FILM REVIEW: Drag Me To Hell - Cert 15

Drag Me To Hell – Cert 15 – Review by Tim Lince Thoughts Before SAM Raimi returning to direct a horror movie (all together now) – huzzah! It looked like he had replaced his supreme Evil Dead franchise for the glossier, big-budget Spiderman series. I

Drag Me To Hell - Cert 15 - Review by Tim Lince

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Thoughts Before

SAM Raimi returning to direct a horror movie (all together now) - huzzah!

It looked like he had replaced his supreme 'Evil Dead' franchise for the glossier, big-budget 'Spiderman' series. I feared this and so did many of the fans of his cult series.

But it looks as though the genre is truly his calling as he returns behind the camera to direct another one.

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The little information I've seen of it, as it seemed to sneak out in-between a lot of the impending summer hits, suggests it does not have the fun of his previous attempts. And remember, his last movie was the dire Spiderman 3...

Cast-wise it doesn't seem to be anything special (no Bruce Campbell) but according to reports the script has been bubbling around since 1992, when Raimi was arguably in his prime, so this suggests it could have some of that brilliant charm he is famous for.

So yes, this has the potential to be as good as the starry memories I have of the Evil Dead films. Here's hoping this doesn't come across as slightly embarrassing like his last directorial attempt.

Thoughts Afterwards

That's more like it!

I feared 10 minutes into Drag Me To Hell that I was about to witness the same old horror movie that's been regurgitated over and over this decade. But Sam Raimi grasped to his cult horror upbringing and gave the audience exactly what they wanted.

My early fright was down to the historic opening that I'm personally never a fan of. It brought us straight back to present time quickly though and that was the only real negative I found from then on.

Our hero is Rachel, who lacks the charisma and charm of Ash (Bruce Campbell) from the Evil Dead series but they definitely share the same unadulterated stamina and ability to brush most any trauma aside in seconds. This likeability isn't down to the actress though, I think, but down to the fresh and sharp script by the Raimi brothers.

Rachel is played surprisingly well by Alison Lohman though, who's played minor parts in films such as Big Fish and Matchstick Men before getting her first major starring role in this, and I found myself rooting for her as she finds herself in a variety of gross yet hilarious situations.

That's not to say the movie wasn't creepy at times, far from it.

We see a small act of selfishness rewarded with a harsh confrontation from an old woman, and if that wasn't bad enough she's then terminally cursed to hell by this batty gran.

What follows is what on paper would seem like a pretty normal fight between the mortal and the 'dark powers'. Various encounters in scenes are I presume, nods to some of the horror elements that make the genre so great - rattling pots and pans, spooky shadows and a brilliant reference to The Exorcist too - and I had a smile on my face every time one was thrown in to poor Rachel's adventure.

And of course the old Raimi magic was in there too. I guess they can be conceived as gory but really this is redundant because they're done with such good spirit. A staple to the eye could look crude and dreadful but it's shot and acted in such a fun way and all the characters seem to ignore any pain that we just go along with only a minor cringe. It's comic book violence basically and it's great to watch.

The rest of the cast are pretty forgettable though - a notable reference from an old Prison Break regular was a nice touch but the lack of any Bruce Campbell cameo was disappointing.

This is the perfect Halloween movie, it's just a shame it's been released at such an odd time. Maybe a DVD release for then? So as it stands it's a brilliant date film and most of all it harks back to those true classics of the eighties.

It's brilliant stuff, surpasses all those pale imitators and is a timely reminder of just how good Sam Raimi is at this genre.

5/5 Stars