Drag Me To Hell
PG-13
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -4

Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Jessica Lucas, David Paymer, Dileep Rao. Horror. Written by Sam Raimi & Ivan Raimi. Directed by Sam Raimi.

FILM SYNOSPIS: Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) is an ambitious L.A. loan officer with a charming boyfriend, professor Clay Dalton (Justin Long).  Life is good until the mysterious Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver) arrives at the bank to beg for an extension on her home loan and is denied a loan.  In retaliation, the old woman places the curse of the Lamia on Christine, transforming her life into a living hell.  Haunted by an evil spirit and misunderstood by a skeptical boyfriend, she seeks the aid of seer Rham Jas (Dileep Rao) to save her soul from eternal damnation. (Now, wouldn’t you think a person named Christine would seek Christ’s help in the matter of soul saving instead of some guy named Dileep?)

PREVIEW REVIEW: I have acquaintances who are going to roll their eyes and say “lighten up, Phil,” at the following comment. But here goes. I am uncomfortable with the title. I don’t want anyone going to Hell. Whatever else it is, it is a place where God and hope aren’t. The title conjures up the image of people being forced to spend eternity in such a place. This has little to do with the movie, but, as I said, the title is unnerving.

As to the film, director Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, The Grudge 3, 30 Days of Night, Spider-Man 1,2,3) slyly incorporates tongue-in-cheek dark humor throughout in order to give dimension to an otherwise standard B-horror flick about an innocent (here, not so innocent) fighting for her soul after being cursed by a gypsy-like witch.

I have to admit, I laughed. The humor was inventive, the dreaded shock clang on the soundtrack (used over and over) frequently jolts, and Alison Lohman proved herself able to hold audience attention. She’s the new Linda Blair, the newer Jamie Lee Curtis. What’s more, it raised an interesting question: how far would you go to promote yourself at work? Would you sacrifice others in order to better your position? Though I can’t remember being guilty of that offense, I have committed similar crimes against the soul in a couple of relationships. So, while this is a horror flick that does little to reverence God, I sat there convicted of sin and grateful that I had been forgiven thanks to our Savior.

But I wouldn’t advise attending this spook fest in order to find spiritual revelation. Seeking redemption and a release from an evil curse, the female lead turns to a palm reader and a Hispanic soothsayer. Christ is only mentioned in frustration, a throwaway “for C-sakes.” The female lead also lets go with a couple of obscenities (the s-word, which has become the new “damn”) and a profane use of God’s name. She does not seek help through Christ.

Here’s my other problem with this film. I’m uncomfortable with satanic themes used as entertainment. At one point the lead is chased through her home by a shadowy figure with horns and hooves. There’s also a séance, which develops into demonic possession. And throughout, we see fiendish imagery, such as an evil old woman with superhuman powers and dead, decaying bodies visiting earth from their home in the nether regions.

We are instructed in scripture not to visit spiritualists, palm readers, or use Ouija boards. Nor are we to use horoscopes to discover our futures (Jeremiah 10:2-3). I think we would be wise not to mock Satan (Jude 1:9). Those acquaintances of mine are rolling their eyes again. ‘Course, they don’t believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. What’s your excuse?

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Universal

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: Four or five obscenities, mostly the s-word.
Profanity: Two misuses of Christ’s name and one of God’s.
Violence: Deleterious effects throughout, along with jolting imagery that includes hellish-looking villains who pull a child down into Hell and throw a young woman around the room several times and otherwise mistreat her; the final image of a person being sucked down into hell, the terror on the person’s face is unnerving; we witness an attempted animal sacrifice and see a dead cat buried. Blood: It starts out as a nose bleed, but then it sprays over another person as if the blood were coming from a hose.
Sexual Intercourse: We see the lead couple sleeping together, but no sexual activity.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: Wine with dinner.
Other: The lead sees a psychic and attends a séance.
Running Time: 99 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Older

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