Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"Drag" your scabby ass to the theater this Friday, or I'll curse you myself

Guys and gals, seriously? I know I haven't written much at all lately. I got married, am toiling away at a job that takes up far too much of my time, and am generally rather over-extended. So please believe your beloved (if generally absent) Head Counsellor Buzz when he tells you this:

You need to get your fucking shit to the theater this Friday to see Drag Me to Hell.

I caught a press screening of the movie last night and I have to say, for me to have been laughing so hard mere hours after Proposition 8 was upheld by the California Supreme Court (whom a colleague of mine aptly referred to as the football-snatching Lucy Van Pelt of the State courts) is downright shameful. But such is the gooey, frenetic, raucous and mind-meltingly clever black magic of this mean, hilarious, and fabulously compact little morality tale.

This shit was so good that I actually forgive
Sam Raimi for the three-hour back-alley abortion that was Spiderman 3.

I don't want to spoil too much of the already amazingly lean plot, but let me just say that this movie has balls to spare, and it is probably the most perfect horror movie for the current economic climate imaginable. Remember when horror movies had points? When they were about societal evils and demons and zeitgeist and comeuppance? That's what we have here, wrapped in zingy, kitty-covered wrapping paper and tied with a big fat bow. I seriously can't imagine any studio giving the greenlight to this kind of uncompromising thriller being made today, and I love Raimi for deciding that now was the right time to unleash this hellish vision of our profit-driven culture.

Aside from all that, Drag Me is screamingly funny (both thanks to clever gags and writing, brilliantly executed sequences and the over-the-top wacky violence that made us all fall in love with Raimi as a director so many moons and poorly-dubbed VHS copies of Evil Dead ago) and wonderfully disgusting, and boasts a killer central performance by Alison Lohman in her first lead role. I wonder what made Ellen Page (who was originally attached) drop out at the last minute, but honestly I don't care, because Lohman is awesome (there's a scene when she meets her boyfriend's parents' cat that pretty much encapsulates how good this girl is).

Her character, Christine, is kind of what you'd get if True Blood's Sookie Stackhouse stopped banging vampires, got her shit together and moved to the big city, but she's infinitely more complicated (and, as we learn in the opening scenes, has trained herself out of that accent). The other characters are pretty much props for her to bounce off of (literally and figuratively), but Lohman is so damn watchable that it works.

I really can't say enough about this movie, but I'll stop here because half the fun of this fucked-up thrill-ride is letting the master behind the camera lead you along. Sure, you'll figure out the twists long before they arrive, but you're supposed to ... the fun is in how Raimi still doesn't give you what you expect, and gives it to you with a staggering amount of skill and humor. There's more creativity in a single minute of this movie than in all of Rob Zombie's movies combined, and more legitimate grossness without any of the leering ick.

If you liked The Entity but could have done without all the rape, or if you wished Serpent and the Rainbow had the pacing of an MMA cage-match, your white knight has arrived. And all this with a PG-13? Fuck me to hell - this guy's still got it.

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