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Drag Me To Hell

(originally posted by Jamie Kelwick at his own site -- www.the-usher.com.)

When a master of horror returns to the genre, chiller fans rise from the grave and take notice. When it is Sam Raimi, they really take notice.

Defining the great horror movies of the modern cinema age is no easy job but when it comes to naming a top ten horror flicks from the 70s onwards, you would be hard pushed to find a list that didn't include 'The Evil Dead' series.

Back in 1981 Sam Raimi introduced us to the Book of the Dead (aka the Necronomicon) and the demons it could bring into this world and Ash, the only man who could fight back. The film became a cult hit and its sequels, 'Evil Dead II' and 'Army of Darkness,' made Bruce Campbell a legend in the genre. Raimi was rightly honoured as a horror master who could mix blood, gore and genuine scares with humour and laughter to redefine a genre that had become filled with slasher movies with masked killers.

After defining horror in the 80s and early 90s, however, Raimi turned his back on the genre and headed for the Wild West in 'The Quick and the Dead', the baseball diamond 'For Love of the Game', the family thriller in 'A Simple Plan' and even to ancient Greece for the hit TV series 'Hercules' and 'Xena: Warrior Princess.'

Even when he returned to the genre with 'The Gift' in 2000, it didn't have the same passion as his Evil Dead exploits, and then he headed into the 'Spider-Man' universe. Even the setting up of his 'Ghost House Pictures' production company to make the remakes of 'The Grudge' series and films like 'Boogeyman', 'The Messengers' and '30 Days of Night' didn't really appease the fans. The announcement of 'Drag Me to Hell' changed all this, however.

Co-writing and directing, Sam Raimi has rediscovered his passion for horror/comedy to produce a movie that will have you on the edge of your seat, then cowering in terror and then rolling about with laughter. The mixture of tension, fear and hilarity is a heady mix but as with 'The Evil Dead' series, it works and it works extremely well.

The story of an enthusiastic bank loan officer who wants a promotion to impress the parents of her well-to-do, professor boyfriend is the tale of not putting your advancement ahead of the lives of others. When Christine Brown is asked to make a tough decision and deny an elderly woman another extention on her mortgage, she never realised that this would be a life changing decision for her.

Starring Alison Lohman as the cursed Christine Brown, Justin Long as her boyfriend Clay and Dileep Rao as mystic Rham Jas, it is Lorna Raver who steals the movie as the Mrs. Ganush, the elderly Gypsy woman who curses Christine with the Lamia, a demon that will torment her for three days before appearing and dragging her soul to Hell. The character is set to become a classic, iconic horror character for the 00s and one that will make you jump, tremor and sometimes laugh but Lorna Raver's Mrs. Ganush is a true horror great.

'Drag Me to Hell' is Sam Raimi's ode to the fans that made the big Hollywood director/writer/producer he is today. A total horror joy, 'Drag Me to Hell' is an instant cult hit of the genre and one that shows that horror can be fun as well as terrifying.

Jamie Kelwick

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