Σάββατο, 3 Οκτωβρίου 2009

DRAG ME TO HELL (2009, SAM RAIMI)


Imagine a group of unsuspecting honest godfearing citizens and their meek housewives invited for a test screening of Drag Me To Hell in a remote suburban theater, doused in acid, and forced to watch the movie in a humongous screen that occupies their entire vision, surrounded by a wall of speakers 20 feet high, sound booming out on all directions in the levels of a Jumbo Jet taking off. No quarter asked and none given. No escape, no bejesus left in the end. This is the perverse pleasure I take from Sam Raimi's latest. The gleeful satisfaction of being scared out of your skin and watching others being scared out of their skins along with you. I'm talking shivers and palpitations and your guts relocating in your urethra, pure bodily reactions like only porn, fierce substance abuse, and meeting a gang of drunken Hell's Angels in the middle of a raping spree in a dark alley can elicit. And good horror. INLAND EMPIRE did it for me but Inland Empire is subversive and hallucinatory whereas Drag Me To Hell is a celebration of horror in its purest generic/traditional form, at once a homage to Sam Raimi's movies and those he grew up on and a beast that feels completely fresh and modern. Raimi throws every trick in the old horror book but does it with such conviction ferocity and sheer deranged pleasure you'd think he was locked up in an attic after EVIL DEAD for 25 years without food and water and no release until he came up with something to chill the bones of the worst sonofabitch out there. And this is what he came up with. A sheer act of cinematic vengeance. While former horror pallbearers like Romero scratch their heads trying to figure out what made their movies work 30 years ago while their fanbases evaporate in apologetic frustration, three Spider Mans later and Raimi positions himself ahead of the game. The first 30-40 minutes are pure ecstatic horror bliss. The spirit of Jacques Tourneur and NIGHT OF THE DEMON lives side by side with modern horror hijinks, loud jump scares around every corner, curtains blowing in the wind and iron gates rattling, old gypsy curses and Baphomet shadows swirling around, the faces of old women cackling maniacally, pure hellish armageddon, no quarter asked and none given. Raimi orchestrates a symphony of terror playing in a feverish pitch. Even the occasional comedic relief required to break the nerve-wracking intensity and make the movie watchable is nothing short of blood geysers, toothless jaws oozing slime, anvil-smashed faces and flying eyeballs. Awesome.


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