Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Jason watches DRAG ME TO HELL

So this movie has been advertised as Sam Raimi's glorious return to horror. Here's a dirty little secret--Sam Raimi doesn't make scary movies, he makes comedies dressed up in horror trappings. Now before you misunderstand me, I love Sam Raimi, he's one of my favorite directors. I could watch the EVIL DEAD trilogy over and over again (Yes, even the first one. I'm amazed how often I find myself defending it to people who should love it. Somehow a rumor got out that horror fans aren't supposed to like the first EVIL DEAD, and that's bullshit). It's just I've always been entertained by his movies, but never scared. Personally, I think that's what he's going for, and don't consider it any sort of failing. He's just misclassified as a "horror" director, when he's really an action-comedy director who borrows horror element.

Anyway, couple my fanhood with the fact that it currently has a 93% fresh tomatometer rating (high for any movie, astronomical for a horror film), and I was in for either the greatest horror movie of all time or a major let down. It was closer to major let down. There's a lot that works--basically the gross-out scenes, which again play more comical than scary (and again, I think that's intentional). And there's something gleefully subversive about making a movie all about torturing a nice little Alison Lohman for one little tough-as-nails business decision. I admire a horror movie where the victim doesn't really deserve it. I especially like how as she struggles to remove the curse, she quickly behaves worse and worse until she does deserve it (if I still believed modern horror is political, I'd find an allegory there). But it's all dulled down to a PG-13 rating. And even that wouldn't be bad if it wasn't for a painfully telegraphed final twist.

So in the end, I'd give it praise with some major reservations. I'd still rather Raimi made more horror movies than another Spider-Man movie (especially not more Spider-Jesus movies), but only if he's willing to go further than he did with this one.

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