Drag Me To Hell (2009)

Starring: Alison Lohman, Lorna Raver, Justin Long, Dileep Rao, David Paymer, Adriana Barazza

Directed by: Sam Raimi

Rating: 1 2 3 4 5

Scary gypsy woman Mrs Ganush (Lorna Raver)

In the olden days, it was easy for banks to repossess your home. But times they are a changin', and now there are laws, codes and protocols to consider – not to mention the threat of being placed under a curse by a weird old gypsy woman…

This is the fate met by our heroine, Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), a seemingly sweet, kind-hearted loan officer, whose caring good nature conceals a ruthless core of steel as she rejects the somewhat unsavoury old lady's entreaties to extend her loan in order to gain a promotion then goes to horrific lengths in order to shake off her evil curse and avoid (the clue is in the title) being dragged to hell by a cloven-hoofed demon called the Lamia (inexplicably  male – surely a lamia is a female demon?)

It seems that recently, when it comes to horror movies, the Brits have been trouncing the Yanks at the multiplex recently, with low-budget flicks like The Children, Severance and The Cottage kicking the asses of a series of tired, regurgitated remakes of '70s slasher fodder and J-horror that were all so much better the first time round. But now Evil Dead king Sam Raimi has thrown aside his wimpy spider suit and returned to doing what he does best: producing high voltage, oozingly disgusting, wonderfully OTT, hugely entertaining horror.

Yup, this is honestly the best film I've seen in ages. Right from the start, Raimi grabs you by the jugular, throwing you straight into a superb, demonically explosive scene-setter, and doesn't once let go, gleefully cranking out shock after shock that had even a hardened old horror hag like me showering myself with pick'n'mix, and creating some of the most innovative, glorious and hilarious visual images since Wes Craven's tongue in the phone. Watch out for the cake, the anvil and the goat – and bear in mind that this springs from the imagination of the man who invented the rapist tree…

Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) gets dirty in Drag Me To Hell

Dark, funny, ridiculous, constantly surprisingly yet horribly inevitable (and also probably really quite scary if you're slightly less shock-proof than me), this is horror as it should be: horror like it was in the '70s, when films with plasticine special effects made were banned as 'video nasties', directors weren't trying to be clever and kids still thought going down to the dark spooky basement alone was a good plan.

No doubt Drag Me To Hell will launch a thousand copy-cat Satanic sequels, but if it knocks the zombies off their perch, that might not be such a bad thing. Face it, brain dead, shambling consumerism is so over: now it's all about the banks facing up to the consequences of their greed and the acquisitive, credit-fuelled culture they're fostered – and letting the little people (like Christine) take the fall.

I absolutely loved this film. I couldn't wipe the huge cheesy grin off my face the whole way through and came out feeling high as a kite. And a series of tongue-in-cheek references to his own back catalogue shows that Raimi is well aware that, with this film, he's simply returning to trump a tradition that he helped form, and show a whole host of younger directors and teenage audiences how it's really done. In the words of Evil Dead's irrepressible Ash: who's laughing now?

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