• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Drag Me To Hell

TITLE: Drag Me To Hell

YEAR: 2009

GENRE: Horror

Once upon a time in 1981 a young film maker from Michigan State University named Sam Raimi created a little drive-in film called The Evil Dead that revolutionized the horror genre. The film was an epic combination of over the top bloody horror and intense, slapstick style humor that resonated with the fans and to this day is one of the most collectible horror offerings ever made. The sequels Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn and Army Of Darkness are also classics in their own right, but by the mid-1990’s Raimi had moved on to greener pastures and became the head of the lucrative Spiderman franchise. Horror fans have waited with baited breath hoping that Raimi would return to the genre, and after his obligations to the Marvel webslinger ended he resurrected a ten-year-old idea and made his return to horror. Drag Me To Hell is a triumphant return to the genre that spawned Raimi and is one of the very bestHollywoodhorror offerings since the new millennium.

Bank loan officer Christine Brown (played by Alison Lohman) is a mild-mannered woman at a crossroads with her job. The assistant manager position was currently available but her boss Jim Jacks (David Paymer) believes that Christine is too soft to make the tough decisions required by management. In order to show Jim that she has the right stuff Christine denies a mortgage extension request by Sylvia Ganush (Lorna Rayner), a kindly Hungarian old lady. Sylvia attacks Christine in the parking lot at the end of the day and steals a button from her coat. Strange things start happening to Christine, and through the help of a fortune teller Christine discovers that Sylvia has placed a curse on Christine and she is due to die and be taken to Hell for eternity in a few days. With the assistance of her boyfriend Clay Dalton (Justin Long), Christine is in a literal battle for her very soul against Sylvia’s curse but getting her to change her blight is impossible because she recently passed away. So how does one reverse a curse rendered by a dead woman anyway?

Most Hollywood horror films since 2000 have been downright awful, but Drag Me To Hell works well on a variety of levels. First of all Drag Me To Hell does have some great scares and will make the viewer jump out of their seat on several occasions especially when Christine is attacked in her car by Sylvia. In addition there are some comedic moments such as when Christine is digging through Sylvia’s grave in the mud in a blistering rainstorm as it is hysterical in its extreme nature. The combination of quality scares and great belly laughs make Drag Me To Hell as mature and often entertaining offering that is far above the usual stalk and slash teen scares offerings littering the theaters. The acting by the two main actresses is top notch; Lohman is superb as the nice young lady who becomes paranoid and frantic dealing with her curse, but Rayner is the story as she is gleefully over the top as the crazed old woman. The special effects are clever and use traditional and CGI-style effects in a valuable and productive way, and Raimi directs his usual excellent production. In addition, the ending is satisfying for horror fans and is a mature dénouement of a great scary film, something many directors miss especially on a horror film.

Lohman’s role was originally supposed to be portrayed by Ellen Page, but she pulled out before production began to star in the Drew Barrymore directed roller derby film Whip It. Lohman unfortunately has had few film appearances since her marriage to screenwriter Mark Neveldine (Jonah Hex and the Crank films), and judging from this role I will look forward to her appearance in future movies. Raimi is back to helming mega-budget projects as his next film Oz: The Great And Powerful starring Mila Kunis and James Franco is due in 2013 and will surely be a tentpole release for the summer or Christmas season. Drag Me To Hell is a great combination of horror and humor that does a great job telling a story and is a creative addition to a genre that suffers from monotony.

* * * * 1/2

–Mark

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