Monday, June 1, 2009

Drag Me to Hell (2009)

Now I remember why I stopped going to the movies: the plague of tweens that use the two hours away from their parents to chat with friends, send texts, and, every now and then, take a look at what's happening on screen; and--surely this is the worst--the guy who uses the opportunity to practice his stand-up comedy. This is the guy who swears everyone in the audience hangs on his every word and cannot wait for his next comment. To make matters even worse, my experience last night was complete with a guy who burped during a silence-before-musical-sting. Upon drawing laughter from the two tween chicks nearby, he continued to burp whenever possible, despite the fact that the first time was the only time the chicks laughed at him. Seems young guys are still doomed to use obnoxious behavior as flirtation.

Do I sound bitter? Well, it's probably because I'm at this strange age where I'm too old and too young to say anything to the tweens. If I say something, it will be translated as "be even more obnoxious" and I'll be the weird young/old guy who is so not cool.

Okay, now that that's out of the way, I can move on with the movie review. Once again, I purposefully abstained from the trailers, but that didn't stop me from overhearing others at work talking about them. I still haven't seen the trailer, but apparently it portrays the movie to be pure horror. Not true! Thankfully, I quickly skimmed over a few other reviews and found that it is what I thought beforehand: campy, jumpy, clever...well, Sam Raimi! And it was a blast! One of the most entertaining movies I've seen in a long time. It's employs the most quick-scares I've ever seen in a single movie, while maintaining a fun level of camp, all of which leave the viewer satisfied. But for this reason, I smite the trailer for it's false expectations. Then again, I smite all trailers. I hate them.

The trailer versus the actual movie resulted in such audible comments as "that was retarded." It was both amusing and a little sad to see/hear audience feedback as the movie rolled on. Of those who were actually paying attention to the movie, I could tell they were there to see a terrifying horror film. Unfortunately, they were entangled in an emotional mix of severe disappointment and confusion. Confusion because they couldn't figure out whether it was supposed to be funny (i.e. campy) or not. My only guess is that the decent acting (unusual for campy horror movies) and the great use of audio and visual threw them off. Unlike the traditional comedic horror movie, Sam Raimi had some money to spend!

For those of us who understand what this is supposed to be, Drag Me To Hell is a blast! Raimi takes a simple Gypsy curse plot and has fun with it. I even jumped two or three times. There are more than a handful of quick-scares, as I said. At every turn, something is appearing without warning, and when "it" does appear, the audio effects are loud, raucous, tumultuous! I swear The Palladium cinema cranked the volume on this movie beyond the usual level!

If you're like me, you're tired of the recent run of Hollywood remakes (and originals?) that aim to be the scariest horror flick yet--this just isn't happening here in America lately, sorry. Finally, the Raimis have embraced this fact and produced something we can enjoy again. Let Korea, Japan, France (the French are on it lately!), etc. handle the movies that actually do deliver creepy, harrowing horror films.

The last thing I want to mention about this one is the placement of iMacs and an iPhone around Justin Long. Love it!


  1. I am sorry that you had to deal with that. There is a theater 1/2 hour out of my way that I go to in order to avoid that same kind of situation. I think it is because the kids are scared and try to act cool and mock the film. Either way, I am glad it didn't ruin your viewing experience.

  2. I watched a matinee showing, and it was actually quite pleasant, but a friend of mine experienced similar things to you during his screening. I enjoyed it, but felt like it was nothing new for Raimi.

    As for the sound, I too felt like it was extra loud, and people even covered their ears.

  3. Geof - I think you're right. Thinking back, I realize that it was a while before I finally just gave in and began letting the movies mess with me! Am I advocating the ruination of innocent minds?!

    GGG - Glad you enjoyed the movie! I agree about the classic Raimi format. In fact, when I watched Evil Dead the following evening I had the same thought. Today, I have a lot of colleagues coming to work and talking about how much they enjoyed this movie--most of these guys don't watch horror at all, so they didn't get some of the Raimi-esque gags, but I'm glad people are digging it!