Drag Me To Hell is the latest dark horror by Sam Raimi who is best known for his dark comedy/horror series Evil Dead in the 1980s. I still cannot get Ash out of my head, the man with a shotgun and a chainsaw arm fighting the leagues of the Undead. His latest horror film is a paint-by-numbers one that takes advantage of all the typical stereotyping of the races for the characters.
The film begins by showing Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) practising the English language in her car, which makes no sense because she is clearly English. Later we learn that she had a hick farm style upbringing and was in fact overweight as well. She's a young, diligent loan officer working in a Los Angeles bank who is hoping to be promoted to Assistant Manager. Her boss (David Paymer) though seems to prefer another colleague: a pushy guy, less talented than her, but much better at hardballing would-be borrowers. This character is played stereotypically by an Asian character to show the ongoing racial tension between competitions for jobs.
Christine realizes in order to get the promotion she must become heartless, and then ironically a pitiful dying old Romanian Gypsy named Mrs Ganush (Lorna Raver) drops by. She has cloudy eyes, nails that look like dirty claws, dentures which she messily takes off to suck on a bowl of sweets. Most importantly, she is poor and is desperate for an extension on her home loan, like so many people during this recession. Christine knows that lending her money would be a big risk. She decides to turn down her application, even when the lady gets on her knees to beg. Humiliated, Ganush places a Gypsy curse on her, called the Lamia, a goat-like demon, summoned to steal the soul of Christine.
Ganush very freakily appears in almost every scene to haunt Christine, and Ms. Ganush seems to have quite a lot of bodily fluids for her age to spew on our heroine. Haunted by the Lamia, Christine can't go anywhere without loud, scary music starting up. Almost everything she touches gives her the jitters. She then goes to visit a seer named Rham Jas (Dileep Rao), who happens to be an Indian intellectual touched with the abilities to sense energies. Rham senses that her soul is threatened with eternal damnation.
Every other scene seems to depict something being ingested or expelled. For example, a fly lands on Christine's face while she's sleeping and crawls around her face and flies into her mouth, only to re-emerge a day later in the middle of a very formal dinner at which her academic boyfriend Clay (Justin Long) who is from a stereotypical wasp family and his upper-class parents.
If Mrs Ganush isn't drooling, she's puking up insects over Christine's face. Then there's the scene in which a lovely cat, the same one that the young woman sacrificed in order to appease the evil spirit that's making her life a misery, appears to be re-emerging from someone's mouth. It's hard to know whether to laugh or to look away, so I did both.
The acting is terrible, the scenes are too much and the story has a great, but expected twist ending. I can't believe Justin Long would actually play in this movie as the lead character's boyfriend. This movie does show how old people should be treated better. If everyone has Ganush's power to curse, the Corporate Banks of North America would be extinct. Go see this movie, if you like watching non-horror movie fans like myself, jump at every little thing.
-Director's Cut and Theatrical Version
-Production Video Diaries
-Secrets and Surprises