Tuesday Horror — Drag Me To Hell

Alright, so I know it’s been a while since I blogged. I can’t believe how fast time flies. In my son’s first month out of school, his first real month of summer, he’s managed to knock out two already loose teeth and give himself a real bump on his noggin. I’ve had my hands full. I apologize.

But since I wanted to tell y’all everything I can about Sam Raimi’s latest flick, “Drag Me To Hell,” here I am.

Them's some nasty looking hands copping a feel....

Them's some nasty looking hands copping a feel....

First, my sister called me, oh, two or three weeks ago. It was late. Say around 9 or 10 p.m. The first thing she says is, “Oh my God, Shanna, that was so scary!” I’m thinking, what is this chick smoking? She fills me in, after a few breathy gasps and sounds of real fear. She had gone to see “Drag Me To Hell.” Told me I HAD to see it.

Now, when the trailers first aired months ago, everyone commented (everyone being my sister, her girlfriend, my stepfather and my husband) that it was definitely a “Shanna and Gloria” movie. (Gloria is my mom.) So, after Breanna (the sister) called up scared out of her mind it seemed, my mom and I made plans to see the movie one afternoon my husband was off from work. (That fell through when her A/C decided to die an agonizing death on a terribly hot day.)

But finally the stars aligned and the opportunity presented itself yesterday. I pick Mom up, we head to the theater, get our popcorn, nearly walk into a wall in the dark (ok, that was me, not her), and sit down to watch our first Sam Raimi horror film in theaters. (I was born after the theater premiere of Evil Dead, otherwise we would’ve seen that in theaters.)

Here, a warning. There may be *SPOILERS* below. I will try to avoid giving anything away, and generally I don’t, but I make no promises. Read on at your own risk.

Beware.... there be gypsies here!!!

Beware.... there be gypsies here!!!

After my sister’s late evening call, I have to admit, I was pretty stoked to see this movie. My sister does not scare easy, so for her to actually sound scared and excited on the phone was kind of weird. I was trying not to have an inflated impression of the film’s strength, but I did go in with a certain idea of how the movie would measure up.

I wasn’t disappointed, mind you. I did text my sister later that night and laugh at her for being that scared by it. It is quite obviously a PG-13 movie and while there are a lot of scary moments, usually accompanied by loud music and “da-da-DUM!”, overall it wasn’t that scary. I would love to have left the theater with an ominous feeling in my heart, but that didn’t happen.

But in the end, it was a fun movie to watch. If you’ve an eye for good writing, there’s a few scenes that really stand out, for good and bad. Good: A seance scene that actually includes other spirits lingering by the gate to the afterlife. I almost felt like applauding right then. It’s always chafed my butt that movie/book writers tend to neglect the rest of the world in scenes like that. I mean, is the spirit world so generous that other spirits wouldn’t try to move in on another spirit’s seance? I don’t think so. If anything, our selfishness is twice as bad in death than in life. (At least, if you’re a ghost stuck between life and true death, anyway.)

Bad: There’s a scene where Christine is fighting off a spirit and in order to end this hallucination/spiritual battle, she actually…. and I kid you not… drops an anvil on the spirit’s head. Yeah. At this scene I actually felt like getting up, leaving the theater and emailing Sam Raimi, his publicist, or whoever I had to and saying, “What were you thinking? Looney Tunes + Horror = … what? Crap??”

Any fear I might have felt at all in the film ended right there. Unfortunately, this scene occurs between a half and two thirds of the way through the film. Generally, a good horror movie builds up to the biggest scare at the end, and well, this scene just ruined that for me. From that point on, it was a comedy, not even really scary any more. Just jumpy.

Honestly, I am still reeling from that. Let me just set this up a bit more for you. (I’ve already spoiled the damn scene, might as well fill in the blanks, right?) Christine is searching around for belongings to sell and ends up in a shed outside, kind of a cross between storage area and work shop, and is grabbing a pair of ice skates hanging on a post to throw in this enormous trunk full of stuff to pawn (I will at least not explain why she’s raising money, watch the movie to get that one). So, while she’s holding this ice skate in her hand, the spirit jumps out at her, throws her against the post and is choking her. Christine, being this wise and yet incredibly dumb blond, looks at her surroundings, following this rope tied to the post near her head, just in arm’s reach, to its eventual end… an anvil dangling above the spirit.

And I laughed my sorry little tail off.

Thankfully, there were only two other people in the theater. (Movie’s been out for weeks already, and it was 3 o’clock in the afternoon.) Otherwise I might have really pissed someone off.

Just.. really… an anvil? Why the hell does this blond banker have an anvil dangling in her shed??????????????

Only Sam Raimi.

It’s kind of what makes his movies fun, and also what keeps them from being entirely scary. Like in Evil Dead 2, when Ash’s hand becomes possessed and he goes through that slapstick scene, fighting off his hand still on him—and then when he cuts it off. Evil Dead, the first one, is an impressively terrifying movie. As long as I put a bit of time between viewings, it always scares me. I run to bed so my feet don’t linger near the dark space under it.

I worry that maybe Evil Dead was all Sam Raimi had to put out that was actually scary. Evil Dead 2 couldn’t be called scary by a long shot and aside from the jumpy scenes that will get everyone to jump because suddenly the speakers burst with sound and your brain recoils to the bottom of your spine, neither can Drag Me To Hell.

Though I will admit there are a couple scenes that will either scare you or just shock you. I was taken aback a couple of times at the places Sam Raimi and his cast and crew were willing to go. It was a reminder that you can’t be afraid of taking your Main Character to a dark place. Sometimes it’s the only believable thing you can do.

As such, everyone should see the film just for a quiet, telling moment where we learn something very deep, very secret about our Main Character, Christine, that we can tell in just a few seconds has a major impact on why she is the way she is.

In the end, it’s a wonderful movie. I give it 3 and 1/2 stars out of 5. It’s a fun experience, it will make you jump, and even scare/shock you a couple times. You’ll leave the theater talking and that is what’s most important. Having a great time with your movie buddies.

Go see it, try to do it during matinee and have some fun.

Unearthing graves in the dark... in a rain storm... soaking wet... so much fun!!

Unearthing graves in the dark... in a rain storm... soaking wet... so much fun!!

And, just for me, when you’re done watching it, ask yourself this… How does Christine have any hair left on her head??

Oh, and one more… does this gypsy….

She's going to do some sick, disgusting stuff. Just... be prepared.

She's going to do some sick, disgusting stuff. Just... be prepared.

Really compare to the Deadites?

I'll swallow your soul!!!!!!!

I'll swallow your soul!!!!!!!

Oh, and for a second opinion, check out FilmCritic.com.

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