Drag Me to Hell

Originally posted at http://slangards.i.ph/ on June 13, 2009

It’s been awhile since I’ve actually been scared while watching a horror movie. After 20 years worth of watching films from all over the world, I’ve become understandably jaded. I don’t cringe during The Sixth Sense, I don’t faint during The Ring, and I thought The Blair Witch Project was a piece of crap that should never see release in any other form ever again. When a friend comes up to me and tells me the latest J-horror film is really REALLY scary, my standard reaction is, “meh.”

And American horror is the worst of it (well, Pinoy horror is the worst, but it’s so bad I don’t even count it). There have been some gems that have come from Hollywood, but for the most part, the American Horror movie industry sticks to a methodology of movie-making that seems to only satisfy American Horror movie fanatics. There’s the slasher flick, where people are pursued by a monster in human form who tends to kill his victims in the most ludicrously brutal way imaginable. There’s torture porn, where victims are held captive and sick, deranged experiments are done to them. There’s the ghost-story-as-action-flick variety that doesn’t even bother to try and scare, just gives you alot of fancy special effects and pretty girls. And then there are the sub-genre films like Vampire movies and Zombie movies, which are usually either another effects driven vehicle or a campy B-movie.

None of these really gives me a fright, though after Hostel, I did swear off torture porn…

But Sam Raimi is proof that there are still guys in Hollywood that have the talent. He is a geek’s geek. A guy who seems to love what he’s doing, but knows how to do it. Along with Joss Whedon, Kevin Smith, Bryan Singer, Alex Proyas, Stan Lee and Peter Jackson, they make up my Pantheon of Geek Gods. He pretty much re-invented the comic book super hero movie with Spider-man. Let’s face it, Dark Knight was great, so was Iron Man, but with out Spider-man, neither would have made it out of the pitch.

Drag Me to Hell is a little diffrent from Spider-man, obviously, and it’s a a little different from other American horror movies. Many people compare it with the Evil Dead series and Army of Darkness, but I always thought those films had a generous amount of camp in them and were more like Zombie movies, more comedy than horror. This one is not; it’s a horror movie with a lot of laughs thrown in.

Now I don’t want to spoil anything for people who haven’t watched it, but lets face it, the theme of the movie is pretty straight forward. What you don’t get from the title, you get from the poster. She’s cursed. She gets dragged to Hell. Period. It’s the stuff that happens in between that’s so much fun.

Well that, and some of the stuff right before. The beginning sequence is great, and really puts you in the right place for this kind of flick. By minute 5, you’re date/scaredy cat friend will be covering their face and whimpering beside you. After the initial fireworks, things slow down for some basic exposition, but pick right up.

The movie is not for the faint of heart or for the squeamish. If the mere mention of phlegm is enough to make you gag, save yourself the trouble of cleaning up. If you don’t like dead bodies, body parts and/or bodily fluids, then don’t bother paying for the ticket. This movie will ruin your day. If, however, you find the use of these cinematic tools exciting, then Drag Me to Hell is right up your alley.

Get some rest before hand. As a friend of mine observed after the ride, all that screaming is “exhausting”.

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