Drag Me to Hell Review

Everything that happens in Drag Me to Hell reverts back the source: a sweater button. If you can’t find the humor in someone’s entire soul resting on the fate of a cursed button, than Sam Raimi’s humor does not fit your tastes.

Absurdly entertaining is one way to describe everything about Drag Me to Hell. Christine (Alison Lohman) denies an old gypsy woman an extension on her home loan, with the woman then placing a satanic curse on Christine’s sweater button after they fight – hilariously – inside a parking garage.

Christine begins to experience demons assaulting her, shadowy figures hovering over her, smashing windows in her home, and even punching her in the face. At one point, she begins spurting blood from her mouth and nose at work, covering her boss in the process.

His response is not one of shock or fear. He doesn’t even reach for a phone. Instead, he looks to the woman next to him and asks, “Did I get any in my mouth?”

Christine’s only support comes from her skeptical boyfriend Clay (Justin Long) and a fortune teller (Dileep Rao) who work to rid the curse from her body. Christine and her friends try everything, from animal sacrifice, possessing other people during an exorcism, to digging up graves.

There is a blend of horror and comedy that works so well to drive Drag Me to Hell to its conclusion. Raimi’s usual oddball, strangely entertaining style is likely the sole reason the film works. In lesser hands, or less experience hands, Drag Me to Hell would have been far too ridiculous and campy.

Raimi takes hold to deliver comedic gross-outs, including a visit to the funeral of the gypsy woman. Christine is frightened, knocks over the slab the dead woman is laying on, and proceeds to brawl with deceased. Green mucus pours from the gypsy’s mouth, and Christine’s hair is ripped out.

Later, Christine is seen eating tubs of ice cream despite being lactose intolerant. Let’s face it, having some stomach trouble after downing a gallon of a dead woman’s mucus doesn’t seem so bad.

Movie ★★★★★ 

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Universal delivers an outstanding VC-1 encode for Drag Me to Hell. Despite the general darkness much of the film is set in, detail is wonderfully maintained. Rich, bold colors remain bright and saturated. Flesh tones are spot on. Black levels are superb, deep and inky. Contrast is bright and absolutely flawless.

Sharpness never wavers unless intentionally soft due to focus. Fine grain is unobtrusive and handled well by the encode. Some rather severe ringing is notable on the subtitles in the first scene, but remains absent for the rest of the film. Facial texture is top-tier, even in distant shots.

Video ★★★★★ 

A DTS-HD mix suffers from some balancing problems (action scenes are significantly louder than dialogue), but it does not detract from this stunning effort. Bass is routinely powerful enough to deliver a strong jolt when demons begin knocking.

The surround channels are used with wonderful effectiveness, including pipes clanging and windows shattering in each channel. Rear separation is spectacular, best evident as a demon circles the room during a séance. The shrieks hit each speaker as it spins with fantastic crispness. Highs are always clear, and that dominating low-end is never tiring.

Audio ★★★★★ 

Extras are meager, including a collection of 14 fun production diaries shot during filming (35:08 combined), D-Box support, and generic BD-Live access to Universal’s usual download page.

Also, the disc features a director’s cut which comes in slightly shorter than the theatrical release by 15 seconds. What was changed is not specified.

Extras ★☆☆☆☆ 

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