On a cool late May evening, Mr and Mrs Britarded, Dropkick, Mrs Coelacanth and I hit up the midnight screening of Sam Raimi's return to the rollicking low(ish) budget horror/comedy genre, after a few mega-budget lapses in the form of the Spider-Mans. Well, Drag Me to Hell isn't really the type of film to be picked apart critically, but - as it was by all in our particular group - to simply be experienced and enjoyed, with friends and a rowdy crowd, in the cinema, at midnight. This is the cinematic equivalent to a midsummer carnival haunted house. It's just that fun.
Raimi playfully tosses in several references to his much-loved, seminal Evil Dead trilogy and the balance between tension and release are note perfect here. The pacing is also excellent, and the scares are incredibly well-done, with some being brutal/gross enough to make you forget that what you're watching is rated PG. Decent enough turns by Justin Long (whom I've never liked, but was acceptable in his role) and Alison Lohman (towards whom Dropkick has recently revealed a not-so-secret lust), and especially the aptly named Lorna Raver (Jules' new GF?) who plays the hell-bent gypsy woman who lays the damning curse on Lohman.
The opening scene and the closing scene are mind-blowingly and ear-shatteringly awesome, and leave it to Raimi to have audiences laughing and clapping at what is essentially the darkest and biggest downer of an ending possible. So great. I think I would have a very different impression of this one had the viewing circumstances been different - watching this at home, alone and on DVD, I still would have liked it, but not LOVED it, as I currently do. It also looks like the general public is responding in much the same way - not only has DMTH garnered very favourable reviews from both horror geeks and mainstream film critics (unheard of), but it is also third at the box office as I type this (sandwiched neatly between Night at the Museum 2 and Terminator Salvation, and ahead of the highly touted Star Trek reboot - make of that what you will). So get out to your local sticky-floored multiplex and catch this one on the big screen - the later the hour, the better.