Monday, December 21, 2009

Drag Me To Hell

Im going start off by saying, I have not seen a horror movie in theatres in years. I honestly refuse to watch horror after 1995. There are far too many reasons to really get into here. But when Sam Raimi's Drag Me To Hell was first announced, I was intrigued. As the months went on, and casting was announced, I got more curious. Fast forward quite a few months, the trailer was released. Fuck. This movie couldn't have come out sooner. I was fucking sold after the first trailer viewing. And in those few months between casting and the trailer, various film news sites had gone to screenings, and had nothing but good things to say about Drag Me To Hell.
I said I wouldn't get into my reasoning for hating new (or "nu") horror, but I kinda' have to. It's the only way to compliment Drag Me To Hell. The main problem with every new paint-by-numbers horror movie is, there's all terror, and no horror. Terror does not have to involve the brain. If Im walking down a hallway, and someone randomly pops out of a doorway, Im going to jump. It's all physical. Horror is all mental. All these new horror movies are just composited of "made-ya-jump" scenes. And I fucking hate it. There is no fear or dread behind it. It's all reflexes. Horror films need to build up an atmosphere. They need to put you in a state of fear throughout the whole film. Even when there's not the least bit of anything horrifying. Drag Me To Hell does this perfectly. Yes, the movie does have quite a few "made-ya-jump" scenes. But you know what's funny?... They're also fucking scary.
Drag Me To Hell is a perfect combination between being its own movie, and still doing it the old-fashioned way. For instance, Grindhouse. I would NEVER put Grindhouse in with a list of 10 original horror films. Why? Because Grindhouse is basically one giant homage. Did I like Grindhouse? Yeah, a little. But I dont, at all, consider it really good. It's just an imitation. Drag Me To Hell really does have the perfect balance between original and old-fashioned. Raimi does throw in a few nods back to the Evil Dead trilogy. But it wasn't anything cringe-worthy. In fact, most of them were smile-inducing. There was one particular scene where a goat starts talking, and I started to chant "dead by dawn!" in the theatre. And some of that sick Raimi sense of humor really makes me wonder... How the FUCK is this movie getting straight A+'s across the board? This film has a 95% on Rotten Tomatoes. I couldnt believe it. First of all, I really cant name one horror movie, in the past 10 or 15 years that has gotten phenomenal reviews. I really cant. I am so happy for Sam Raimi.
Now to some of the more specific things. Ill first start off with the music. I wanted to punch everyone in the face when I found out the movie's score was being released in July. This movie's score was fucking INCREDIBLE. The re-occuring gypsy violin that appeared throughout the film was great. There were plenty of times when I would be taken out of the movie in result of a certain music que being so fucking cool. Particularly one scene, and that is the scene with Christina in the graveyard. I cant really recollect what it was exactly, but I remember fucking loving it. Ill be seeing this movie at least 2 more times. But partly due to just to hear the music for that scene again. They did a really good job in the marketing of the film, in terms of music. Because I was hoping the film's music would go down the route they did in the trailer. It was very traditional, eerie, and evil. Lo and behold, who scored this movie? Christopher Young. Now, I had never heard of Christopher Young up until Spiderman 3. Now I know what you're thinking, "fuck that, Spiderman 3 sucked.". Well, that's true, but in truth, it had THEE best score of all the Spiderman films. Danny Elfman did a good job on Spiderman 1 and 2. But Christopher Young's score (especially the main Symbiote theme) fucking ruled so hard. And the weird part is that, whenever I listen to the Symbiote theme, I always think to myself, "this would be a fucking great piece to use in a horror movie". Not so much the main part of the theme, but the violins that are strumming behind, and leading up to it. And surely enough, one of the main fore-front instruments for Drag Me To Hell is the violin.
Another little thing that I really enjoyed was the title sequence, and the end title. First off, they start off with the 1970's/1980's Universal logo, which was really weird. I dont really understand why (maybe it's Raimi's favorite Universal logo?) but really enjoyed it. They actually did the same with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, with the old school Paramount logo. Anyway, the title sequence was really cool. because the credits would roll through, and then the logo just popped up abruptly. It was in the vein of like an old 50's drive-in movie, but without being too forceful. And they did the same with the end scene. Right after the scene ended, the title popped up the same way. I know it's nerdy to go out of my way to praise that, but it's little things like that, that add to a movie. Also, the movie's title is fucking great. I cant get over how fucking cool it is. It's just so blunt and rad. DRAG ME TO HELL. I seriously wish I had thought of that for a song title or something. It's so fucking cool.
For every yin, there is a yang. I didnt have too many gripes with the film overall. My main one was the CGI. For the most part, it was pretty good. But in certain scenes, it was kinda' bad. But oddly enough, it didnt taint the film whatsoever. As I said before, it has a lot of Evil Dead II moments, so you dont really take the sketchy CGI too seriously. Also, some of the acting was kinda' not that great in parts. But some of that is due to the lines themselves. But it never really tainted a scene. Though, Im so very happy that Alison Lohman got the part in the end. Because originally, Ellen Paige got the leading role, but she dropped out. Because really, the last thing I need in this movie is some witty "woman" (because Ellen Paige looks like she's 12) to smart-talk a demon. Because you're supposed to kinda' care for this character. Not hate the fuck out her. And if Ellen Paige stuck with the role, I dont think I could do anything other than hate her.
Well, Drag Me To Hell is a PERFECT way to end the month of May. If you are like me, and couldn't give the slightest shit about a recently-made horror movie... SEE THIS FUCKING MOVIE.
Hello, Sam Raimi. Welcome back.

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