Drag Me to Hell [2009]

*Quick note: if you’re a native Spanish speaker, ignore the first scene. It lacks most of the impact it should have because the actors’ accents and pronunciation are so weird they’re distracting. The movie would’ve done very well without it, since it’s unnecessary exposition.

Drag me to Hell kicks things off with a marvelous, eerie opening credit sequence, unmistakably influenced by director Sam Raimi’s experience with movies based on comic books (he helmed the Spider-Man trilogy, with varying levels of success).  I watched this movie when it hit theaters almost three years ago and it’s the last horror film I’ve truly liked. All the glowing praise that The Cabin in the Woods has received inspired me to give it another spin.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie that weaves horror and comedy together so seamlessly (for the most part, anyway; that goat scene was pushing it) especially when the devices to get laughs or chills are so extremely over the top. An ominous score by Christopher Young, gross-out visuals and ghastly visual effects add to the fun and give it a nostalgic vibe. Alison Lohman makes for a very good scream queen, while Justin Long is pretty decent, playing against type. Like I said, this is a very humorous chiller, but psychics Rham Jas (Dileep Rao; Inception) and Shaun San Dena (Adriana Barraza) are dead serious. Rao is suitably mysterious and Barraza, who really should get a new agent, is great in her first half-decent role after being Oscar-nominated in 2006 for Babel. The Raimi brothers (Ivan co-wrote) close the show with one of the best endings I can remember; somewhat predictable but not any less shocking because of that.

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