Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Drag Me to Hell (click for larger image)Reviewed by Andrew Kasch

Starring Justin Long, Alison Lohman, Adriana Barraza, Chelcie Ross

Directed by Sam Raimi

When Sam Raimi announced that he’d finally be directing another horror film, the skeptics came out in full force. I was one of them. While I haven’t bought into the absurd fanboy claims that our pal Sam has “lost his soul” to the Hollywood system, through his highs (A Simple Plan, Spider-man 2) and lows (For Love of the Game, Spider-man 3) there’s no denying that the man’s sensibilities have leaned more and more towards the mainstream. Most of the titles coming out of his own Ghosthouse Pictures sure haven’t done the genre any favors and there were valid concerns that Drag Me To Hell would be the equivalent of an old man trying to skateboard again.

But as the old Universal logo flashes up on screen, our man Sam wastes no time putting those fears to rest. Rest assured this isn’t the big A-list Hollywood Raimi. This is the unhinged, reckless, mean-spirited prankster we all fell in love with. Drag Me to Hell is one giant love-letter to the old-fashioned latex spookhouse flicks of the 1980s and Raimi dives head first into his Evil Dead roots with the same warped energy. This is a true horror gem – fast, scary and insanely fun!

Drag Me to Hell review!The synopsis almost sounds like a remake of Stephen King’s Thinner — Allison Lohman plays cute lil’ loan officer Christine who is up for a big assistant manager position at the bank. One morning, a creepy old gypsy woman comes in begging for a loan and the career-minded girl makes the mistake of turning her down flat. And as horror movies have taught us, you simply don’t fuck with gypsies. Following a no-holds-barred drag-out fight (one of Raimi’s all time best) the old woman curses Christine with the nastiest of all hexes. Before long, the underworld comes a-calling and she must find a way to stop the curse before she literally gets dragged to hell.

The film sports a PG-13 rating (or so the studio claims) which is a bit hard to believe considering the amount of carnage and vile bodily fluids thrown onscreen. Once the gypsy curse has been planted, poor Lohman takes a Bruce Campbell-style beating through Raimi’s wonderful world of swoop-cams, attacking furniture and pus-spewing creatures. We even get a bit of old-fashioned deadite action thrown in for good measure! Of course, it’s all carried out with a wicked sense of humor and you can practically hear Raimi cackling behind the camera with every grotesque gag.

Originally Ellen Page was cast in the lead role, and while it would have been cool to see Juno get her ass kicked by demonic forces, Lohman more than holds her own. Justin Long brings a nice comedic touch playing her baffled boyfriend, and the whole supporting cast feels like they were plucked straight from a vintage horror flick.

Conceptually, Drag Me To Hell’s story is old-fashioned to a fault and doesn’t exactly break the kind of ground that Raimi’s Evil Dead trilogy did, but that hardly matters. In the age of scareless, passionless music video remakes, sometimes a wild rollercoaster is just what the doctor ordered. Take a deep sigh of relief, horror fans. Sam’s back!

4 out of 5

Discuss Drag Me to Hell in our Dread Central forums!

Get this site 100% Ad Free Support Us on Patreon!

Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

Get Your Box of Dread Now
*US Residents Only .
  • Gus Bjork

    I agree completely with the review. I would add Curse of the Demon in with the Thinner comparision. It was a lot of fun and, for me, the type of horror movie I’ve been missing for some time. It builds tension and suspense, a straight ahead story, although certainly sadistic it doesn’t revel in it (you’re sure not enjoying someone suffering as it seems your supposed to in some of the torture flicks). It didn’t depend on just knocking off characters every 8 minutes to keep your attention. I was most impressed with the strong character acting in the supporting cast (I love the fortune teller guy Rham) with the exception of her weasly co-worker guy who overdid it. I sincerely cared about what happened to most of these people.

    I don’t want to overhype it, it’s not the greatest horror movie ever made and it doesn’t break any ground but I don’t think there was intent to be anymore than it was. But it’s certainly a solid, enjoyable and memorable film. I would put it in the same basket as the Mist. Like it or not, it is a film that a fan should really make an effort to see.

    Spoiler kinda sorta

    And that ending sure was a kick in the nuts even though you could see it coming.

  • perihelion

    Everyone wonders why this movie isnt very well at the boxoffice. I see a couple of reasons why this happened. Just the title and poster will problably scare a huge portion of the audience off. Just picture yourself a person who really isn’t into horrormovies that much but watches occationaly. This person don’t know who Sam Raimi is and quite frankly dont care. He or she don’t give a damn who direct the movies he/she watches. The person reads the title “Drag me to hell”. What do you think that person thinks. “Hey this sounds really awesome” or “Hey, this sounds like a real lameass piece of horseshit!”. I’m pretty sure it’s the last one. The person also takes a look at the poster and thinks “They have to drag me to hell before I watch this dumb movie”. I also think that the Evil-Deadish makeup of the lady in the trailer could put people of big time. Just my two cents…

    BTW. Pardon the poor english…

    • rupp30

      I’m sorry but I don’t totally agree with that. I know a lot of horror fans that were stoked about this movie up until the point that they found out it was PG13. Others I know were saying that Sam Raimi can’t do horror films anymore. Some of what you say is true, for the non-horror fans possibly, but even some of the so-called “true” fans aren’t supporting this as well which is really quite sad since this is probably one of the best horror films to have been released so far this year.


  • Farmer

    If you complain about remakes and you didn’t go see this then…I’m at a loss. It is a great movie. I believe in remakes but I also believe in balance and while 16 is respectable, come Monday morning nothing changes.

  • Daniel

    Saw it last night and really enjoyed it. I just don’t think that the average movie goer is going to get it.

  • Avid Fan

    Looking forward to this breath of fresh air.

  • Kane86

    You know what I am just going to leave this alone.

    I still hate him

  • Dr Malachi Constant

    Need to see this. Now.

    Raimi, you old bastard … I can’t stay mad at ya. Hit these next 3 flicks out of the park, and we’ll just pretend Spidey 3 never happened.

  • FilmCritic3000

    I can’t wait to see this. Consensus has said pretty much what you did in this review, Andrew.