Tuesday, October 13, 2009

DVD review: "Drag Me To Hell"

Your average popcorn-munching movie-goer probably only knows Sam Raimi as the director of the "Spider-Man" blockbusters. Hardcore horror fans realize that Raimi honed his filmmaking skills doing "wet work" with cheapie gross-out flicks like the "Evil Dead" series.

For this neglected latter group, his newest movie, "Drag Me to Hell," is like love letter and a bouquet of roses -- dripping in blood, that is.

Alison Lohman (who's 30 but looks 16) plays Christine Brown, a bank loan officer who gets hit with a nasty gypsy curse when she refuses to grant an extension on the foreclosure of a one-eyed old crone's (Lorna Raver) house.

Soon Christine is being haunted by shadowy tormenters who bust up her home and smack her around. In one nasty bit, a fly forces its way down her throat while she's asleep, only to reemerge at an inopportune time (still buzzing around) while she's lunching with her beau's (Justin Long) snooty parents.

Raimi (who also co-wrote the script with brother Ivan) blends the humorous and the horrendous to generally enjoyable effect, although there are times -- such as a big séance scene -- when the movie takes itself so seriously, you keep expecting hysterics to break out that never arrive.

Video extras are pretty skimpy. The DVD and Blu-ray both come with the theatrical and unrated version (which amps up the goo in several key scenes) and a 30-minute series of video diaries that touch on various elements of production. The most entertaining is learning how stunt coordinators rigged Lohman with a special nose tube for the scene where she spews blood all over her boss. (Who among us hasn't had that dream?)

The Blu-ray version also comes with a digital copy of the film for uploading to a portable video device.

I'll say this for "Drag Me to Hell": It has one of the coolest endings of any movie I've seen this year.

Movie: 2.5 stars
Extras: 1.5 stars

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