Welcome to day one of Horror Movie Marathon 2019! To start this marathon off I have to ask you something. Are you a nice person? What am I talking about, you’re a horror fan so that automatically makes you nice. In fact it makes you the most bad ass nice person in the planet! But let me ask you, would you ever do something bad in order to make yourself advance or to gain money? For one brief decision that would blow away like a fart in the wind; would you drop that niceness for one easily gained success? We always have those conversations with people around us. The “would you rather” or the “would you do this for one million dollars” kinds of debates.
Christine Brown is nice. She is also caring, soft, sincere and affectionate. I am sure many of us can relate. But all this “niceness” is like a curse on poor Christine. It is a dog eat dog world, a nice guys finish last kind of world. Christine knows in order to get ahead, she is going to have to make hard decisions. Ones that might not be very nice. Given that one chance to advance in her career, Christine makes the effort to not let her compassion dictate her decisions. But doing so at a terrible cost.
Drag Me To Hell
Drag Me To Hell is a 2009 horror film directed and co-written by legendary Sam Raimi and starring Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver and Dileep Rao.
The story follows a young woman named Christine Brown, a striving twenty something year old attempting to find success in both her career and personal love life. After regrettably denying an elderly Gypsy woman’s extension on her mortgage, Christine is cursed for her transgression. A curse above all curses! One in which an evil demon named the Lamia tortures its victims for three days! Then inevitably dragging their sufferer to the depths of eternal blazing damnation! As each day passes Christine is forced with terrifying encounters and slips further into despair.
Return To Horror
With Sam Raimi’s directing of the Spider Man franchise coming to an end in 2007, it was a perfect time for Sam to focus on his and his brother Ivan’s new movie. Drag Me To Hell was an idea Sam and Ivan had been working on for nearly ten years prior but never were able to get it into production due to Sam’s other projects. The woes of a successful director must suck indeed. Imagine wanting to work on something kick ass because you were too busy working on something else that is kick ass?
At first Raimi wasn’t intending on directing the film. He sought out Edgar Wright to be the one to do it but Wright talked Raimi into it. Sam Raimi’s last horror film was in 1992. That being the third installment in the Evil Dead series called Army of Darkness. Since then it was always speculated that Raimi would return to his famous character Ash Williams. When word was out that Raimi was doing another horror film, the horror community was extremely excited. Many people (including myself) were hoping for a fourth film in the Evil Dead series. But instead we were given Drag Me to Hell and boy did he deliver.
I might be as bold to say that Drag Me To Hell has much more of a focused plot than the Evil Dead movies. I’m not saying it’s a better movie. Just a more well established story due to our understanding of who Christine is. This is merely pointing our the growth Raimi has developed through his career. Christine is an extremely believable character with a wonderful arch. Although Ash Williams from Evil Dead, is my most favorite of horror icons, I have always viewed him more of a super hero or crime fighter. He’s an eclectic personality that I (nor you) could ever be… which is why Ash is so appealing. But even with Evil Dead we have no idea who these people are. There is no plot device that gives us reason to route for Ash. There, that is a criticism of Evil Dead I never thought I could make. I feel shitty.
Christine has this identity that I think we all can connect with. The film was released during The Great Recession that occurred during 2007 thru 2009. A couple years where many Americans financial security was as poor as the economy itself. The housing market was in complete turmoil and businesses alone were not performing as they should. The foreclosures on many families was a modern theme in the news and there was a certain sense of uncertainty for many Americans. Many people seemed to act in a more offensive manner when it came to our careers and charity it seems.
Yet people are still genuinely good. The kind of good person Christine represents. She’s a moral, compassionate person that makes one bad decision. All because she is looking to get an upgrade in her career. With this upgrade comes security within her finances and even her relationship with her boyfriend. What Christine does is kind of small and not something I would consider inhumane or sinful. Which draws you into the story. We have our down on her luck protagonist and you kind of agree with her choice that causes her curse. You might watch this film and feel real bad for her because… well you should. Nothing Christine does is wrong! But that’s what makes the movie so awesome. It takes a minor offense and delivers the fiercest punishment. I don’t think the movie is saying “being is successful is bad.” But maybe it’s a message for a society as one functioning unit instead of just an individual person.
Christine may very well represent humanity as well. We’re all clawing up the corporate ladder and will give up the things that make us actually good people. To forget those things and live a life of greed has repercussions to our own morality. It’s a slippery slope in which a society or people can lose itself very quickly. Something we witness in Christine. As the movie progresses, she becomes more erratic in loses control of her sanity. Making choices she never thought she would ever do. We can look at Christine and ask ourselves. Would we give up every ethical bone in our body for a single moment of glory or money?
I know many people find this movie reminiscent to 1957’s Night Of The Demon but I can’t help but see how Drag Me To Hell has another connection to 1941’s The Wolf Man. You may think the main character Larry Talbot is a werewolf but in all reality he is actually suffering from acute paranoia. He believes he is a werewolf and transforms into a monster every full moon. But it could all be a delusion. Depending on how you view it. Christine is very similar to Talbot where she believes so severely that the curse is real that, everything is just one hallucination.
We don’t see the film in the view of her boyfriend or even the gypsy woman. We see everything as Christine sees in her mind which could very well not be real. The world around her like the gypsies and the mystic she seeks help from are merely pushing her fantasies on her. The only real truth she hears is from her loving boyfriend played by Justin Long! He’s a voice of reason that can’t pull Christine from her intense delusions. Christine just falls deeper and deeper into self induced torture! Going so far as causing herself to bleed from her nose, then slaughtering her cat and then digging up a corpse from a deep grave! It’s an intense decline into paranoia, one that makes Christines character so much fun to follow.
I absolutely love it when movies offer up two alternate or mysterious views. You can appreciate it as what it appears to be but then later wonder if it means something entirely different.
Go To Hell
Drag Me To Hell is a fun film and it is proudly praised being the first installment for Horror Movie Marathon 2019. Any fan of campy over the top horror like Evil Dead or Dead Alive will find this movie to be a perfect addition to their lineup. I just wish Raimi would make more horror films. With so many new films like 2019s The Banana Splits, it appears there is a certain lack of movies that have insane premises but lack that over the top gore and exaggeration like Raimi can deliver. I miss campy fantasy style horror movies that offer a certain entertaining value to them. It’s not an overtly serious film like so many that came out in 2009. Like Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2, they bring a humorous terror to the viewer in an often overplayed serious realm.
It was a breathe of fresh air that was pure entertainment. I can slightly understand why some people (mainly assholes) who don’t like this movie. It’s completely bonkers. Especially during the seance scene and the Lamia demon enters the goat. To us horror hounds that love Evil Dead, we knew it was coming and it was like getting sex on Christmas morning before the kids wake up! Drag Me To Hell is a movie that doesn’t take itself all too seriously, something lacking in so many horror movies now.
A person will feel grossed out at times and even scared. But the movie uses these moments as good plot devices to further push the movie on. Nothing is placed in there to make little sense. Things aren’t scary because “it seemed like a good idea” or “it would look cool.” I never feel bored and never feel disinterested in the protagonist. Things progress for our character in a way that puts us on edge. You keep feeling her ship is sinking and you’re wanting her to win. Christine is so nice and the torture she goes through is torture for ourselves. I just want to pause the movie and jump into that world and help her. Just beat that gypsy curse and then foreclose on the rest of that bitches family! Then eat the goat and slap your soon to be mother-in-law in her smug face Christine! Do it! You deserve everything you want!