Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Film Review: Drag Me To Hell

Good ol' Sam has stuck to his guns and stayed with the EC Comics/Pulp Horror Fanzine template that made Evil Dead 1 & 2 so great and everybody's in an uproar. OF COURSE "Drag Me to Hell" is awesome. Now I know people who know people who know Sam VERY WELL (as in editor Bob Murawsky, dog) and no way was he going to fuck up a little horror flick, because he's no doubt the same dude who made the Super-8s with Tapert, Ivan, Ted, and Bruce Campbell back in the 70s in Detroit with his dad's beat up Delta 88. Only now he's got some CG action going (but not TOO much). No doubt those jaded by all the brutal horror stuff out there are screaming about how something that's PG-13 (and it's a STRONG PG-13) with no blood and guts can't be scary and disturbing. Well, kids (and they are kids), this movie's not for you. It doesn't "push the limits" or "make a statement" in the postmodern sense of the nu-horror. What it does is deal with HELL (as in HADES) as a real frickin' fiery possibility, and if that's not heavy in the Miltonian sense of the old-horror, then what is?

DMTH reminded me of an extra long episode from George A. Romero's "Creepshow", a nasty morality play where bad choices lead to bad situations lead to...well...eternal damnation. Our heroine is a basic faceless do-gooder who gets trapped in a no-win deal that she'll never get out of. The "hero" is non-existent, as Jason Long's eternally suffering boyfriend actually ends up the one who actually "drags" her into the abyss at the end (I won't tell you how, and it's not really his fault; what Sam's dealing with here is fate with a capital F). They even throw in a cool mystic/fakir right out of a carnival (another EC Comics device), who tries in vain to aid the damsel in distress. Add a deranged seance (with shades of Ellen Sandweiss in "Evil Dead 1") that includes a talking goat, a pet sacrifice (complete with Raimi-esqe dry humor), and a Ten Commandments level grave resurrection and you've got a powerhouse of a little movie. And the ending? Awesome.

So go, make fun, say Sam Raimi made a "little" horror movie that people shouldn't care about. I say this is a heavy movie, man. There's theology, philosophy, grand drama of Dostoevskyan dimensions. Crime and Punishment, War and Peace, What goes around comes Around....