Friday, 5 June 2009

The Thin White Dude's Reviews - Drag Me To Hell

Don't worry, I haven't jumped ship onto the blogspots. I've just been finding it pretty hard to cram in some revision while watching and reviewing at the same time. No offense folks, call me selfish, but I kind of have to think about the rest of my life. But forget false promises, this time, I'm back, and I'm going to continue doing what I do best: review films. Anyway, post superiority-complexes, here I have the review for Sam Raimi's latest since Spider-Man 3, Drag Me To Hell. This has been marketed purely on the fact that this is his first proper horror film in twenty-two years, returning to his roots after having conquered Hollywood with the Spider-Man series. Raimi is a truly versatile director, and after having also seen works such as A Simple Plan, he has sufficiently proved himself to be one of the world's leading directors. Basically, plot goes that Alison Lohmann plays Christine Brown, a loan officer who is seeking to gain a position of assistant manager, when making a tough decision which may benefit her career, is cursed by a gypsy, with a plot ensuing involving Christine and her boyfriend, played by Justin Long, attempting to battle the curse. Originally, Ellen Page was due to play Christine, which certainly would have been an interesting outcome, but nonetheless, in my opinion Lohmann absolutely carries the film with a great performance that exceeds audience expectations of the typical horror film female lead. She injects her performance with a warmth and human familiarity that many of these roles are lacking of, reminding us that this is a human character, and thus we end up rooting for her. Even Justin Long, who is normally the subject of my inexplicable slanderings, pulls off a believable performance as her loving and supporting boyfriend. As mentioned earlier, Sam Raimi is a perfectly competent director, and really seems at home and having fun making this film, and as a result, we enjoy ourselves. This is helped by a solid script by Sam and Ivan Raimi, Sam's brother-in-crime, in which it effectively bridges the boundries between horror and comedy, although it does certainly lean more towards the comic side of horror. However, that is not neccessarily a bad thing, and the film certainly is a good, solid horror-comedy. Another thing that I certainly admired about the film was the editing process. While the script is certainly a vital contributor to creating the dual-genre effect, without the right editing and timing, the entire scripting process would be ruined and become irrelevant. Here, this is not the case, with frequent collaborating regular Bob Murawski clearly recognising what Raimi wishes to achieve with the film, and proves to a vital component in making the film enjoyable, a point which brings me to the film's next praiseworthy point. All in all, the fact of the matter is that Drag Me To Hell is enjoyable, full-stop. With regards to the horror genre, we don't get many examples nowadays in which the film-makers make it their goal to make the audience leave the cinema feeling good about having seen their film. The recent intent in horror has been to scare the living daylights out of everyone, go with a bleak ending, and simply leave them haunted and scarred with images burned into their memory until their dying day (at least that's what their intentions are. Screw you Eli Roth). With this, it is that rare thing in the cinema anymore, in which you actually feel-good watching it, with a vocal audience who are collectively enjoying the experience of watching a film. The last time I got this with a film was with Borat nearly three years ago. However (the big however), there is one particularly large quibble which really hinders it from reaching the upper echelon of enjoyment (hence the big however). The fact of the matter is that with Drag Me To Hell, as mentioned earlier, Sam Raimi and co do genuinely seem to be enjoying themselves. Not that that in itself is a problem for me, but it seems that they have decided to play it lazy in their comfort zone and do nothing but make an enjoyable film. As said, I don't have a problem with that, but you certainly aren't going to make any masterpieces this way. I'm sorry, but as an audience we deserve the best. Nonetheless, I cannot help but admire the Raimi crew's relaxed attitude in making the film, which shines through in the final product, that being that we will take it easy and enjoy ourselves and make a perfectly competent film. Overall, I am on neutral grounds with Drag Me To Hell. It is a strong, solid, lean film which has great enjoyment to be offered to any patron who wishes to see it.

The Thin White Dude's Prognosis - 7.9/10

1 comment:

Dimedude said...

"muthafucka, I'm gon' haunt you!"

(I'm in a Samuel L Jackson mood)

When did you get a blogspot?
I've only got this account because me and Niall have been planning to start a music blog. I just have to wait until Niall's ready to get his head away from school and shit. It is perhaps selfish of me, but I honestly don't think it's too healthy getting wrapped up with the idea of school and other conventions being such an important form of progression. Or even, progression being the only form of living for that matter.

I may start a separate blog by myself, for a mixture of music/literature/film/photography/videogames. We shall see.

Anyway, I enjoyed the review of this film, it did it more justice than the terrible and (for me) misleading promotion on television. When you're next planning on going to the cinema, give me a shout if you want, I need to go more, I haven't been in a while. In fact, the last film I saw was The Boat that Rocked (although 'rock' it most certainly did not).