Drag Me to Hell DVD: Review By B. Alan Orange

Sam Raimi returns to his horror roots for a harrowing spook show that is guaranteed to become a neo-classic in the genre. Fast paced and full of gross-out moments, Drag Me To Hell is great, fantastic, scary fun!
  • OVERALL
    5.0
    SUPERB
  • Feature
  • Picture
  • Sound
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
The scares on display fit in perfectly with Raimi's work on The Evil Dead trilogy. It skips from one iconic moment to the next, bounding about in a gleeful spray of blood and goo. Actress Lorna Raver creates an iconic horror monster with Mrs. Ganush.
THE BAD
The Unrated Version brings nothing new to the original film except a little bit more viscera. It's a waist of time and a lame marketing ploy. If you're going to watch one version, watch the theatrical release. It's better.
THE FEATURE
On a prolonged break between Spiderman 3 and 4 (which is never getting made now), Raimi decided to return to his roots as a horror scholar. It's as though he created Drag Me to Hell as a challenge to not only himself, but also every hack auteur out there attempting to shock and scare the teenybopper set: Yes, you can make a worthwhile PG-13 rated horror movie that will appeal to and appall a wider audience! On the surface, this looks like a nother cheap grab at your kid's once-disposable allowance. The trailer promises a slight tweak on the J-pop horror remakes that once dominated the box office. Even though a PG-13 rating is in place, and a female protagonist is at the center of this tale, DMTH moves far beyond the meager thrills offered up in The Ring and The Grudge. It's an original morality tale that will appeal to longtime fans of The Evil Dead trilogy as well as those folks yearning for a good, classic ghost story. It's hard to shock and emotionally scar audiences in this day and age, but Raimi succeeds in turns up the yuck meter here, blaring his jump-scare noises at an ear defining volume. He cheats in elements of The Exorcist, and plays with the long ignored gypsy exploitation genre. Best of all, he doesn't fail on his way to a satisfying conclusion. There is no lame giveaway, nor is there redemption for those involved in this crooked scheme. Raimi is a master at nerve manipulation, and though Drag Me to Hell is a quaint, contained shoebox flick made on the cheap, it is probably the best time you'll have being scared at the movie theater this year. It is the true definition of roller coaster entertainment, as each scene is a slow decent into a series of tight, wide turns and stomach ache inducing loop-dee-loops. It is sure to leave you clutching at the side of the wall. Working from the confines of a teen friendly, fenced-in rating, Raimi had to ditch the idea of blood and torture. Yet he manages to put his star, actress Alison Lohman, through so many disgusting and disturbing scenes of discomfort and stress, she might have been better off involving herself in a late night stay inside Eli Roth's Hostel. Its exciting to see this great master back at work, lusting through a genre he obviously adores to death. Drag Me to Hell is everything you've been wanting in a supernatural spook-fest. And it doesn't pull any punches. The title doesn't lie. People are going to literally get dragged to Hell. This isn't your sister's typical PG-13 Ouija lamefest. It's a rad classic that will have you wanting to watch it again and again.
THE EXTRAS
We only get one extra feature, which is a 38 minute Production Video Diary. It delves deep in the effects work, and what actress Alison Lohman had to go through on set every day. Though this doesn't seem like much, we learn quite a bit with this making-of doc*mentary. It's better than nothing, and better than most making of featurettes.
THE VIDEO
The film is presented in its original 2.40:1 theatrical aspect ration. In Color. The runtime for both the Unrated and Theatrical Versions is one hour and thirty-nine minutes. The film has been rated PG-13 for horror violence, terror, disturbing images, and language. The Unrated version contains no new scenes. Raimi has simply added more spritzing blood to various scenes using CGI animation. Lame. The original film is much better.
THE AUDIO
The film is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0. As well as English, Spanish, and French Dolby Digital 5.1. Subtitles are in English SDH, Spanish, and French.
THE PACKAGE
The front cover retains the original theatrical poster art. It pretty much gives the end of the film away. Gruesome hands are reaching up from the fiery depths to pull Alison Lohman down into Hell. They pull on her necklace, shoulder, and breast. We see suburbia in the background. There is a red metallic sheen to it. It's beautiful and horrifying. Better than most thriller covers. The back of this keep case gives a look at the horrific Mrs. Ganush, we see that a séance takes place sometime during the film, and we get Lohman covered in mud. I am sold.
THE FINAL WORD
Drag Me to Hell is a great film, and it stands up to repeat viewings. It's full of iconic moments, building one great scene on top of the next. Fans of Sam Raimi's Evil Dead movies will love it. It's a heck of a lot of fun. Buy it!

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