So I just arrived home after seeing "Drag me to Hell" at the AMC16 in Woodland Hills. What did I think?
Sam Rami got up on his hind legs and pitched one hell of a nasty 185 mile-per-hour beanball right between my eyes, that's what I think. The movie is very well made. It is well written. It steals from some of the best old horror film classics of the 1930s and 1940s. It is well edited. The effects are numerous and photo-realistic. Many of the shots are brilliantly conceived. The editing is excellent. The musical score is good. In short, the technicals are all extremely strong. It is destined to become a classic among those who like horror movies. It is probably the best horror film since Quarantine. This was Sam Rami's attempt to out-do the Exorcist. He was trying to make the scariest movie of all time, but he was trying to do it with a lot of skill and dexterity... in his own style.
Did I enjoy it? Fuck no. Did I find it entertaining? Once or twice. Would I want to repeat the process? Fuck no. Would I recommend it to anyone? Only if you live for this kinda shit. Would I like to show this to my mom? That would have a certain sick comedy value to it. If I had kids 10 or under would I let them see this? Absolutely fucking not! No, fuck no!
First, let me express my shock and dismay that this movie has been given a PG-13 rating. This movie is far more intense, twisted, sadistic and hyper-nasty than a lot of NC17 movies that I have seen. Rami socks it too you right between the eyes at 185 miles per hour... with great sadistic joy. It is also loud; loud enough to damage your hearing in several places. It is far, far, far beyond gross. It is hyper-nasty. Yet, because there are no nipples, no breasts, no ass-shots, no sex, no use of the S word or the F word, no illegal drugs, no tobacco to speak of, they gave this flick a PG-13. Don't take your kids. I pity the 7 year old who sees this flick. He will be brain damaged for life. I have seen hardcore pornography that is far sweeter, nicer, cleaner, more loving, more positive, and with better Christian family values than this movie. A lot of this stuff is over-the-damn-top.
What the hell happened at the Motion Picture Association of America, INC? How the fuck did this one get through with a PG-13? Who fumbled the football? Which Ref blew this call? Somebody aught to look into this egregious error.
Even if you are old enough to gut this one out without damage, it just isn't enjoyable. This one goes down the drain just because it is too damn sadistic to be enjoyed. I got the feeling that a real sicko sadist was at the controls of the camera, trying to torture me. He was trying to entertain himself by trying making me squirm. As the PBS documentary "Torturing Democracy" will teach you, the worst form of torment is to watch some undeserving soul subjected to torture for no good reason. This was Rami's strategy for making you squirm. That I do not appreciate.
On Friday, the Los Angeles Daily News ran an article in which the pitch line said "Sami Rami comes off as such a nice guy. Who knew he was a sadist?" I did not expect that to be the ultimate take-home point of this film, but indeed, that is the ultimate take home point of "Drag me to Hell".
Ultimately I can't recommend this film. In short "Drag me to Hell" is the 2009 equivalent of "Borat" back in 2006. Very critically praised, to hyper-nasty to wear-well with time.
Finally, it should be noted that UP won the box office contest this weekend. It was a landslide. Drag me to Hell finished in third place. UP hauled in over $68 million. Drag me to Hell hauled down $16.6. That is basically a 4 to 1 victory. Call it 28-7 in football terms.
I suspected this would be the result as I made my third failed attempt to see Up at the IMAX in 3d this morning at 9:30am. It was already sold out. So was the 12:00pm showing. Wow... The people have really jumped on Up! Also, Drag me to Hell also has far fewer screens and a far lower per-theater average. Something to be greatful for, I am sure.
I will see Up in the next few hours and report back to you here.