Oh, wait, this isn’t exactly “Big Fish” or “Flicka.” But I still say Alison Lohman is the perfect choice to play Christine Brown, the girl who gets cursed and chased and harassed in the horror film “Drag Me to Hell.” She goes through it all in a calm sort of way that some might call under-acting, but I didn’t care. No one looks better in a yellow dress, and she wears a yellow dress in this movie.
It was also important that writer/director Sam Raimi, in returning to his horror roots, cast a sympathetic face. Because Christine’s decision to not extend the mortgage payment deadline for a sick old woman shouldn’t inspire much sympathy from the audience in this day and age. On the other hand, the old woman — with one working eye and no real teeth — is rather hideous. And she already had two deadline extensions, and she could move in with family, so it’s not like Christine is kicking her out on the street.
Raimi’s “Evil Dead” trilogy is a mix of dark humor and scares, and “Drag Me to Hell” follows in that tradition. Lohman and the other actors (including Justin Long as her loving boyfriend) don’t embrace the kitsch like Bruce Campbell; they play it straight. There are a couple exceptions where Lohman gets into the spirit of things, like when she’s digging up a grave in the pouring rain and yelling at a corpse. A slight change in the acting approach would’ve made this a comedy.
Even if it’s not a comedy, it is sometimes funny. The gross-out scenes are certainly gross, but also, you can’t help but laugh at things like the recurring eyeball motif.
Plot-wise, this is as traditional as it gets. Christine gets cursed, and a demon will come for her in three days (after toying with her the first two days, apparently).
You can put “Drag Me to Hell” in the same category as something like “The Grudge” or “Skeleton Key”: A polished, professional effort, but unless this is the first horror movie you’ve ever seen, it won’t stick with you after you leave the theater.