Drag Me to Hell Review

It’s time to take a look at the grossest horror film that I’ve ever seen. No, not the most violent, not the most scary and not the most exciting. The grossest, it gives the Garbage Pail Kids a run for its money with how much everyone’s throwing up and just splattering all over the place. Any good will the film built up is destroyed in an instant and this destroys what would otherwise be a very interesting film.

The film starts off with Hell taking out one kid and a lady swears revenge. You’ll be forgiven for forgetting this scene because the payoff takes forever and a day. You figure that this lady will be a main character but it doesn’t quite play out like that. It’s too bad because I think that would have been more interesting to see her show up and try to fight for a while. It would probably change the genre a bit but that was actually my expectation for a while there.

Instead we cut over to Christine where life is going rather well. She’s close to a promotion and just needs to defeat her rival Stu. Stu has decided to take the quick ladder through life so he’s trying to bribe the boss and also flex his superiority over Christine in front of the boss in the hopes that it will make him look more impressive. It’s a highly risky strategy since he isn’t even hiding the fact that he’s being a jerk. Low key I think the boss knows this and is just using both of them in order to make less work for himself. At the end of the day this plot isn’t super important but I actually thought the work dynamic was nice to have. It’s a little chance for downtime for Christine between supernatural incidents.

The main plot starts though when an old lady named Sylvia comes in and asks for a loan. She’s already gotten 2 loans from the bank and still doesn’t have the money so Christine makes the hard call of declining the request. Sylvia gets violent but is thrown out of the office. She later assaults Christine and then curses her before running off. Now Christine is doomed to fall to hell soon and starts to have a lot of creepy visions. Will she be able to escape the curse?

Lets tackle the elephant in the room here. Christine made the right choice. Yes, you do feel bad for Sylvia and Christine had the chance to give her another offer but this would have been the third time. We’re also shown that Sylvia isn’t the best person out there as she steals all of Christine’s candy and is generally not very hygienic. It seemed like the film was going out of its way to show how she wasn’t great. It’s left for the viewer to decide if this was the right move or not and I think it was. What makes my decision there even easier is how Sylvia attacks Christine afterwards.

This is not a stable person if she can’t handle being told No. She’s a psychopath here. I get why Christine feels guilty later on but once you make a decision then you’ve got to stand by it. I was surprised at how long the fight with Sylvia was in the car though. It’s a really extended fight scene that keeps on going and going for several rounds. There’s some good music and the fight itself would have been really cool if the film didn’t keep going for gross moments throughout.

Also, I think Christine should have won that fight a lot easier. C’mon, this is an old lady! Stop celebrating prematurely and just drive off or knock her out. Every time Christine lets her guard down, Sylvia just attacks her over and over again. It has to go down as one of the most embarrassing losses I’ve ever seen. How do you lose to an old lady whose teeth have already fallen out? That’s just crazy. I’ve heard about one horror film where a lady loses to an old man on life support who is crippled and stuck on a chair so that will take the cake if I ever watch it but in the meantime this is going to be hard to surpass.

It’s all surreal but if the film was trying to make this a scary scene then it didn’t work. In general the film is too busy being gross to be scary. So by gross, I’m talking about characters barfing, throwing up ooze, throwing up blood, blood coming out of food, etc. It’s just all so over the top that it’s crazy. The film isn’t even super violent for the most part but it’s gross enough where it’s almost the same effect in that it cripples the score right away. Man that just made me shake my head the whole time.

The worst part is that the music is actually pretty good here. The movie has a lot of tense themes and it almost sounds more like an action/comic book movie than a horror title. The film goes in hard with this but it’s all for naught because the film just can’t match this energy and intensity. A true shame if you ask me.

As a main character Christine is pretty solid though. Fighting skills aside, she’s a reasonably nice character who is doing her best to get through an impossible decision. She pulls out all of the stops in trying to break free from the curse and doesn’t crack too easily. I wouldn’t say that she made any really bad decisions here and in the end things just had a hard time of working out properly. When a character doesn’t make big mistakes I won’t blame them even if things don’t work out.

Then we have her boyfriend Clay and I actually liked the guy. He had some good banter with the fortune teller Rham and I liked how even though he was super skeptical, he did go with Christine to the shop. He had her back in every scene and never tried to tell her that she was crazy or anything like that. It’s clear that he didn’t believe in the supernatural but that didn’t stop him from throwing $10,000 at the psychic to help her. Clay was as supportive as he could be and I appreciated that.

As for Stu, the guy is so petty that it’s comical. I liked that the film actually gave him a role and a conclusion in the end. It’s easy to root against him the whole time and it was nice to have a human antagonist outside of the supernatural one. It was like a little comedic subplot but nothing too silly. Just a little levity in what’s otherwise a fairly serious film.

Rham also serves that role to an extent but his role is a lot smaller. The guy at least has good advice even if I thought he would take a more active role in helping out. Finally we have the main villain Sylvia and I can’t say that I have any sympathy for her. She’s just cruel especially with the lengths she goes with the curse. If she was truly a good person then she wouldn’t have reacted that way when the bank loan was turned down. It’s also quite extreme that she went after Christine rather than the boss for this. Of course it turns out that Christine had the final say but there’s no way she could have known that. Sylvia is very short sighted with her goals.

All horror movies with a few exceptions need to have a twist ending. As far as this one goes I’d say it was pretty solid. The end result is more or less what you expected but the path to getting there was really clever. I thought the twist was really solid. It can certainly be frustrating for some characters but that’s just how it goes. A sequel would be pretty interesting to try and go down to Hell to put an end to things but it’s unlikely. Most likely more characters would just end up getting bumped off instead but that would have potential.

The film just needs to stop with all the barfing and goo flying everywhere. Seriously if you take that out then the film would jump up several stars. It’s all completely unnecessary and doesn’t need to be there for a sequel at all. Stick to the jump scares of Sylvia’s ghost appearing everywhere and picking fights. I think the mini boss fights scattered throughout the movie would be pretty cool otherwise. Bonus points if the film plays actual boss music whenever she appears.

Overall, The concept and world building around the movie is actually rather good. There are a lot of times where you see a lot of potential here. The soundtrack is better than average and I thought the visuals were good here as well. I appreciated how Christine reacted to all of the attacks. She didn’t just panic every time and instead was ready to fight each and every time. That’s absolutely what I want to see from a main character. It’s a shame that she wasn’t stronger since she got dominated in most fights but the attempt is what counts. I highly advise avoiding this movie anyway though unless you have a reallllllllly high tolerance for the gross stuff. There’s even a certain scene with a fly that is rather stomach churning as well. There is absolutely 0 replay value to the film because of this as well and if I’m eating dinner as the film goes on TV I’m switching channels immediately!

Overall 2/10

Update 10/12/2022: Wait a minute, I’d completely forgotten about the scene with Christine and the cat. With that in mind I must retract the positives I said about her earlier. This was definitely a moment of crossing the line and negates her being a good character. In fact, it makes the ending a lot more fitting because it’s not a crime that you can just walk away from. It’s also a bad look for the film in general because it adds animal violence to its list of negatives. Totally spaced on that moment but yeah it was definitely a bad scene. I must have tried to block it out!


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