Monday, March 4, 2013

Drag Me to Hell (Unrated Director's Cut)

A Sam Raimi horror flick?! And here we thought (in 2009) that his plan was to keep running over the lifeless body of Peter Parker till he died. Pack your bags (your scorecard, too!) and I’ll meet you in Hell.
  • The retro Universal logo at beginning of the film that reminds us that this is Sam Raimi’s first horror film since “Army of Darkness.” (Do we consider that a horror film?) = +15pts 
  • For wasting no time and immediately telling us that the curse is of Gypsy origin. = +5pts (Duh!) 
  • Apparently getting bitch-slapped by a demon really puts you in your place if you’re Mexican and a woman. = -10pts 
  • Opening credits reminiscent of Gustave Dorè’s illustrations for The Divine Comedy, adequately prepare us for our journey into Hell. = +6pts 
  • Not actually taking a trip into Hell. = -12pts 
  • For having a bank manager so blatantly sexist that we have to wonder why Christine wants to work for him in the first place. “We probably won’t be giving you the Assistant Manager position because you’re weak and totally passive; now go get me a sammich.” = -6pts 
  • Nice try, Sam Raimi, but you’ll never convince us that Justin Long is out of any female’s league; no matter how adamant his mother is about it. = -7pts 
  • Those disgusting Gypsy fingernails tell a story of their own. It looks like 70 years of theft and dirty, transient living crammed up under those things. = +8pts 
  • Dirty Gypsy stealing a whole tray of candy, thereby adding more grime to her fingernail theft-cakes. = +5pts 
  • Denying the Gypsy an extension to her loan shows how aggressive Christine became in such a short amount of time. = +3pts 
  • This Gypsy’s handkerchief is more anthropomorphized than Aladdin’s fucking pet carpet ever was. = -10pts 
  • Taking time to buckle your seatbelt while speeding and being molested by a Gypsy. (Safety first, guys.) = +7pts 
  • Gypsy jaw sucking is not only terrifying, it’s apparently the national pastime of Romania. = +20pts 
  • Smashing the window of the locked car door and still opening it from the outside. = -5pts 
  • Is Rham Jas a psychic or an Indian gigolo? = +3pts 
  • Using Freud’s Psychoanalytic theory as a viable and realistic counterpoint to the psychic’s “crazy” theories about energy. = -8pts (it would have been 8===D pts if that was possible.) 
  • It’s hard to tell if the lighting is becoming darker around the psychic’s head or if his beard is growing longer and taking up more of the frame. = +10pts (For leaving it open to interpretation.) 
  • Tearing up your embarrassing childhood obesity photo is not going to erase the memory. = -3pts 
  • Playing the ol’ “A trip to the cabin after all of this blows over will fix our problems” card. = -7pts 
  • How does a fly crawling through your nostrils not wake you up?! = -10pts 
  • A raging, barking Gypsy on top of you in bed is not your father’s “doggy style.” = +4pts 
  • Uncontrollable projectile bleeding. = +15pts
  • Boss’s response to uncontrollable, projectile bleeding: “Stop it.”= -10pts 
  • “You used to be a real fat girl, didn’t you?” Once the “Pork Queen,” always the “Pork Queen.” = +13pts 
  • Jaw Sucking returns! And this time she’s leaking fluids! = +25pts 
  • Questioning if the button is the cursed object when you know Goddamn well it is. = -20pts 
  • Finally seeing that classic Sam Raimi, Dutch angle. = +15pts 
  • Blatant iPhone product placement. = -10pts 
  • Main character refusing to kill a chicken because she is an animal lover, yet she has no qualms about murdering her own cat. = -11pts 
  • For having Michelle Bachman play Justin Long’s mom. = -6pts  
  • “Cat? What cat? I, like, totally never have had a cat.” = -3 pts 
  • For having your main character respond to not getting a job by angrily packing up her flute. “I didn’t get the job! The first thing I’m going to do is go home and angrily pack up my flute!” -1pts 
  • Taking a deep, Gypsy fisting to the throat. +16pts (16 very dirty pts) 
  • The deus ex machina anvil that was hanging perfectly above the Gypsy’s head was so bad, one of our Kardashian-watching girlfriends said, “Ugh, what is this, Looney Tunes?” = -25pts 
  • The trombone-carrying ghost that entered the room during the séance is subtly turning this thing into a Zatarain’s commercial. = +5pts 
  • We wish the possessed goat looked a little more Exorcist and a little less Simple Jack. = -23pts 
  • If all the demon has to do is touch you to enter your body, why didn’t the psychic become possessed after it freaking strangled him? -15pts 
  • Demon dancing a jig. = -5pts 
  • Taking your possessed button (which, when given away, will condemn the new recipient’s soul to Hell) to a diner full of ordinary people instead of going to a prison and giving it to a rapist or a murderer. = -25pts 
  • Honestly considering giving the cursed Hell-button to an old man breathing through an oxygen tank = -10pts 
  • Thank God that guy with the oxygen tank has a wife; otherwise, he would have deserved to burn in Hell for all eternity. = -10pts 
  • Having the scary handkerchief force itself down Christine’s throat, thus bringing the throat fucking count in this movie up to (insert number here) = -5pts 
  • For trying to give the cursed button back to the dead Gypsy by forcing it into her mouth and saying, “Choke on it, bitch;” dispelling any shred of subtlety from the film’s persistent theme of mouth rape. = -10pts 
  • For having your main character admit that she could have just given the old lady an extension on her loan, and then immediately following that with her boyfriend telling her she’s a good person. = -15pts 
  • Literally being dragged into Hell and forgoing a happy ending. = +25pts
Total Score = -82pts
Available on Vudu streaming, Amazon Instant, disc format, and an 8mm film print straight from Sam Raimi’s dreams.

Although flawed, Drag Me to Hell invokes the sort of emotions that we used to experience in our youth, watching VHS horror films chockfull of corny dialogue and bright, red, deliciously corn-syruped blood. That’s also part of the problem, though, as Sam Raimi and Co. seemed to be making Drag Me to Hell into a serious, modern horror film. Sam, you should have taken a page out of the Necronomicon and given this thing the full Evil Dead treatment—we know you really wanted to, deep down. Say “hi” to Ivan for us.

Score Technician: Ryan VenHuizen

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