Drag Me To Hell

drag_me_to_hellrating-1.0Remember the one where the guy crosses the gypsy and gets cursed, horrible shit happening to him throughout the stupid fucking movie, labelled inappropriately as "horror", as the gypsy's curse wreaks havoc across his life? Yeah, I didn't watch Thinner either, but it was a roundly stupid idea, even for a fucking Stephen King adaptation.

You, like I, probably said to yourself "The day of the gypsy movie, much less the idea of gypsy curses in movies, is over and we'll never have to see this shit again." Apparently Sam Raimi, hack douchefuck that he is, didn't get the memo. Floating on all the undeserved credit of nerd love for the mediocre old saws, the Evil Dead movies, and the bland and ever-more-stupid Spider-Man films which were ruined under his watch, Raimi is allowed to make pretty much whatever he wants. For the longest time, that was restricted to producing endless and dull dimly-lit and heavily-filtered Japanese horror remakes. But, now, Raimi sticks his own toe into the fecal waters that pour forth from his ample theatrical bowels.

I will spare you all of the usual paid reviewer witticisms. "This movie drags the viewer to hell." "When you see Drag Me To Hell, you're asking for it!" Thanks, failed journalism major. I'll stick to the pertinent details and leave the shitty, inept stand-up comedy routine to Dane Cook.

Written by Sam and his untalented co-writer/brother/quack doctor, Ivan Raimi, who was partially responsible for the suck-ness of Darkman, Army Of Darkness, and the Spider-Man movies (particularly Spider-Man 3, which he actually got full credit for), Drag Me To Hell is one of the most awful, badly-written movies in contemporary history, especially to come out of the conventional studio system and not just be some 14th-rate slasher movie made for $6,000 by a bunch of kids with delusions of grandeur. No, this load of unwanted horseshit and slapstick absurdity was wrung from the world of high-budget film and well-known actors.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Justin Long, Apple's prime cocksucker, shits up the screen in this movie, as it is his wont in life to be the Poor Man's LeBeouf of the "mediocre theatrical release" world. Alison Lohman delivers the first majorly disappointing role of her career, apparently taking all her acting cues from Long's rucksack of blank stares and stupid faces. Though she's been good in many other films, Lohman's acting chops are incredibly weak, as is her character, in this particular lark. She was apparently no match for the list of indignities thrust upon her and her wide-eyes and blank look do little to pass for acting, though little about this movie is passable enough to force even her bad acting into perspective.

In what is supposed to be a morality tale, Lohman, the world's most inept and spineless loan officer, chooses to do her job properly and deny charity to an exceptionally gross, cranky, and unpleasant old cunt who can't pay her bills, despite the fact that she has a truckload of family members whom we see later, none of whom could have apparently helped the old whore. But she's a gypsy and, as we all know, they're gross, antiquated, thieving scumbags. The skank makes a huge scene and fondles Lohman while pleading to save her home and Lohman has her ejected from the bank, as any sane person would. The gypsy blames the girl for "shaming" her and curses her, then stalks her and attacks her in the parking garage, where a slapstick-y scene of violence insues, including the woman's false teeth popping out and the toothless old hag gumming on Lohman's chin for long, uncomfortable moments. The fact of the matter is that this movie (or Sam Raimi) has far too deep of a fascination with bodily fluids, as saliva and phlegm and many other grotesqueries fly around with abandon, coating everyone and everything. After the fight, the woman puts a proper gypsy curse on the silly girl, who has days to live before some bullshit goat-headed demon drags her away to hell. (I thought the curse was the fact that Lohman was forced to be in this piece of shit in the first place.)  Oh, did I mention that the demon is invisible? Invisible monsters are always fun, in that they aren't at all. I'm pretty sure we got enough of that bullshit all the way back in the 1950's heyday of fishing line and invisible creatures/people chosen for the plot because it could be filmed for virtually nothing. It's a big, stupid, hacky cheat and nothing vaguely interesting or frightening is seen for the whole movie. Or even unseen. It would have made sense if Raimi made the movie himself on a shoestring, but this was well-financed and filled with CGI. Why the invisible monster? Instead, your audience is paying to watch a shadow outside a door or window for an hour and a half.

Remember the scene in Evil Dead II where the weird noises spiraled around the room as Ash stood and listened, staring at the walls? Did you ever want to see a movie where that scene lasted an hour? Well, Drag Me To Hell is that movie. Almost every shot in the last two thirds of the film is Lohman staring at a wall, window or door as she listens for sounds and nothing happens. The shots grow stupidly, comically long, like a bad parody of The Grudge films. Just shots of doors and staring faces that last for minutes at a time while you watch absolutely nothing of interest happen. I'm sure it's everyone's dream film. I know you're rushing to your Netflix queue or whatever it is that you kids do these days.

The old woman dies after cursing the girl, so she can't lift the curse, not that she would, being an evil gypsy and all, so poor Allison is stuck going through the third-rate Final Destination "let's figure out how this supernatural bullshit works" plotline. I'll save you a large amount of your precious time by telling you that every character is tedious, nothing happens, no one does anything vaguely intelligent, there's a weak-ass seance scene (another thing moviegoers have been longing for all these years), Lohman tries to pass the curse back off onto the dead gypsy, and the ending features a "twist" where Justin Long inadvertantly helps his girlfriend stay cursed and she's dragged off to hell, as implied in the title. Oops, "spoiler alert". If I ruined the movie for you, good. The movie ruined more for me than that, so I'm saving you. You should be thanking me, you fucking ingrate.

It's clear from the writing of the movie that it was never salvagable; one viewing and this much is assured to be true. (And it makes a lot of sense why this idea sat on Raimi's shelf, unused, for over a decade.) But the direction does nothing at all to steer it toward being intelligible, watchable, or passable as a film. The shitty shots of nothing, the scatalogical nature of the story combined with the abject stupidity of a gypsy curse plotline, the idiotic slapstick scenes that Raimi claims are "dark comedy" (only "dark" or "comedy" under the definitions of a Three Stooges admirer of Raimi's caliber); all these elements are the hot mayonaisse and old, uncooked pork that you're asked to choke down and be happy about.

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