If you’re not one for spoilers, then I suggest you completely ignore the title to this 2009 flick by Sam Raimi (a spoiler spoiler?).
Widely known for the The Evil Dead franchise, Sam Raimi was fresh off his Spider-Man trilogy when he went back to his horror roots and made Drag Me to Hell. Penned by he and his brother, Ivan Raimi, it is easily one of my favorites to watch this time of year. Drawing on influences from his previous works mentioned, Drag Me to Hell is about as fun and well executed as any horror film in the past decade. It has the style and polish of Spider-Man, the gore and ick factor of The Evil Dead, and a bit of slapstick like in Army of Darkness (a talking possessed goat? YES!).
It also has Alison Lohman (Matchstick Men) and Justin Long (60+ computer commercials) who are basically updated and much better versions of Peter and Mary Jane.
Christine (Lohman) is a loan officer gunning for a promotion and decides to man-up in front of her boss by denying an old woman another extension on her mortgage. Good idea!
Unless the old woman is a demented gypsy who unleashes a demonic curse upon Christine that will… well… you know.
But before doing so, the gypsy and Christine have an intense fight scene in Christine’s car that includes staples to the eye, a ruler down the throat, and some awkward mouth-to-mouth. This is Raimi at some of his best and 1 of 3 altercations between the two ladies (the other two get more disgusting) and features multiple running gags. We also get a nightmare scene where this happens:
Set on breaking the curse, Christine solicits the help from her boyfriend, Clay (Long), and a fortune teller whose suggestions don’t always go well… especially if you’re a kitten. In the three days until the you know what happens, Christine is haunted and stalked by an ominous presence known as the Lamia. Sort of a demon/hoofed beast hybrid this guy isn’t messing around. Like at all. These sequences, including a seance with that goat I mentioned, are both suspenseful and well crafted in a way only Raimi can do.
Drag Me to Hell is everything you want in a horror film that knows when and how to dial up the humor and gross out moments. Justin Long fills his role nicely and shows some decent acting chops when called upon. But the star is obviously Alison Lohman who basically carries the entire weight of the film in fine fashion. She gives Christine a fierce energy to fight for her life hidden underneath all her sweet southern demureness. The entire set up and engineering of the story works, the final act is bonkers, and you genuinely care for what happens to the characters. Especially Christine. Who totally gets fuckin’ dragged to hell.
For optimal gore and fun, watch the Uncensored Director’s Cut on Blu-ray. Check out our other Halloween favorites on our 31 Days of Halloween list here or we’ll put a gypsy curse on you.
Macho Man impressionist. Known to drink your milkshake. Anti-dentite. Eventual Delorean owner.