Hey now, did I not just recently make a statement about the sad fact that if one wants to see a decent horror movie they are better off staying home and renting rather than going to the theater? Luckily for all of us, the known universe was at least partially created to prove me wrong at regular intervals and consequently there is now a horror movie playing in theaters nationwide that is actually good. Ah-hah! I got you universe! I got you with my fancy reverse psychology! I just went to see DRAG ME TO HELL and I didn’t even want my money back by the end! I liked it and from what I could tell, so did the other people in the audience. Yep, they even clapped just like you are supposed to do after you have been successfully entertained.
It’s pretty neat to witness a simple story enthusiastically told by a person who knows what they are doing. DRAG ME is a crisp, clean cut of horror, designed to run like a funhouse ride, full of squirms and screams with zero bitter after taste. It has no intention of shaking you to your core or changing your life, but it is bound and determined to remind you that every once in a while horror can be fun. Everybody knows that director SAM RAIMI (THE EVIL DEAD TRILOGY) knows how to work a camera in stunningly inventive ways, but his real gift on display in DRAG is his talent for well-timed, pitch black comedy. You won’t find any gritty realism here, but RAIMI has an astonishing ability to keep things breezy while still allowing his characters’ hands to get sufficiently dirty. Miraculously the film’s conclusion is wonderfully cop-out free.
ALISON LOHMAN (WHITE OLEANDER) took over the film’s lead when ELLEN PAGE (JUNO) flaked, which is all kinds of fine by me. The role requires LOHMAN to go from mild and self-effacing to wild and self-serving without being too self-aware or losing the audience’s sympathy. It’s a lot to ask, but LOHMAN pulls it off and her delivery of the line “Here, kitty, kitty” is, mark my words, destined for horror infamy. In fact, I think you can expect DRAG ME TO HELL itself to become a future classic. Hopefully the DVD release will coincide with Halloween 2009, as this is the type of non-taxing, fun loving, yet still effective spook show that is tailor made for the holiday and can be enjoyed by many ages (DMTH is PG-13 but somehow doesn’t reek of it.) I wouldn’t wait for the DVD release though, SAM RAIMI has made it safe (and worthwhile) for horror fans to head back to the theater. Grab some like minded friends and expect some spirited conversation afterwards.