Worth a watch: ‘Drag Me To Hell’

In Sam Raimi’s new film, a woman, her goodness briefly unhinged by ambition and insecurity, is cursed with three days to battle a nasty demon before it, well, drags her to hell.

Why watch it: It makes you jump (and laugh) with familiar film techniques but feels fresh. I attribute that success to one factor: the film’s unabashed embrace of horror movie grossness and freakouts without any sense of irony, mockery or meta-analysis. It’s a film not trying to be cool, or deep, or prize-winning; it is just itself. Plus, the ending kicks all ass. This is the first time I have felt satisfied at the theater in a long time.

Further research: I counted at least three examples of the unnatural invasion of the protagonist’s mouth, a body part whose sanctity I was unaware of until I saw it repeatedly violated in such an amusing and cringe-producing fashion. Here they are:

  1. The saliva-slinging upper lip of a crazed older woman who, due to lost dentures, was gumming rather than chewing our heroine’s face;
  2. Green fluid from the same old woman’s mouth;
  3. The same old woman’s arm up to the elbow.

It’s clear that anything going into the mouth except nourishing food and drink is one of the quickest ways to generate groans of disgust in an audience.

Also, when you see that fly land on our sleeping heroine’s upper lip, you know exactly where it’s headed. But what you don’t know is where it’s going to end up. And that destination, involving the relationship ritual of meeting a significant other’s parents, is a treat.

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