Netflix UK film review: Drag Me to Hell
Ivan Radford | On 02, May 2014
Director: Sam Raimi
Cast: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver
Watch Drag Me to Hell online in the UK: Netflix UK / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / Google Play
What with all the web-slinging of his more recent years, people could easily forget just who Sam Raimi is. He directed, of course, the Evil Dead (and, indeed, Evil Dead II) – genre-shaking low-budget messy movies, with a unique taste for humorous horror. After Spider-Man 3, even the die-hard Raimites couldn’t help but wonder: had Sam forgotten too? This is Raimi’s resounding answer: hell, no.
A simple story of greed and retribution, Drag Me to Hell sees the nice and kind Christine (Lohman) being a decent human in her job as a loans officer. But, in a single moment of ambition, she refuses an extension to poor old Sylvia Ganush (Raver). Big mistake.
For that one selfish act, old Sylvia corners Christine in the car park, cursing her soul with the Lamia. Cue three days of spooky spirits, haunted houses, and general spectral carnage. On the third day? She is told she will be dragged to hell for all eternity. So much for her promotion at work. As time races forward towards her eternal doom, Christine begins to break down – and, watched by her supportive boyfriend, Clay (Long), she turns to a medium to save her soul.
A curse? A medium? It all sounds terribly dated and old-fashioned – and that’s because it is. But Raimi’s approach is similarly old-school, revelling in the tangible, physical mechanics of horror. The scares carry that extra bit of spark thanks to the seasoned director’s distinct style. From false teeth to gushing nose bleeds, the mix of the grotesque and the grim is perfectly judged. Equally alarming and hilarious, this is Sam Raimi back where he belongs: up to his neck in eyeballs, worms and fake blood.
Things are even more effective with such a genuine cast; Lohman’s lead is engaging in her endearing innocence, Long’s supporting role (which could have been a cardboard bit-part) feels fleshed out and believable, and Raver’s villain nails the hard task of biting someone without dentures. The only thing missing from the line-up is Bruce Campbell. All of it unfolds with a hurtling sense of inevitability. Shuttling the camera up, down and all over the place, Sam’s shock tactics never fail to pay off – right up until the final frames.
Drag Me to Hell is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £8.99 monthly subscription. It is also available to watch online in the UK on STARZPLAY, a streaming service that costs £4.99 a month. The platform is available on iOS, Android, Apple TV and Virgin Media On Demand or through Amazon Prime Video Channels, as an add-on subscription to your existing account.