Monday, October 26, 2009
The Top Ten Things I learned from Drag Me to Hell
My pre-Halloween horror movie treat this past weekend was Drag Me to Hell,Sam Raimi's return to the genre that received tons of praise from fans and critics alike. Does it live up to the hype,you may ask and my answer is "Oh,yeah and then some,buddy!"
I watched the "unrated director's cut"(which,from what I found out later,isn't that much different from the one seen in theaters)and was happy to see Raimi's slapstick scare style back in full force. You could feel the joy of moviemaking radiating from Raimi and his fellow film fiends throughout the whole picture,sometime that was sorely missing in Spiderman 3,for one.
The story is basically a stylish Tales from the Crypt morality play,as ambitious banker Christine Brown(played by Alison Lohman,who proves herself to be a real good sport about some of the gruesome stuff the screenplay requires her to do)is forced to face the consequences of turning down a loan extension to an elderly gypsy woman(Lorna Raver)about to lose her house. Christine is cursed and tormented by a demon called The Lamia,who intends to take her body and soul to the pits of Hell.
Her boyfriend(Justin Long)is rather skeptical but helps Christine find a spiritual adviser(Dileep Rao) to give her some much needed guidance in trying to find a way to end the curse before the three day time limit is up. Many of the demon attacks in the movie are a mixture of shadow play and sinister silly F/X that give the viewer plenty of chills and awkward laughs while allowing him/her the opportunity to use their own imagination in making the terror all the more real.
Even tho this is meant to be a fun popcorn movie,Drag Me to Hell offers a lot of food for thought,particularly about the choices that Christine makes through this whole ordeal. She may seem to be a sympathetic heroine at the onset, but as the story goes along,we see her quickly shed the values that she claims to have rather quickly and more than willing at times to toss whoever she can under the bus in order to save her own skin.
Understandable,perhaps,yet you could also see Christine's plight as a test of faith and character. Early on,we see her trying to fit into the sleek mold of a big city working gal by using a diction tape to change her country accent and her cringing as she overhears a phone conversation between her boyfriend and his well to do mother,who wants him to find a more socially suitable mate than some "farm girl" as she calls Christine.
Her determination to climb both the social and professional ladder(where she's competing for a promotion with a conniving co-worker)brings out a strong streak of self involved ruthlessness that Christine refuses to admit is within her,but as things go on,it's glaringly apparent in her approach to survival.
While I won't give away the ending(which may or may not be what you'd expect),I will say that it is rather haunting. It filled my head for quite awhile,not something that any movie has been able to do for me in a long time. Whether or not you feel that Christine is a victim or deserves what she gets,Drag Me to Hell does make you wonder what you would be willing to do in a similar situation. Thanks,Mr. Raimi,for giving us more than brain candy to chew on after the closing credits roll.
Here are some more life lessons from Drag Me to Hell that may help you avoid this particular highway to Hades:
10) Shaming a proud woman in public is not a safe thing to do without backup:
9) Don't be so quick to gloat over beating an old woman in a fight or soon you'll be the one who comes begging to her:
8) Even masters of old school mysticism take platinum credit cards as payment.
7) Being a "farm girl" is only a social setback if you let it be.
6) Harvest cake is not enough to win over the affections of a snooty potential mother-in-law.
5) Having a literal scapegoat on hand is no guarantee of deterring a demon's desire to eat your soul:
4) It's hard to pass on a curse to a grown man who's crying like a baby.
3) Waitresses of the world,watch out for those cranky coffee drinkers. Push them too hard and they might leave you a tip that you wouldn't believe.
2) Even a hanky can be a formidable minion of evil:
1) Fly up the nose or down the throat,which is worse? You decide!:
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