A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Kissing; an unmarried couple wakes up in the same bed. Some wearing of damp, clingy clothing on the main character's part.
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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."
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Products & Purchases
Some brands seen (Apple, Motorola) and mentioned (American Express).
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink wine and speak of relatives who were alcoholics.
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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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
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Our Editors Recommend
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