Quick Review: Drag Me To Hell

A young, ambitious bank loan officer refuses to help an old gypsy woman keep her house out of foreclosure, even after the old woman begs. For this, the gypsy woman curses the her with a demon that will torment her for three days, and then drag her soul screaming into hell.

This sounds like my kind of movie.

I enjoyed this one a lot. Parts of it reminded me a little of the old Evil Dead movies… which it SHOULD, since they’re all made by Sam Raimi. So naturally there was humorous over-the-top gore with eyeballs and bodily fluids literally spraying liberally in several scenes. It was funny. It was REALLY funny. But don’t let anybody fool you into thinking this is a horror-comedy, because it isn’t. It’s just a serious horror flick made by somebody who likes to have a whole lot of fun.

Unfortunately, the ‘horror’ aspect of this horror movie largely consisted of jump-scares (BOO!) and goat-shaped shadows (kinda scary) slapping people around. The ‘torment her for three days’ part was underdone, I thought. She got her ass kicked by a demon once or twice, but that’s about it. The whole middle portion of this movie should have been a lot darker… but that’s just me. Over all, it was a fun movie and it’s worth renting on DVD when it comes out.

Oh, but I can’t leave this without talking about the ending. And while I won’t just GIVE the ending away outright, I can’t really discuss it without major spoilers, so if you don’t want the ‘shocking ending’ given away with rather strong hints, then read no further.

Okay. I didn’t like the wan this one ended. In fact, I hated it. It was utterly predictable and extremely disappointing.

Predictable: I saw it coming a soon as she dropped the envelope in the car. In fact, at the VERY beginning of the movie I just KNEW that coin was going to become a plot element. Subtle, it was not. Now, knowing (or strongly suspecting) where a road is going to end doesn’t necessarily ruin the trip, in this case I felt the obviousness of the ending detracted from the movie. Some movies are all about the surprise ending, and others aren’t. This didn’t strike me as a movie that revolved ENTIRELY around the ending, but I still felt let down when I got there and it was exactly what I thought it was going to be. What… is that the best the writers could come up with? Really? …where’s my portfolio?

Disappointing: The ending ITSELF (obvious or not) was a let-down. They could (and should) have gone an entirely different way with it. And it looks to me like they were intending to do just that, but they changed their minds at the last minute. Everything was already set up for a real horror-movie ending. Right at the beginning of the movie we see the main character is trying to change who she is in order to achieve her success. There she is, trying to get rid of her southern accent. There she is, kicking this old woman out of her home when we can SEE that she wants to help out instead. There she is, visibly ashamed of her farm heritage. She is willing to sell herself out to succeed. And when it comes to matters of life and death, she’s even willing to dabble in a little animal sacrifice. My point is, there’s some real DARKNESS in there… all it takes is a little stress and desperation (and a demonic smackdown or two) and it starts coming out. And at the end, we just forget all about it?

Screw that. Here are a few ways I would have ended this film:

1) She gives the cursed object to the asshole coworker as was her original plan. Perhaps she should find out about his treachery beforehand to further motivate her decision… whatever. He gets Dragged To Hell and Boom: the innocent, likable farm girl has now used demons to get a promotion. Roll credits. And hell, perhaps AS they roll the credits they can show scenes of her foreclosing on the gypsy woman’s house, going through the old woman’s belongings, and finding a spellbook or two…

But wait… I like this one much better

2) Everything goes exactly as it did until the very end. Then, when the boyfriend pulls out that button, things veer into Dark Icon territory. Remember, HE doesn’t know the significance of the button! So when she sees it, she panics and says “KEEP IT! IT’S YOURS!” There’s a brief back-and-forth dialogue as weird things starts happening around them, but finally he says “Okay, fine, whatever” and BOOM – innocent, likable farm girl has sacrificed her angelic boyfriend to a demon in order to save her own skin. Ooooo, that’s just evil. And that’s how this one should have ended.

Anyway, it’s still worth a rent.

So maybe this review wasn’t all that quick, eh?


3 Comments

  1. nate, November 27, 2009:

    This one was pretty good. The ending could have been better, but it wasn’t terrible. It was very predictable though.

  2. DarkIcon, November 27, 2009:

    What’d you think about my two alternate ending suggestions?

  3. nate, November 27, 2009:

    Either one would have been better than what was filmed. The first one would have lent itself to a sequal better than the second one.

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