Directed by: Sam Raimi
Written by:Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi
Starring: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Dileep Rao, David Paymer, Adriana Barraza
Released: July 23, 2009
Grade: A-

Drag Me To Hell is the best horror film I’ve seen in some time.  It caught me completely off guard and I wasn’t remotely interested in seeing it after a long day at work.  It certainly “brightened up” my evening.

Christine Brown (Lohman) is a sweet, young girl who works as a bank loan officer.  She is keeping a very close eye on the vacant Assistant Manager’s desk.  It’s down to Christine and her compatriot to see who will earn the much valued promotion.  She’s doing whatever she can to impress the boss.

She will be put to the test when a hideous old lady walks up to her desk.  Her name is Sylvia Ganush (Raver) and she pleads to be given an extension on her mortgage payments.  She has owned the home for 30 years and has only fallen behind due to recent illness.  Christine is sympathetic but she denies Sylvia’s request.  She doesn’t want to be seen as being soft.

Now, it starts to get interesting.  Sylvia places a curse on Christine and leaves her with an ominous warning – “soon it will be you who comes begging to me.”  I’ll have to use that line when I next speak with my own bank.

It turns out that Sylvia does have the ability to conjure up an evil spirit.  Christine is soon visited by nasty paranormal being which leaves her well and truly shaken up.  Unable to call the Ghostbusters, she relies on a local fortune teller for advice.  He believes that the devil will be coming for her soul in three days time.  She must find a way to fend off satin before it’s too late.

For the horror genre, Drag Me To Hell offers everything that you’re looking for.  It has moments which will leave you jumping, moments that will leave you squirming and moments that will leave you chuckling.  One of its strongest attributes is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Sam Raimi also deserves credit for both his direction and his screenplay.  This is another positive on his strong resume which includes The Evil Dead, A Simple Plan and the Spider-Man trilogy.  With the help of cinematographer Peter Deming (Mulholland Dr.), he has created some particularly memorable scenes.  One in particular involves Christine looking at a floating handkerchief while waiting in the car park.  That’s all I can say.

I’ve sung the praises of Alison Lohman before in films such as Matchstick Men and White Oleander.  It’s hard to believe that she turns 30 years of age this September – she looks much younger.  She’s terrific in this film which sees her go through the full gamut of emotions.  Lohman was only cast in the role after Juno’s Ellen Page had to withdraw due to a scheduling conflict.

I can’t finish up without mentioning Loran Raver’s small part as the ghastly Sylvia Ganush.  What a memorable character.  If I have nightmares tonight, then she’s the reason!