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Drag Me to Hell: Collector's Edition (2018) - Blu-ray Review

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Drag Me to Hell - Blu-ray Review

Movie Review

4 beersWhen this film was originally released NINE YEARS AGO, we really wanted writer/director Sam Raimi to be back in the business of scaring the pants off of us and making us howl with laughter. We got exactly what we wanted with Drag Me to Hell even if Raimi remained relatively quiet until the groovy Ash vs Evil Dead series and now, thanks to Scream Factory, we get a proper Collector’s Edition of this cult flick.

Raimi returns and Drag Me to Hell is the proverbial horse that carries him back home to the horror house. The director of The Evil Dead trilogy and cult favorites such as Darkman and The Quick and the Dead returns to the genre that earned him so much respect and street credibility. Much like the prodigal son in that biblical yarns of old, Raimi steps away from the formulaic insta-star successes of the Spider-Man films - with some humility from the critical bashing and fan tongue-lashing of the third film - with a fresh new film that somewhat captures the spirit of the Raimi we love and miss. And, yet, while returning to the genre that made him so loved among cine-files, he accomplishes with Drag Me to Hell something that no other film he has previously completed has ever done - he scares the hell right outta you.

Raimi's Drag Me to Hell, co-written by his brother and longtime screenwriting partner Ivan Raimi, starts off with a horrific jolt as it sets in motion a nightmarish tale about a gypsy curse concerning the Lamia, a goat-like demon bent on delivering the owner of any cursed object straight to hell. The beginning set in a beautifully decorated Spanish home - is certifiably classic Raimi gusto with swift cuts and hyperkinetic "push-pull" zooms as the hidden Lamia attacks those around the cursed child and then, ultimately, the child himself. This stylized beginning sets the stage for the rest of the film to unfold across and serves as the film's location for its climax; it's a nice reminder of Raimi's use of manic camera work in large, open spaces.

The real story then shifts to present day and we are introduced to Christine Brown, played (with a slight nod to the acting styles Bruce Campbell) by Alison Lohman who, surprisingly because she is perfect in the role, was an 11th hour substitute for Juno star Ellen Page. Christine is a little withdrawn, a little insecure, but is up for a big promotion at the bank where she works and finds herself competing for a desired position with an ass-kissing co-worker who does a great job of earning the boss's trust while losing everyone else's around him.

In the heated competition for the job, Christine is forced to make a snap decision concerning the property of an elderly Slavic woman, Mrs. Ganush, hauntingly and memorably played by Lorna Raver, and denies her another extension. The woman is driven to beg Christine for her home and in awkward fashion is escorted out by security. The two meet again in a parking garage sequence that is pure Raimi and one of the film's many highlights. As a result of the crazy and comical confrontation, Mrs. Ganush brings the Lamia curse upon Christine and the horrors as well as the laughs are released upon the audience.

There are some goreshly great sequences throughout Drag Me to Hell and, obviously, there are images that will haunt and scare and twist and tease the imagination and that is the key to the success of this film as Raimi seems once again inspired by the material and his imagination is as grand as that of a child's... mind you a child who knows what the hell he is doing behind the camera. The film is a full blown funhouse thrill of a ride and makes for a great treat for horror hooligans and fans of The Evil Dead trilogy (as there are several tongue-in-cheek references to those films sprinkled throughout the film).

Unfortunately, Drag Me to Hell is not quite Raimi let loose behind the camera (call me stubborn, but I, for one, want a complete return to form from this man not a tempered attempt at past successes), it does capture elements missing from Raimi in the Spider-Man series. In my opinion, Spider-Man comes across as Raimi waltzing through a field of roses when he should be charging like a bull through it. That being said, I will take Drag Me to Hell over anything else labeled as a true "horror" film any day of the week; it is refreshing and funny and packed with gnarly visuals that will have you laughing one second and screaming the next. Is it hyperkinetic? At times, yes. Does it have first person shots from fast moving objects that Raimi used to give his audience? Sadly, no. Does it entertain even the most doubtful of viewers? Most certainly it does. But is it terrifying? Hell, yes, dear readers, and now, to quote the movie, you should find yourself a movie-going partner and “go get some."

Scream Factory absolutely delivers with their release of this newish cult classic.

Film Details

Drag Me to Hell - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of horror violence, terror, disturbing images and language.
Runtime: 99 mins
Director: Sam Raimi
Writer: Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi
Cast: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Ruth Livier
Genre: Horror
Tagline: Christine Brown has a good job, a great boyfriend, and a bright future. But in three days, she's going to hell.
Memorable Movie Quote: "And get your filthy pig knuckle off my desk!"
Theatrical Distributor: Universal Pictures
Official Site: Release Date: May 29, 2009
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: February 13, 2018
Synopsis: Christine Brown (Alison Lohman, Officer Downe) is on her way to having it all: a devoted boyfriend (Justin Long, Jeepers Creepers), a hard-earned job promotion, and a bright future. But when she has to make a tough decision that evicts an elderly woman from her house, Christine becomes the victim of an evil curse. Now she has only three days to dissuade a dark spirit from stealing her soul before she is dragged to hell for an eternity of unthinkable torment.

Drag Me to Hell - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray - February 13, 2018
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles: English
Language: English
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Taken from the 2K digitial intermediate, the new transfer of the film is seriously golden. The film is presented in this crackling Collector’s Edition courtesy of Scream Factory. The dastardly effects look fresh and appropriately bloodied. The sets loaded with details unseen before. Overall, the film looks gloriously fresh in 1080p and buzzes with a new sense of urgency as the crisp visuals are punctuated in a way I previously had not noticed. The buildings within are rich with details and bold black levels. Interiors, especially in the office sequence, are solid and expressive. Black levels are strong throughout, revealing layers in the shadows as the building from top to bottom is presented with warmth and clarity. With an English DTS-HD Master Audio Surround 5.1 as its source for sonics, the film simply doesn’t disappoint.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Fans are definitely going to want to fork over the dough to buy this version of this beloved cult classic. Spread out over two discs, the NEW supplemental items with NEW interviews from the cast and the crew, including the slipcover, the NEW HD master of the theatrical and the unrated cut, and the interviews with the cast are seriously GREAT.

Disc One:

NEW HD Master Of The Theatrical Cut Taken From The 2K Digital Intermediate

Production Diaries (35 min)

Vintage Interviews (33 min)

TV Spots

Theatrical Trailer

 

Disc Two:

NEW HD Master Of The Unrated Cut Taken From The 2K Digital Intermediate

To Hell And Back – An Interview With Actress Alison Lohman (12 min)

Curses! – An Interview With Actress Lorna Raver (16 min)

Hitting All The Right Notes – An Interview With Composer Christopher Young (17 min)

Still Gallery

Drag Me to Hell - Blu-ray Review

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