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Drag Me To Hell (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000122473
Added by: David Beckett
Added on: 23/10/2009 14:25
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    Drag Me To Hell

    8 / 10

    Sam Raimi has had a varied career, beginning with The Evil Dead and going on to make a western (The Quick and the Dead), comic book films (Darkman and Spider-Man) and a crime thriller (A Simple Plan) but, with Drag Me To Hell, returned to the type of film with which he made his name.
    Christine Brown is an ambitious but mild mannered loan officer at the Wilshire Pacific bank where her boss, Mr Jacks, treats her like a doormat and dangles the possibility of the vacant assistant manager post to get the best work out of her.  Christine has brought in a big loan from a new client but must compete with the new Stu for the post.  Stu is an unscrupulously ruthless man who also treats her like dirt and is desperate for the promotion.
    When an old Hungarian gypsy, Mrs. Ganush, comes to the bank and asks Christine for an extension on her loan so she can keep her house and send the bailiffs away, Christine is given a stark choice: follow her heart and grant the extension or be ruthless, decline the loan and endear her to Mr. Jacks.  Choosing the latter, the disgusting gypsy gets on her knees and begs but Christine says there is nothing she can do and, claiming she has been shamed, Mrs. Ganush curses her.

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    Passing off the incident as a freak occurrence and a job hazard, Christine suddenly realises that the old woman means business when she attacks her in the parking lot and places the curse of the Lamia on her.  Feeling a sudden desire to get her fortune read, Christine learns of the curse and that she will have three days of torment before her soul is taken to hell unless she gets the curse lifted.
    Suddenly Christine finds herself being attacked by an invisible force, stricken with horrible nightmares and haunted by Mrs. Ganush's spirit.  Her boyfriend Clay, a psychology Professor, is extremely understanding but his wealthy parents are dismissive of his new girlfriend as she didn't come from money and was raised on a farm.  With her life turned upside down, Christine finds herself in awkward social situations and eventually a battle for her eternal soul with an exorcist who has already faced the Lamia and failed.
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    This was probably the most fun I've had at the cinema for ages when it was released - it's the sort of film that makes you jump, squirm and almost feel nauseous due to the sublime mix of horror and gross-out comedy.  It's a little like Evil Dead II in the inclusion of Looney Tunes-style comedic violence but Raimi can still ramp up the tension and deliver good shocks.  By employing strange camera angles, quick cuts and outrageous make-up and prosthetics he really keeps you on your toes and there are some scenes where you laugh because of the sheer outrageous nature of the events on screen.
    The casting is a curious blend of known faces and odd decisions with Alison Lohman as Christine (I last saw her in Matchstick Men playing a young girl), Justin Long moving away from comedy and sidekick roles to portray a psychology professor who is basically in the supporting girlfriend role and David Paymer as the creepy boss.  They are all very good with Lohman as both downtrodden and determined and long surprisingly convincing.  I'd never seen TV actress Lorna Raver before but she is amazing as Mrs. Ganush and the supporting cast also shines and there isn't really a weak link amongst the ensemble.
    After the abysmal Spider-Man 3 I was wondering if Raimi had lost it but I needn't have worried as that seems to be a blip on an otherwise fine filmography.  By returning to his roots, I guess he got out of the studio comfort zone and made a film that he wrote (with his brother Ivan) and produced by his own company, Ghost House Pictures (arguably their best film).  I loved this from beginning to end and would, and will, happily watch it again.
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    The Disc

    Extra Features
    I was a little disappointed when the menu only said 'Production Diaries' and, whilst this isn't the greatest of features, at over half an hour it covers most aspects of the shoot in ten sections.  The piece is a hybrid behind the scenes/making of and is entertaining and revealing.  You don't get the interviews with Sam Raimi, Alison Lohman and Justin Long that are on the Blu-ray which is a little puzzling but I guess it's an incentive for people to go for the BD.
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    The Picture
    A crisp and sharp transfer which, when upscaled, is extremely impressive with vibrant colours and good contrasts.  The effects are very well rendered with only a few greenscreen effects and a lot of visual effects using prosthetics and SFX make-up. 
    Raimi doesn't hold back on the gross out factor and there are scenes that will have people putting their hands over their mouths!  You want maggots, projectile nose bleeds and someone fighting a corpse?  You got it!
    The Sound
    The only option is Dolby Digital 5.1 which is extremely clear with good separation, presenting the dialogue well and using the surrounds to great effect in the more intense scenes, really involving you in the action.  It is very well scored and the sound effects and overall design of the soundstage impresses.
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    Final Thoughts
    Drag Me To Hell is an absolute riot that sees Raimi back in familiar territory so those who like the Evil Dead films will find plenty of knowing humour here (despite the lack of Shemps, Ted Raimi and Bruce Campbell).  This is a horror film with crossover appeal so fans of Raimi's work will lap it up and those who saw the trailer and were curious will find much to like.  Released in good time for Halloween, there are few better new releases to watch on October 31st. 
    Lucky heather anyone?

    Your Opinions and Comments

    posted by imadethisonlytocommentonce on 26/6/2022 01:10