It’s hard for me to be scared by horror films these days. Sure I get scared. The fears that I seemingly indulge in are real ones — poverty, loneliness, and death, to name a few. Drag Me To Hell, directed by Sam Raimi and written with brother Ivan Raimi, is a horror movie that deals in a simple fear: the fear of ending up in hell for our sins — literally.
The premise is simple. Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is a do-the-right-thing loan officer who finds that her good nature is preventing her from getting an assistant manager's promotion at the bank she works for. Stu Rubin (Reggie Lee), a much more ambitious loan officer, also wants the same position and endlessly kisses the behind of Mr. Jacks (David Paymer), the bank manager.
Things seem hopeless for her getting the promotion until an opportunity presents itself in the form of an old woman named Sylvia Ganush (Lorna Raver). Ganush’s problem is very common these days — her house is facing foreclosure and she’s looking to get an extension to get more time to pay the bank the money.
Christine of course is heartbroken by the old woman's situation and looks to help her out. Bringing the situation to Mr. Jacks, while pointing out that Ganush already had extensions offered to her, Christine is told that this could be the big one that gets her the promotion. She does the deed by denying Ganush's request. What follows next is hinged on a very common rule: never make an old woman mad. As a result of Christine’s decision, Sylvia Ganush places a curse on her in which she will go to hell in three days. Before those three days are up, she will suffer at the hands of an evil demon who seems to engage in a lot of mind trickery.
I am a big fan of Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead style of horror filmmaking. I was hoping with this film that I would see him return in full form to that kind of movie after dealing in bad adaptations of Spider-Man. He does in certain parts of the film, but the picture as a whole is a tad flat.
The setup that brings the curse to Lohman’s character doesn't feel really all that conflicting. The situation as it stands isn’t really a wrong move; people with money problems, however bad, still have to pay their bills. Banks bend over backwards to help out. At some point, the bank is going to do what’s best for the bank and make decisions in their own best interest. When the curse is carried out as a result of Christine’s actions, it’s depressing.