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The Hell Plaza Oktoberfest

Hell Plaza Oktoberfest III

Adam Jahnke - Main Page

Drag Me to Hell: Unrated Director's Cut

Drag Me to Hell: Unrated Director's Cut
2009 (2009) - Universal Studios Home Entertainment
Released on DVD & Blu-ray on October 13th, 2009

Sam Raimi's long-awaited return to horror proved surprisingly divisive when it was released earlier this year. People who liked it really liked it a lot. Others were profoundly disappointed, partly I suspect because they were bound to be disappointed by anything that wasn't Evil Dead 4. Personally, I dug it quite a bit and enjoyed revisiting it on DVD just as much as seeing it in the theatre.

Alison Lohman stars as a loan officer up for promotion who denies a loan extension to an elderly gypsy woman (Lorna Raver) facing foreclosure.

Not a good idea, as she winds up bearing a curse that will send her to Hell in three days time. What follows is 72 hours of paranormal spookiness, blood, slime, maggots and ritual animal sacrifice. Sounds like a long holiday weekend at my place.

As I mentioned in my original Electric Theatre review last June, Drag Me to Hell feels like a movie that could have been made between Darkman and Army of Darkness and I mean that as the highest possible compliment. Yes, it's PG-13 but you'll be hard-pressed to find another PG-13 horror movie that's this unhinged. If Army of Darkness is Raimi's version of a Ray Harryhausen adventure, Drag Me to Hell can be seen as his interpretation of Satanic Hammer films like The Devil Rides Out. It's energetic, spooky and pure, unadulterated fun throughout.

Universal's DVD presents both the theatrical and unrated director's cut versions of the movie. You nay-sayers who dismissed the PG-13 version are in for more disappointment as the differences between the two are virtually imperceptible. The disc looks great and sounds spectacular, with an extremely active surround mix that I'll bet is even more impressive on Blu-ray (thanks for not making that version available to me, Universal). There's only one extra but it's a pretty good one: 34 minutes of Production Video Diaries hosted by co-star Justin Long. It's not as in-depth as you might like but it's a huge improvement over the usual EPK crap. You get to see plenty of interesting behind-the-scenes footage and most of the key sequences in the film are given a few minutes of screen time. Even Long's hosting duties are amusing. If you're only going to include one special feature on a DVD, you'd better make sure it's at least as good as this one.

Sam Raimi remains one of the most original filmmakers working today and Drag Me to Hell gives him a chance to cut loose and have some fun. After the bloated misstep of Spider-Man 3, he needed something like this and I'm optimistic that the experience has reenergized him. I never thought I'd say this but I'm actually looking forward to Spider-Man 4 now. I think all Raimi needed was a quick side trip to Hell.

Film Rating: A-
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A-/A/C+

Adam Jahnke

Adam Jahnke - Main Page
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