By Jack Rico
Sam Raimi’s ‘Drag Me to Hell’ is a deliberately funny, horror film, which is neither too funny nor too scary. It’s definitely not a classic, but a refreshing return to a format that has seen many successes in the decade of the 80’s. This film is not meant to be taken seriously at all; you’re supposed to laugh at the funny parts, and as a nice surprise, you’ll occasionally be on the edge of your seat with suspense. What you should expect is to be grossed out by a myriad of scenes. Raimi is obviously looking to make you feel uncomfortable.
The plot is simple and straightforward – a loan officer is cursed by a gypsy for not helping her keep her home and now she needs to try and stop evil spirits from dragging her to hell.
I must admit, I was caught off guard with the intentional hilarity of the film. I’m so conditioned to laugh at today’s horror films because of how bad they are that this one almost tricked me. Cinematically, this movie is not good. The acting is bad, the dialogue is comical and the pacing is off. Fortunately for me, I understood what the Raimi was trying to do here and it made me enjoy the rest of the film. Sam Raimi, known for his three Spider-Man films, is no neophyte to the horror/comedy genre, actually he’s known in many circles as the guy who created it with his series of 80’s cult movies – Evil Dead.
It’s funny to me though, how much the Spanish language and Hispanics (Mexican’s really) have integrated themselves within Hollywood storylines. The opening 5-8 minutes of the movie are spoken completely in Spanish with a Mexican couple trying to save their son from the clutches of the devil. The Oscar nominated Mexican actress Adriana Barraza (Babel) plays an enchantress who wants revenge on the devil. She goes on this Spanish spell monologue without subtitles which makes it difficult for non Spanish speakers to understand, but advantageous for us bilinguals to appreciate.
Overall, ‘Drag Me to Hell’ serves as a senseless night out with friends looking to laugh and be grossed out. I particularly wouldn’t pay New York City prices for it ($12.50 a ticket), but a good $5-7 ticket buy wouldn’t be out of the question for a fun time at the flicks.