SXSW Review: Sam Raimi's DRAG ME TO HELL

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SXSW Review: Sam Raimi's DRAG ME TO HELL

A work-in-progress version of Sam Raimi's horror comeback Drag Me to Hell screened in the wee morning hours of Monday, January 16th at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. Save for some effects and the sound mix, the film seemed mostly complete. Drag Me to Hell features a rote E.C. Comics style plot that piles on old school horror cliches, including a gypsy curse, demon spirits, haunted houses, and a late night foray into a graveyard. Raimi shapes this overly familiar material into a slick horror film that seems to meets the demands of the current market while flaunting all the elements that originally made him one of the world's top horror directors.

Raimi's penchant for black humor, gory visual gags (achieved through both CG and practical effects), and frenetic camera work are on all on full display. The narrative unfolds in a leisurely fashion but the more aggressively paced scenes are frequent enough to keep the film from lagging too much. Alison Lohman's performance brings a combination of innocence and sincerity to a film that is often purposely over-the-top. In sum, Drag Me to Hell is a distillation of Raimi's best moves into a more accessible package. Universal should really cut a more representative trailer because the one in current rotation (check beneath the fold) does not do this film justice. Drag Me to Hell will not change the world but it certainly is a blast.

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Afro SamuraiMarch 17, 2009 1:09 AM

YES!!! I knew it! Glad to hear that, I also felt that the trailer wasn't up to par with what the film really was. looking forward to seeing this

georgiaMarch 17, 2009 1:47 AM

I had a blast at this screening last night. It was nice to see Raimi return to his comic-horror roots, and I felt like the film didn't rely too heavily on CG.

pochiWMarch 17, 2009 3:37 AM

"practical effects" you say? grrrreat! old school charm and ingenuity FTW.

WotanMarch 17, 2009 7:10 PM

i want to see this movie sooooo bad...may 29th is far away lol

oldnikMarch 18, 2009 5:54 AM

IF the trailer isn't up to par, the film must kick serious hellish Butt! it sure scared the hell outta me!! Glad to see the return to his true love, Raimi+Horror=quality.
Glad to see a return to old skool techniques, we're so sick of the cheap CGI masquarading in the place of storyline.
I just hope I have the stomach to watch this, I'm finding horror films are scaring me again now as I get older!!!! AArrrgh! my wife hates horror, so I have watch them, alone, in the dark.......................!!!

hellMarch 22, 2009 6:32 PM

finally a good horror movie