Drag Me to Hell

 
(i)

 

More scares than gore, but still too much for young kids.
  • Review Date: May 27, 2009
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 99 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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.

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.

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:May 29, 2009
DVD release date:October 12, 2009
Cast:Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver
Director:Sam Raimi
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Horror
Run time:99 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sequences of horror violence, terror, disturbing images and language

This review of Drag Me to Hell was written by

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Quality

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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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) - 15A: Contains strong threat, horror, violence, bloody scenes, language and infrequent moderate gore.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
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 in america on dvd. As this is the only version u can watch now you must know that this new version of the movie is too intense for anyone 13 or under. The sound effects are much, MUCH louder than the one in cinema, which makes the jump scenes all the more scarier! With more gore and violence restored, you should know that as per guidance, it would be an 'R', for strong bloody violence and terror throughout. The violence scenes are much more prolonged. Violence - During the gypsy's asault on the main character, in order to defend herself, Christine, uses a staple to staple her forehead and staple one of the gypsey's eyes closed. She also stabs her with a ruler straight down her neck, though the gypsy remains unaffected. Then, suddenly, Christine gets a nose bleed at work and srays/shoots out all over her bosses and collegues like a fountain. The nosebleed and blood that gushes from her mouth spraying her boss was momentarily very bloody but also somewhat fantastical and intentionally over the top. Another scene shows an elderly female attacker punching her hand into the young woman's mouth up to the upper forearm. Gore - The young woman subsequently manages to cut a rope holding an anchor up which lands on the older woman's head causing her eyeballs pop out and hit the young woman in the face and cover her face with gore, which must be the strongest scene throughout. Another scene shows a dead corpse of the gypsy falling on top of the woman and conincidently 'lip-locks' with her. Puss and puke falls into he mouth as she helplessly wriggles and tries to struggle free. Another has the old woman attack her whilst shes sleeping, in the struggle she vomits maggots, which fall into her mouth,nose and belly button. The majority of these very cut short or edited, however have been restored on the dvd version. If u are unsure wether to let your child watch it. The BBFC (british certification board) state that the cinema version is a '12', for moderate violence and intense supernatural horror. If u can find that version, then your child would be fine with it as it's more fantastical than horror. But the '15', is well out of bounds and is rated a 15 for 'Strong violence and horror' for a reason. No one under 13 for the dvd version.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
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 humour. With great scares and good tension parts Drag Me To Hell is an excellent choice.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing

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