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DVD Review

DVD cover

Drag Me to Hell


Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver and Dileep Rao
Lionsgate Home Entertainment
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 26 October 2009

Christine Brown is an enthusiastic and ambitious Loans Officer at a bank. She is prospectively up for promotion, along with another worker. When an old woman called Mrs Ganush begs her to extend the loan on her house, Christine feels obliged, against her better judgement, to refuse. The loan has been extended twice previously, and the manager's eyes are on her. After hours, the old woman attacks her at her car and, after a violent struggle, curses her. A psychic seer, Rham Jas, warns Christine that she has the Curse of Lamia on her. An evil spirit makes her life a living nightmare, as everything goes wrong. Understandably, her boyfriend is sceptical. She soon learns that she has a limited time to reverse her fortunes before a demon arrives to drag her to hell...

Director Sam Raimi cut his teeth on horror with The Evil Dead films (The Evil Dead II was particularly inventive and humorous). Since then his career has moved much more into the mainstream, Most notably with the trilogy of hugely popular Spider-Man films. So it's an interesting exercise to study his return to the horror fold. Has Hollywood money smoothed away his raw edge? Has the time which has passed since his last original horror project dulled his desire to make an impact in a sea of mediocrity?

Not a bit of it. Drag Me To Hell is a simple tale well-executed. Although many of the elements incorporated in the film have been utilised previously (A Romany curse, psychics, a séance, and events similar to poltergeist activity), they are assembled in a manner which appears new and fresh. Concentrating on the perils of one central character is always a shrewd move, and here Christine hardly has time to breathe. Although the curse is in the form of a troublesome spirit (unseen, except for a briefly glimpsed horned demon-shaped shadow), it is the old woman who takes centre stage here as the villain of the piece. And very good she is too; in equal measure ugly, scary, violent and as mad as a box of frogs. Again there are elements borrowed from those East Asian supernatural horror films we've come to love (if that's the appropriate word), but this is definitely not a direct copy of any of those fine examples.

Drag Me To Hell seems to have acquired mainly favourable reviews, and deservedly so. Welcome back to the horror fold, Mr Sam Raimi.

Extras consist of a 30-minute behind-the-scenes documentary, and a trailer.


Ty Power

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