Drag Me to Hell
(I should probably start off by saying I was kind of drunk when I saw this movay and my memory of it is a bit hazy. So there's that.)
Anyway, a friend of mine (dude I used to sit around with way back in the day and we'd drink and watch Evil Dead 2 over and over and play video games) came to town to watch this flick. Some traditions stand. We drank too much red wine and then headed on out into the pouring afternoon rain. Because all my personal umbrellas now lost-- we snagged a couple from the umbrella stand my landlord keeps in the foyer of my building. Those umbrellas are all pretty much old and have horrible bold patterns. Been there forever. So us two guys walked down the street half-drunk with wildly patterned old lady umbrellas. Mine had big flowers with yellows and blues and his had some sort of 70's-ish swamp shrubbery pattern all over it. Plus his umbrella was like dirty with moldy stains and it wouldn't stay up by itself-- so he had to hold it at the top part just to keep it open. All in all, not the best look...
We get to the theater which had maybe 20 people in it and got some decent center seats. After one too many previews-- this flick starts up. I got immediately excited for some good 'ol' fashioned' fun! The opening scene pretty intense and excellent! Nice intro! And it delivered us firmly into familiar smoky cheapee credits! At this point, I cursed the overdrink of wine because my brain was talking too much. Raimi! Horror! Raimi! Get ready for cheesy effects! (I tried to settle me down to focus but I was like) New! Funny! Raimi! Right? Psyched! Right?! Shh...shhh... relax.... Everybody in my head. Relax.
Good news is for the first half-hour I was digging this flick. It didn't feel like a typical movie. The tone was cartoonish but I was ok there. The frights were earned on their merits. I felt myself tagged and dragged. My eyes went wide with possibilities and I buckled up for Hell! I flicked off minor issues like crumbs on paper because scene to scene things were getting worse and worser. Every effort or inquiry was met with worst case scenario and a big evil smile crept up over the idea that this flick is simply gonna slip and slide away from hope and pickup speed with the terribleness. I'm a big fan of never-ending-hyper-motivated-can't-believe-this-is-happening-beyond-all-control you're so dead soon dread. Let's go!
But somewhere about the 45 minute mark the momentum slowed and sputtered. The movie took a break to strut around for us. Justine Long tried and failed at earning one second of justification for his presence. The shocking reality of the chick's situation drifted away to fantasyland (Is she really going to be concerned about her job after being twirled upsidedown in the air by a demon? Is her boyfriend really not going to do anything but be in supportive 100% denial? Are they really going to mine the well of vomit on the face that hard?) Instead of launching off into unchartered territory-- this flick did familiar old school donuts for us. Yadda, I saw the smoke from the tires. I heard the loud screeching-- but we weren't going anywhere. I wasn't scared enough nor laughing enough nor feeling drugged* around. (*bad grammar for dragged). It just became... what it always was.
In the end, there was too much off with this movie to get me to love it. I liked it for sure. I want to see it again clearheaded too because at some point I realized that my mind wandered completely away from the movie. To the point where I actually wasn't paying attention at all. I was going over a laundry list of things I had to do later. I had to lock brain eyes to get back into it. And the cold truth is, if this movie was blowing me away-- there'd be no way any real world distraction could keep me from flying kicking and screaming into the screen and disappearing in the great unknown. Instead I just stayed put in the already known.
Three Good Things About this Movie
- I dug the overall plot and the presence of evil coming soon.
- I appreciated the effort to gross out and the shock seconds.
- It felt good to head back and visit the old country and see Sam is still cranking away.
Three Bad Things About this Movie
- Justine Long brought nothing but his cocky Mac face (+ his lack put a
spotlight on the absence of Bruce Campbell).
- It lost its horror nerve at some point and went too far into unrealistic camp and spoof.
- Always gotta wonder a little when the director is the only star by far...
But all in all, this movie isn't a bad time! It's a good time! It earns its keep. But for someone like me-- it carries a bulging bloody sack of core horror history-- and this flick plays like a remake rather than a re-launch. Of course, there's no way to recapture the no-frills horror and kills of Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness. But I guess I was disappointed in the end because this flick didn't try to drive a stake (squirting blood and all) to reclaim the title by taking off into unchartered waters. It kept our old boat securely tied to the dock where we could bathe in the spooky light from the rickety cabin. But I found myself gazing out at the darkness of the lake and wondering what might be out there. Something lurked. And I wanted to untie the rope and slowly row into the deeper dark...