Wednesday, June 03, 2009

drag me to hell review, duh

I loved this movie, loved it even more when I found out it was PG-13. Thought for sure it was R while watching it, vowed never to like a PG-13 movie. Sam Raimi you tricked me!
A quick history: Sam Raimi made a bunch of really cool movies in the 80's and early 90's: Evil Dead Trilogy, Darkman. He invented a new style that mixes the Three Stooges with gross bodily fluids. Then he went big time and made some dumb hollywood movies including the Spider Man movies, and you can sense his presence in those movies too. SpiderMan 1 is the most punk rock of the lot. The famous run down Oldsmobile from Evil Dead, and Bruce Campbell, better known as Ash, all make cameos in the trilogy. Then Sam was maybe going to direct The Hobbit, which would have been cool. But his fans were still hankering for a return to the good old days, which they get with Drag Me To Hell. This new movie is just all around impressive. I would say its perfect because I have no idea how it could be made better.
The Internet is clogged with nerds who have all these great ideas for movies, ideas that are ridiculous as fuck but if someone ever had the balls to shoot them then they would be 'great.' Often these ideas are unoriginal spin offs of imperfect movies that didn't go far enough to please these lonely late night message boarding auteurs. And among these people there are the few aggreed upon and rare perfect movies: The Road Warrior, Robocop, The Thing, Blade Runner, a few others. The Robert Rodriguez movie Planet Terror tried to pander directly to the wacky ideals of some balls out movie making, and proved that something else is needed. This thing that is needed I will call "hollywood screenwriting tricks." Hollywood knows how to make a good movie I'm afraid, and the average art house movie will randomly choose rules to break, but it often feels gimmicky. Good Hollywood movies that serve no real purpose, these are the movies that inspire the nerds to revolt for unadultured purity: Blood Diamond, The Bourne Trilogy, Bond, any movie that wins Best Picture. These are the movies that use the tricks well but still lack what auteur message boarders crave. Some of these movies use the tricks blatantly. When I say tricks I mean any setup/payoff situation, including one-liners, and any "reversal." Good film buffs can spot poorly used tricks from a mile away and they are a turn off. Wolverine had some heavy handed set up one liners that were just horrible. But some tricks are disguised as just plain good movie making: Robocop shooting through the crotch of a woman's dress to nail her assailant in the nuts... The whole first 10 minutes of Road Warrior with barely any dialogue. Directors with writing experience have a better sense of how to make what is written work on screen, which brings me back to Drag Me to Hell. Sam Raimi wrote the movie with the help of his brother Ivan, and it is tight. It seems everything he learned from big budget Hollywood is still there: setups/payoffs/reverals. But there are also over the top moments so perfectly timed that all a film buff can do is laugh with glee. This movie is innocently ignorant of it's own genius. I can just see Raimi brainstorming with his brother: "And then the corpse should throw up in her mouth, that would be awesome!" This contrast of well polished Hollywood flair, including good characterization and acting, mixed with the surprising three stooges interludes is what makes this movie so fun. What I'm saying is Sam Raimi can't help but make a perfect horror movie (did I mention the movie was scary?), a movie that gives message boarders writer's block.