If you can sit through the repeated gross-out scenes in "Drag Me to Hell" without once closing your eyes, cringing or looking away, congratulations: You may have a career as a biohazard removal/crime scene cleanup worker.
I shut my eyes once and diverted my gaze at least twice. I also groaned numerous times, muttered "what the [heck]?!" after one twisted scene and laughed out loud a half-dozen times at the over-the-top madness. This is the most disgusting, the scariest and perhaps the funniest movie I've seen this year. At times I hated it for pushing my buttons so relentlessly and with such obvious touches, but I can't deny it: I found it entertaining as hell.
Even the possessed talking goat.
Writer-director Sam Raimi made his horror bones with the "Evil Dead" films before hitting it huge with the "Spider-Man" franchise. (His surprisingly varied resume also includes the underrated thriller "A Simple Plan" and the Kevin Costner baseball movie "For the Love of the Game.") After spending most of the last decade chronicling the adventures of Peter Parker, Raimi returns to his B-movie roots, resurrecting an old script he penned with brother Ivan and taking the reins for a fast-paced thrill ride that wastes little time on exposition while topping itself with one repulsive spectacle after another.
Yet "Drag Me" gets a PG-13 rating, because the violence is almost cartoonishly ridiculous. (Anvil, meet head.) It's more about the sound of a head snapping than seeing the head snap. When blood gushes in one scene, it's more reminiscent of Monty Python and "it's just a flesh wound!" than a "Saw" film.
Sweet-faced Alison Lohman, who turns 30 this year but still looks like high school junior, gets major points for throwing herself into the role of Chrstine Brown, a bright but timid loan officer eyeing an assistant manager's job. MacBook Smirk Boy Justin Long, the only 30-year-old in Hollywood who looks younger than Lohman, is her college professor boyfriend. He is the obligatory Doubting Idiot who keeps crinkling his brow and mocking Christine's claims of being cursed. The entire second floor of Christine's house will be destroyed by snarling demons tossing her about, yet the oblivious boyfriend will show up an hour later and just wait downstairs as she changes into an angelic yellow dress for the big dinner with his snooty parents. (Although he will eventually get to utter the immortal line, "I don't know what I believe anymore.")
Here's how the insanity commences. In an effort to impress her boss, she denies a loan extension to a dead-eyed, phlegm-spewing, crazy old gypsy woman who has animalistic fingernails and talks as if she's Bela Lugosi's daughter.
Next thing you know, little Christine is involved in a parking lot cage match battle with the old woman, who suddenly has the strength, tenacity and vicious instincts of an Ultimate Fighting Champion. This encounter features the first of many scenes in which Christine will be subjected to a disgusting humiliation that will have audiences moaning en masse.
Seems Grandma Gypsy has put a curse on Christine, and over the next three days, Christine will have encounters with a fly that winds up in her stomach, cascading embalming fluid, spurting blood, a fist or two in her throat, and other extremely vile creatures and substances. And then the devil's going to come and drag her to hell.
With the clock ticking on her immortal soul, Christine consults with a psychic, battles seen and perhaps imaginary demons and ultimately participates in one of the wildest seances ever put on film. Yet she still finds time to keep angling for that promotion! Whatta gal. Finally, Christine learns what must be done, and she does it while enduring even more grotesqueries -- but did it really work? And who's the real villain in this story: the scary old lady who couldn't get the bank loan, or the seemingly sweet farm girl who's trying to make it in the big city and will compromise her values to get that big promotion?
Ah, who cares. It's just fun watching the Gross Adventures of Young Christine.