Wow. Color me amazed at how wrong 'the critics' are about the film Drag Me To Hell.
I rented this thing after reading up and down the 'net about how great this thing was. 'A return to form for Raimi', 'scariest film of the year', 'funny and shocking'... blah blah blah. Almost all the majors, Ebert, Travers, etc lined up with positive things to say about this movie.
A big thumbs down to all of them I say.
After doing the Halloween thing with the kids I was hoping to settle down with a good horror movie for the later part of the evening since I didn't have any plans to go out. I had missed seeing Drag Me To Hell in the theater, and was not happy about that. So for several months it has been my plan to make up for that miss by watching this movie over Halloween. Raimi has been an okay director in my book. I like the Spiderman films just fine, but this was looking to be a return to form of the Evil Dead variety. I should have known this would be more Evil Dead 2, my least favorite, than Evil Dead 1, my most-est favorite.
I went with the unrated version thinking THAT would be Raimi's Evil Dead 1 self really unleashed as opposed to the PG-13 rating that I thought he'd been saddled with to justify the budget that probably went into Drag Me To Hell.
As it turns out the budget was pretty big for a horror film, but small time for Raimi after doing shit like the Spiderman trilogy. He also wasn't reigned in by the PG-13 rating apparently, since he's quoted as not wanting gore to be the draw. That's fine. Gore shouldn't have to be the draw in (all) horror films. Having seen only the unrated version, I can't imagine what was cut since NOTHING about Drag Me To Hell rises to an R level. In fact, apart from a few very cartoony gross-out effects I'm not sure much of this gets to a PG-13 level.
This film has nothing to recommend it. I can't believe it was the horror darling of the critics. The characters are likable but boring apart the different and awful cursing gyspy woman. She was great (and disgusting). Not enough to make a great scream flick. Not one bit of this movie's plot was a surprise. Not one scene was scary. The only thing shocking was how many different ways Raimi could force foreign objects into the heroine's mouth. It went beyond oral fixation. She's eating drool, worms, embalming fluid, a fly, a shawl, everything except, presumably, Raimi's cock since it wouldn't require any auditioning 'extras' to land the lead part. I take that back. It DID take some sort of bravery and fortitude to eat everything Raimi required on film.
What the fuck? What did I miss? I feel like Will Ferrel's character Mugatu in Zoolander. Mugatu laments at the climax that he 'must be taking crazy pills' if everyone else sees talent in Derek Zoolander where he doesn't. 'I invented the piano necktie, Derek! What have you ever done!'
I felt like that watching this movie. I sat there just waiting for the part that everyone found so great. And it never happened. The movie started out fine. Complete with a child, A CHILD, getting pulled down to hell. That made me think 'wow, this movie might pull very few punches'. The first encounter with the gyspy woman is fine too. But the movie never really tries to be anything but sort of blackly humored fantasy movie. Everything is too brightly lit to be atmospheric. Everything is shown right out in the open. There are a few jump-at-you bits, but they are pretty weak since they are boldly foreshadowed. And nothing in the movie is as grim as the very first bit where the kid is pulled down by demons... until the heroine herself is pulled down by demons.
What? Did I just post a spoiler? No. I just saved you the rental fee. Even if everyone else in the world likes this movie, I'm considering this the opening (and likely only) volley in my personal campaign against the film.