Friday 2 April 2010

Here be Draggins!

Drag Me To Hell. 2009. US.
Directed by Sam Raimi. Lionsgate DVD. Region 2.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Sam Raimi... although I thought the Spiderman movies tended to get better as they went along.

Drag Me To Hell is a great little movie though. Perhaps one of his greatest achievements as a director. It’s a B movie but it never pretends to be more than it is... which seems to me to be an uncredited remake of Night of the Demon (aka Curse of the Demon), itself a “loose” adaptation of the M. R. James short story “Casting the Runes”. Actually, about that last point... I don’t know why more people haven’t made that connection yet... the movie even finishes on the railroad tracks!

All the most endearing Raimi qualities are present in this film... namely a mixture of black humour and grotesque horror mingled in together (when I saw this at the cinema last year, the fight between the main protagonist and the old gypsy lady in the car had the audience in stitches). In fact, the many indignities piled on both the old woman and our plucky heroine (played here by Alison Lohman) just keep ramping up until Sam Raimi’s sympathy with old Looney Tunes cartoons comes to the fore with a particularly humerous episode involving a suspended anvil (why?) and eyeballs popping out on their stalks.

Also there are some very eerie scenes reminiscent of something you’d find out of the pages of a few of the old Dennis Wheatley novels. And a nice talking goat thrown into the mix.

Boasting some fairly strong performances by a largely unknown cast and a kick ass, devil’s fiddle style score by composer Chris Young (who gave Spiderman 3 such a great but sadly unreleased on CD score) and you have a nice movie to spend some quality time with on a lad’s night in around the telly with some beer and nibbles.

‘Tis a pity then that I don’t drink beer :-(

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