Plot: What’s it about?
You’ve got to hand it to director Sam Raimi. The man has been behind one of the biggest cult classics of all-time with “Evil Dead II” and at the other end of the spectrum, he”s helmed three of the most commercially successful movies with the “Spider-Man” franchise. Now, arguably the “Spider-Man” films came later in his career and I’m sure Raimi’s not hurting financially. So, it’s always nice to see someone return to their roots and give audiences more of what made them famous to begin with. Such is the case with “Drag Me to Hell”, a movie that defied my expectations and is destined to be a new cult classic right up there with “Evil Dead II.” Admittedly horror films are a dime a dozen these days and not all of them good. In fact the last two good horror movies I’ve seen are foreign in nature with “The Host” and “Let the Right One In”. And even those aren’t horror films in the traditional sense of the word. So is “Drag Me to Hell” worthy of a spot on your shelf? Read on and find out…
We meet Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), young and eager loan officer gunning for the vacant Assistant Manager position. But she’s got competition with new guy Stu (Reggie Lee), a more aggressive person than Christine. Christine is from the farm, used to be overweight and is dating Clay Dalton (Justin Long, “Mac” from the “PC and Mac” ads). As part of her plan to get the coveted position, Christine is faced with the worst of all customers. A woman with a glass eye who coughs up things we don’t even want to think about. She’s asking for an extension on her home loan and one that Christine must regretably deny. The customer doesn’t take kindly to this sort of rejection and is dragged out, literally kicking and screaming. Later, in the parking lot, she confronts Christine in what might be the funniest (yes, you read that right) fight I’ve ever seen in film. Eventually Christine is cursed and she’s now only three days to live before she’s, you guessed it, dragged to hell. Will the mysterious psychic be able to help her? Will she sacrifice her kitten in hopes of staying alive? Will she get the assistant manager job?
“Drag Me to Hell” is so tongue in cheek (sometimes literally, I might add) that I had no idea as to what to think when I popped the disc into the player. Raimi is clearly having a good time here and some of the scenes are downright comical. Then there are others straight out of the “Horror 101” book with the scary images, loud sound and you jump. This is a different kind of movie, for sure and fans of the “Evil Dead” movies should be right at home as this is certainly in the same ballpark as those. Alison Lohman is a modern-day scream queen and she took the role over from “Juno’s” Ellen Page just a few weeks before the shoot began. Would this movie have been as entertaining with Page as the lead? We’ll never know. But one thing is for certain, “Drag Me to Hell” is entertaining, funny and oh yeah – there’s even a bit of horror thrown in for good measure.
Video: How does it look?
The 2.40: 1 AVC HD transfer is all that we can ask for a new to Blu-ray release sporting a strong color palette and this palette includes plenty of red (Christine has one hell of a nosebleed in one scene) and even the phlegm has a very natural yellowish tone to it (you’ll know what I’m talking about once you see the film). Detail level is on par with today’s modern releases and I’m hard-pressed to find much, if anything, wrong with this transfer. If you’re looking for a top notch image, you’ve come to the right place.
Audio: How does it sound?
Audio wise, Universal has put their standard DTS HD Master Audio track on the disc and it really works here. Raimi seems to purposefully overdo it with the loud clanging noises and the high-pitched screams. The general ambiance is bumped up a few notches in some key sequences as well. Dialogue is as we might expect, very natural. As we might expect from a movie of this nature, the soundtrack does it’s job here. It rocks. While I feel that it was a bit too loud at times, I do think that was the intention. As we might expect, the ending act contains most of the action and your speakers will certainly get a workout. A nice job.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Unfortunately for a movie that’s destined to be a cult classic, the disc is surprisingly short on supplements. No matter though, it’ll give Universal a chance to release and re-release this for years to come with more supplements. The only extra of note are some Production Diaries hosted by Justin Long with some behind the scenes footage and the make up, and so forth. The disc is also BD Live enabled and there’s a second disc that contains a digital copy of the movie. Also, there are two different versions of the film, you can choose between the Theatrical version and an Unrated version. Will anyone actually choose the Theatrical version? Didn’t think so.