the loud quiet contrast down pat, with false build ups and sudden jumps that add to the action to grab the audience properly by the throat.

So, overall a nice piece of work. It may trail off as the film goes on, but the starting bar is high and the ending is still pretty good. You don’t go into this kind of film hoping to have your life changed, and you won’t, but the crowd left the cinema grinning and chatting, happy to have seen the film, which is what you want from a fun horror movie.

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