31 May 2009

Drag Me to Hell

Directed by: Sam Raimi
Written by: Sam & Ivan Raimi
Full credits from IMDb

The first thing that struck me about the very enjoyable Drag Me to Hell, Sam "Evil Dead" Raimi's anticipated return to horror after many years of pseudo-prestige work (cf. A Simple Plan) and Spidermannery, was its goofy old-school racism. Basically about gypsy curses, the movie opens with our first hex-victim: a Latino boy who has stolen a Roma's necklace. Typical thieving Hispanics. Forty years later, we meet our heroine Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), a loan officer (boo! hiss!) struggling to succeed in a man's world; her competition at work is a Pinoy prick named Stu (Reggie Lee, who previously played an Pinoy prick on Prison Break). And her trouble begins when she denies a loan extension to Mrs. Ganush, a gypsy, er, "wandering-American" (Lorna Rover), effectively foreclosing on the hideous one-eyed woman's home. The gypsy curses her, and Christine seeks help from an Orientalized psychic (Dileep Rao), whose shopfront office is filled with shrunken monkey heads and the sounds of raga music.

Raimi, whose parents are of Russo-Hungarian lineage, seems never to have met a non-white person, especially of Eastern European extraction, that could be trusted or not reduced to a caricature-or at least who wasn't totally gross. Like the rest of the film, its origins are in the broadness of old comic books-but is it also rooted in a bit of self-loathing?

Keep reading my discussion with Benjamin Sutton at The L Magazine

Watch the trailer:

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