Trailer Rash: Alison Lohman is “Hell”-Bound

If Squally was the kind of person who took baths in asses milk and had a lot of money to throw around, he would not have put money on Sam Raimi making another horror movie. Been there, done that, y’know? And The Gift, Billy Bob Thornton’s memoir of psychic shenanigans down South, only lingered in the mind for Katie Holmes‘s bodacious ta-tas. But the prospect of following the unholy mess that was Spider-Man 3 made Raimi consider flexing some old muscles again. Which brings us Drag Me to Hell, whose trailer premiered online today. The film opens on May 29.

The initial response is one of “they can’t be serious,” along with an appreciation for the film’s ability to measure the anxiety of the times. Alison Lohman is a bank loan officer who, tired of being passed up for promotion, decides to show she can play with the big boys and foreclose on a gypsy woman’s house. Gypsy woman does not take kindly to this. We’ve all imagined bankers roasting in hell and lawyers lying in the bottom of the ocean. But this is one Romany who has the supernatural mojo to make those fantasies a reality. Soon Lohman is munching on flies and looking for help from a psychic.

As with Evil Dead 2, Raimi has turned up the volume on fright while keeping his tongue firmly in cheek. Lohman is an ingenue whose lack of talent was first skimmed by Atom Egoyan in the pulpy Where the Truth Lies. Lohman always appears to be out of her depth, and Raimi uses that inexperience for all its worth. The line-readings are reminiscent of a bad ’80s video nasty. Then there is the wildly improbable device of the gypsy. “You shamed me!” she declares, to which any self-respecting person might reply, “Hey, it was YOU who decided to get down on your knees and go full Turturro-in-Miller’s Crossing routine, not I.”

The cinematography of the opening sequence is plenty weird, too. The blank is deliberately faceless and anonymous, and the use of widescreen compositions seems kind of ludicrous. The frame is filled with dead space. However, once spooky things start happening (roughly around the time the gypsy gets a staple to the forehead), the story grows into its proper dimensions. Everything is located in that over-the-top realm ruled by Bruce Campbell‘s Ash. Most comfortable in this realm is Dileep Rao as the psychic, who chews up dumb lines like “To burn in hell for eternity!”

Casting Justin “Mac guy” Long as Lohman’s boyfriend also lets the audience in on the joke. But Raimi can be deadly serious when it comes to unleashing the reality-warping power of the CGI the supernatural. The second half of the film restores the Gothic to horror, removing Lohman from the deathly work-world into a truly spectacular chamber whose vaulting arches and cupola could have been designed by Abbot Suger. The giant crosses also suggest that some of this gets played out in a graveyard as well. Raimi’s mischievious twinkle should not be missed–nor this attempt to bring horror back to its infernal roots.

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One Response to “Trailer Rash: Alison Lohman is “Hell”-Bound”

  1. Venom Will Live Again « SquallyShowers Says:

    […] with a life of its/his own, is getting its/his own film. Just don’t pay any attention to what Sam Raimi is […]

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