Editors' pick

Drag Me to Hell

Drag Me to Hell movie poster
MPAA rating: PG-13
Genre: Horror
In Sam Raimi's return to horror, Alison Lohman is a loan officer who becomes the victim of an old woman's curse after the woman's house goes into foreclosure.
Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao, David Paymer, Adriana Barraza
Director: Sam Raimi
Running time: 1:36

Editorial Review

In each of the two great movies opening this weekend, a crotchety old person faces the loss of the family home to cold, impersonal capitalism. On which film should you spend your hard-earned money? Well, if you think you'd enjoy seeing the elderly hero spirit his home away in an inspiring ode to adventure and friendship, you should see "Up." On the other hand, if you'd rather watch the old person viciously attack her bank's loan officer, tear out chunks of her hair and place a horrifying Gypsy curse on her soul, then see "Drag Me to Hell."

How angry are you feeling about the economy, anyway?

Sam Raimi's return to horror filmmaking is a satisfyingly, terrifyingly old-fashioned thriller-chiller, all right. It comes complete with a plucky heroine, an ancient curse and bodily fluids sprayed about willy-nilly. As in the best horror movies, "Drag Me to Hell" keeps the audience on the edge of hysteria throughout, so that every thump sets the heart racing and every joke earns a slightly out-of-control laugh.

As "Drag Me to Hell" begins, loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is at a crossroads. Her boss (David Paymer) is dangling a promotion, but an office suck-up (Reggie Lee) might steal it from under her. So when an old woman, Mrs. Ganush (the fearless Lorna Raver), appears at her desk pleading for a little more time to pay off her mortgage, Christine hardens her heart and denies the request. As it turns out, it's not a good idea to foreclose on a Gypsy sorceress with hell-demons under her command.

Awash in phlegm, blood, maggots and even embalming fluid, "Drag Me to Hell" is nonetheless refreshingly free of the kind of cruelly inventive torture that has characterized recent horror franchises. In fact, "Drag Me to Hell" is the rare horror movie that can be survived by people who normally can't take horror movies. Meanwhile, the movie's sucker punch of an ending will have even experienced fans of the genre amazed at Raimi's nerve.

-- Dan Kois (May 29, 2009)

Contains horror violence, terror, disturbing images and language.