Sam Raimi’s up to his old tricks in ‘Drag Me to Hell’

  • By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
  • Thursday, May 28, 2009 5:40pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Sam Raimi has a legion of fans who wonder why he’s been wasting his time making a billion dollars with the “Spider-Man” franchise when he could be creating freaky little thrillers that would fit the bottom half of a drive-in movie bill.

That’s because Raimi cut his teeth on “The Evil Dead” and its sequels, and the faithful love him for it. His new one’s for them.

“Drag Me to Hell” is the demure title, and it won’t be confused with a “Spider-Man” film.

“Drag Me” combines a straightforward supernatural plot with eruptions of Raimi’s particular brand of horror-comedy. It isn’t elegant, but it works.

The film’s heroine is a loan officer, which somehow rings true. This is Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), who wants nothing more than to snag the assistant manager position at her bank and be with her boyfriend, Clay (Justin Long).

Of course, when an evil-eyed, toothless hag (Lorna Raver) puts a curse on Christine, making it likely that in three days’ time Christine will be (how shall we put this) dragged to hell, things get complicated.

The first 10 minutes of the movie, including a supposedly grabby opening sequence, are so pedestrian you might think Raimi has lost his feel for this kind of nonsense. Then comes a hand-to-hand battle between Christine and the spooky lady inside a car, and you know the old Raimi is back.

In short: Expect eyes popping out, projectile nose bleeding and large amounts of disgorged slime. Raimi is obsessed with things going in and out of people’s mouths, most of which look extremely uncomfortable to swallow.

The film springs to life whenever the horror happens, which happily is quite often.

The script, which Raimi wrote with his brother Ivan, includes traditional goodies like digging up a grave during a rainstorm at midnight and a seance involving a sacrificial goat.

Adriana Barraza and Dileep Rao play a medium and a fortune teller, respectively.

It’s enjoyable claptrap. Oddly enough, there’s something kind of sad and awful about the main character in this film, which lingers beyond the goofy stuff.

Christine is looked down on by her boyfriend’s upper-crust family, is not taken seriously by her peers, and makes some very bad decisions along the way. And with Alison Lohman (“Big Fish”), a skilled but remote actress, the character seems even more unusual for a big multiplex picture.

Of course, when Christine is knee-deep in the muck of a newly dug grave, we’re with her all the way. All the way to you-know-where.

Talk to us

More in Life

TSR image for calendar
Music, theater and more: What’s happening in Snohomish County

This weekend in Snohomish: The Snohomish Blues Invasion and the Snohomish Studio Tour 2023.

Made by Bruce Hutchison, the poster for “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is an homage to 1985 classic “The Goonies.” (Photo provided)
Indie film premiering on Whidbey Island

Filmed almost entirely on Whidbey Island, “A Momentary Diversion on the Road to the Grave” is set to premiere in Langley.

Dark gray wheels and black exterior accents provide extra visual appeal for the 2024 Subaru Impreza’s RS trim. (Subaru)
2024 Subaru Impreza loses a little, gains a lot

The brand’s compact car is fully redesigned. A couple of things are gone, but many more have arrived.

A clump of flowering ornamental grass or pennisetum alopecuroides in an autumn garden.
My garden runneth over with fountain grasses, and for good reason

These late-blooming perennials come in many varieties. They work well as accents, groundcovers, edgings or in containers.

A woman diverts from her walk on Colby Avenue to take a closer look at a pickup truck that was partly crushed by a fallen tree during an overnight wind storm Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022, in north Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / Herald file)
Storm season is coming. Here’s how to prepare for power outages.

The most important action you can take is to make an emergency preparedness kit.

Do you prefer green or red grapes? This antique Moser pitcher is decorated with enameled grapevines on shaded red-to-green glass.
Grapevine pitcher was made by renowned Bohemian company

Also, queries about grandmother’s coffee set and late husband’s Beatles records and memorabilia collection.

The city of Mukilteo is having a naming contest for its new $75,000 RC Mowers R-52, a remote-operated robotic mower. (Submitted photo)
Mukilteo muncher: Name the $75,000 robot mower

The city is having a naming contest for its new sod-slaying, hedge-hogging, forest-clumping, Mr-mow-it-all.

Death of parent with child. Piece of paper with parents and children is torn in half.
Helping children cope with the hard realities of divorce

I’s important to set aside one’s feelings and find a way to make this challenging transition as comfortable for children as you can.

Can he get the fare difference refunded after he was downgraded?

American Airlines downgrades Thomas Sennett and his family to economy class on their flights from Boston to Phoenix. Why isn’t it refunding the fare difference?

Most Read