22 October 2009

6WH: October 22nd

Drag Me to Hell: Unrated Director's Cut (2009) directed by Sam Raimi
I was skeptical. It's been 22 years since Raimi did a real horror movie and he's never made one without Bruce. I have to admit, he did all right. Similar to Evil Dead 2, the main character Christine takes a lot of abuse that we're expected to laugh at. Numerous gross items -- flies, maggots, flem -- end up spilling into her mouth, her nose spontaneously sprays blood all over her boss, she has to swim around with a corpse in an open grave and there's a running gag where the gypsy -- both dead and alive -- rips clumps of her hair out. It's all in Ash-style fun. Similarly, the trademarked "Raimi cam" shots make several appearances, the gypsy acts somewhat like a deadite when she's pissed and, of course, both Raimi's Delta 88 and his brother Ted show up.

That might all sound tedious, like Raimi's making another Evil Dead movie in all but name. On the contrary, it was refreshing to watch something that was somewhat of a throwback in an era of Hostels and Saws. It's just a good, old-school, gooey, mostly practical F/X, possessed-people, gypsy-cursed horror flick. Though there's plenty to laugh at in the film, I'd peg it as a more serious horror movie that ED2, leaning towards ED1's style.

I have to admit, the ending caught me by surprise. Not the part where the coin and the button got mixed up -- something so obvious, my wife got pissed at the movie and hated it from the second the envelope fell out of Christine's purse -- and not the fact that the demon was not truly defeated. I was surprised that the pretty girl was the one ending up being dragged to hell. I completely expected the boyfriend to be the unfortunate soul. I was assuming losing the button in his car and him picking it up constituted an ownership change. Christine having to live with the guilt that her nice boyfriend is tortured for eternity seemed like the ending most horror movies would go for. I like that this one fooled me. I suppose the fact that a little boy gets dragged to hell in the beginning should've clued me in to Raimi's dark streak, but I missed it. (8/10)