11 November 2009

Drag Me To Hell

Drag Me To Hell: Ah, another disappointing Hollywood film. Hyped by the critics as an old-school horror film (meaning, apparently, no torture or nudity) with a generous helping of humor, it is instead a film devoid of thrills and chills, and provokes only a couple of mild chuckles. The story could have been serviceable: an ex-fatty with an inferiority complex angles for a promotion to Assistant Bank Manager, but to prove she has a banker’s *right stuff,* she must turn down a request for a loan extension from a dirty, phlegmy, dentally-challenged one-eyed ancient gypsy woman. The wrinkled, skanky gypsy then curses the ex-fatty, who is tormented for three days by a demon who literally wants to drag her to Hell. The problem is the story is rendered too flat. . .it’s too comic book to produce any genuine fright. The ex-fattie is battered for 3 days by the demon, and never bruises or limps. . .and nobody around her seems particularly alarmed by the bizarre phenomena that afflict her. For example, when her nose bleed turns into a hydrant-like gusher that leaves her bank boss soaked in blood, he seems entirely unconcerned when she returns to work the following day. I guess this shit happens all the time? Sure, supposed horror movies require a suspension of disbelief, but that does not mean they shouldn’t be constructed as believably as possible. Drag Me To Hell’s script is loaded with grossly disturbing supernatural effects, and yet they provoke remarkably little trauma in the characters. I guess one could say this is meant to be more comedy than fright flick, but if so, it is just as much a failure, because the almost slapstick supernatural violence does not mix well with the story. Imagine an episode of the Three Stooges in which instead of only being concerned with getting a good night’s sleep or finding a decent meal, Larry, Curly and Moe were frantically trying to preserve their souls—it wouldn’t quite work, would it?

There is one other major problem with the movie: the terrible performance by the lead actress who plays the ex-fattie. Alison Lohman was cast as a last-minute replacement for Ellen Page. Lohman has absolutely zero charisma, and both her performance and appearance in Drag Me To Hell perfectly define *bland.* She has the looks and talent of a minor character from a television soap opera. Drag may have come off a little better with Page, whose sarcastic skills may have given the movie’s lame humor an edginess more compatible with the comic horror.

The rest of the cast, save for the arresting physical presence of Bojana Novakovic in the small role as the old gypsy’s daughter, is similarly unremarkable. Hollywood curses the movie viewer with another mediocrity. . .

No comments:

Post a Comment