Drag Me to Hell

Movie review by
James Rocchi, Common Sense Media
Drag Me to Hell Movie Poster Image
More scares than gore, but still too much for young kids.
  • PG-13
  • 2009
  • 99 minutes
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 13 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 56 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

For all of the movie's horror-film trappings and scares, the message about the consequences of your ethical choices is quite strong.

Positive role models & representations

Lohman's character repeatedly struggles to do the right thing. The movie offers a stereotypical depiction of "Gypsies," but it's notmalicious and is in keeping with the movie's horror-film historicalcontext.

Violence

High on scares, but they're peppered with some humor. Extensive fighting and scuffling, with a mix of graphic imagery and good-natured goofiness; blood, but in such outlandish amounts that the effect is ultimately more cartoony than grisly. An old woman grapples with the main character, who fights her off with fists, a stapler, and the laws of gravity; a staple is plunged into human flesh. A spectral vision is hit by a falling heavy object, to squishy, comedic effect; spectral forces hurl, batter, and buffet people around. A machete is used. Discussion and depiction of animal sacrifice.

Sex

Kissing; an unmarried couple wakes up in the same bed. Some wearing of damp, clingy clothing on the main character's part.

Language

Extensive use of "hell," also occasional use of "damn," "ass," "pissed," "s--t," "screw," "bitch," "Christ's sake," "oh my God," "goddamn," "whore," and one barely articulated, under-the-breath use of "f--k."

Consumerism

Some brands seen (Apple, Motorola) and mentioned (American Express).

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Characters drink wine and speak of relatives who were alcoholics.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this is a review of the movie seen in theaters and not the unrated version available on DVD. Many of the scares, jumps, and jolts in this horror/action movie from Spider-Man director Sam Raimi are played for comic effect. Still, it's quite bloody, and along with the scary moments and gore, there's extensive discussion of curses, spells, ghosts, and spirits. Surprisingly, the film also has an ethical core, as the main character makes several tough decisions and tries to do the right thing despite implacable odds -- though she occasionally fails.

User Reviews

Parent of a 6 and 14 year old Written bysmita67 April 28, 2013

Great movie!

First of all, 90% of the reviews on here are for the cinema one, not the 'unrated one', or the '15' rated one we have in england on dvd or i... Continue reading
Parent of a 3 year old Written byerinmort December 16, 2009

really not for kids

definitely not a kids movie..... i admit i had nightmares
Teen, 14 years old Written bydanielellarby July 12, 2011

Excellent movie

This film is an extremely entertaining film with a great and pretty actress in the main role. The plot is very imaginative, a little gory but disguised with hum... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old October 26, 2014

Drag Me To Hell: My Suggested Rating(s)

PLEASE NOTE: This review is for the UNRATED DIRECTOR'S CUT VERSION ON DVD! BBFC - 15: Contains strong horror and violence. AgeRatings4U (My Own Rating) -... Continue reading

What's the story?

Loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) works at a L.A. bank; she's trying to earn a promotion to assistant manger, enjoying her relationship with her boyfriend Clay (Justin Long) and generally trying to get ahead. But when she denies a loan extension to an old woman (Lorna Raver) to prove thay she can make the "tough calls," the woman retaliates by attacking Christine and then by cursing her, shackling Christine's fate to the arrival of a spirit called "The Lamia," which in three days' time will pull her to eternal damnation.

Is it any good?

Quick, lively, and full of lighthearted (albeit bloody) mayhem, DRAG ME TO HELL deserves to be one of the sleeper hits of the summer of 2009. It traffics more in scares than gore (although it does have enough of an ick factor to have you squirming in your seat), and it's built around a sympathetic character and has an underlying theme about the costs of modern capitalism and getting ahead -- plus, of course, monsters, demons, and spirits.

Raimi has returned to his roots here, and the fact is that he's even better as a filmmaker -- more comfortable with effects, more skilled in his storytelling, more carefully calibrating the line between over the top and out of bounds that so few horror filmmakers know how to walk. Lohman's also terrific; she's scared and vulnerable, but she's also a decent person trying like crazy to get out of a serious problem. Lohman makes you buy Christine's emotional and moral journey as much as you believe the supernatural scares and action. Drag Me to Hell is a real pleasure -- a mix of old-fashioned B-movie ideas and great modern movie-making skill.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the choices Christine faces. What could her character have done differently? What would the cost of those decisions be?

  • Families can also discuss the tradition of horror films as cautionarytales; do the scares and startling moments make the message go downmore easily?

Movie details

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