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Raimi’s sinister spell: ‘Drag Me to Hell’ in retrospect | The Haunted Column

Directed by Sam Raimi, the 2009 horror film ‘Drag Me to Hell’ is a departure from his more famous gory work in ‘Evil Dead.’ Starring Alison Lohman and Justin Long, this movie represents a more traditional approach to horror.
The plot centres on Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), a young woman employed at a bank. Her life takes a dark twist when she incurs the wrath of an elderly woman who curses her. This curse leads to Christine’s possession by a malevolent demon named Lamia.

Lamia is notorious for tormenting its victims for three agonizing days before ultimately dragging them down to the depths of hell. Horror movies often carry dual interpretations: one is the surface-level fright, while the other delves into deeper themes that resonate with real life. ‘Drag Me to Hell’ is no exception. On the outside, it portrays the torment of Christine as she grapples with possession by Lamia. But beneath this supernatural struggle, it serves as a cautionary tale about the consequences of making a selfish and greedy choice. To uncover the specifics of this choice, one must watch the film.

When everything appears to be smooth and idyllic, it’s almost inevitable that a dark twist will emerge. This rings true for Christine, a diligent and attractive employee living in Los Angeles, happily committed to her boyfriend (Justin Long). Life seems perfect, but the serenity is shattered when an elderly European Roma woman named Sylvia Ganush decides to release a malevolent demon upon Christine.

The possession sets off a chain of events that turns Christine’s once-charmed life into a harrowing nightmare. Thrown to the ground by an unseen force, relentlessly pursued, Christine reaches a breaking point and seeks aid from a fortune teller named Rham Jas. From that point onward, the story unfolds like a thrilling rollercoaster ride, with a series of unexpected and suspenseful events. What sets Raimi’s direction apart in this film is the brilliant suspense he maintains. Until the very end, the audience remains in the dark, unsure of Christine’s ultimate fate. One is left guessing, oscillating between the questions of whether Christine will survive or be dragged to hell.

While Sam Raimi did attempt to deviate from his typical horror film style in ‘Drag Me to Hell’, he didn’t entirely abandon his signature techniques. The movie includes several disturbing and visually graphic scenes that are strategically placed within the narrative. The core concept of a malevolent demon lurking and the curse it brings is inherently terrifying. It effectively immerses the audience in a shared journey with Christine, as if we, too, are experiencing the horror alongside her. Certainly, by today’s standards, comparing a horror movie from 2009 might not be entirely fair. However, during its time, ‘Drag Me to Hell’ was undoubtedly considered a worthwhile viewing experience. Christine’s character dominates most of the scenes, and her journey feels intensely personal to the audience. As viewers, we become deeply invested in her story, hoping for some way out of the horrors that unfold.

In a movie where one character takes up the majority of the screen time, strong performances are crucial, and Alison Lohman excels in her portrayal of Christine. She skillfully brings the character to life. Additionally, Lorna Raver’s performance as Sylvia Ganush is noteworthy, adding depth to the film. ‘Drag Me to Hell’ is undeniably an enjoyable watch for those seeking an entertaining and fun horror experience.

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