While there are plenty of movies out there about demons, curses and other things of nasty supernatural ilk, many of these movies don’t quite have the budget to pull off the story in a believable way. It’s always going to take a little extra pizzazz on the part of a film crew to make the supernatural believable, but in Drag Me to Hell it might be a little bit too believable.
Drag Me to Hell tells the story of a loan officer at a bank named Christine Brown (played by Alison Lohman) who wants to impress her boss and get a promotion. In order to do this, she decides to take her boss’s advice and make a ‘tough decision’. She tells Sylvia Ganush (played by Lorna Raver) no to a third extension on her mortgage. While that scenario might be more than hellacious enough for some home owners given today’s economic climate, it’s not actually Mrs. Ganush’s tale that we follow throughout the course of the film because Mrs. Ganush gets revenge against Christine by placing a curse on her. This seems a bit far to go over a mortgage, but these are hard times people are shooting up their workplaces and local schools so perhaps causing the object of your hatred to be infested by a minion of Satan isn’t too far to go. The judgment call is really up to you, as a viewer, but I digress.
After becoming cursed, it takes Christine a little while to get her bearings and find out that she’s haunted by a ‘lamia’ which is not simply something that director Sam Raimi (of Spiderman and Evil Dead fame) created to toy with the audience. A lamia is a genuine greek spirit that is generally female and “devours babies”. The well intentioned Christine ends up going through all sorts of trouble to rid herself of this terrible spirit and we don’t want to spoil the end for you, but let’s just say it’s a very movie right up until the final credits roll.
The movie is definitely intended as a ‘morality tale’ that shows Christine in the role of choosing whether she wishes to trod the path to success or help a despairing home owner out. Christine might not be the most sympathetic character possible since many of us might not mind being able to work in a bank, but at the same time, she is faced with burning in a lake of fire for all eternity based on pissing off a single woman so maybe we could go easy on her.
With a PG-13 rating, the movie is a lot more about psychological tension than it is about gore. Yes, there are some moments that are likely to disgust you, but this is a film about ambience which is what all the finer occult fear flicks tend to use in their favor. There are plenty of laughs in the movie, but for this reviewer, laughs weren’t exactly what was expected and so on this level, Drag Me to Hell really didn’t impress.
For those who love a campier B-movie style film then go ahead and let Raimi take you for a ride, you’ll be pleased with what this movie has to offer.