The filmmakers’ hell

"Drag Me to Hell", written by Sam and Ivan Raimi,
directed by Sam Raimi

In the filmmaker’s hell there are many rooms of various sizes, intensities and status. I have certainly assured myself a modest place in one of the least noticeable of them, but that’s not the subject of this entry.

This entry is concerned with Sam Raimi. I am afraid that with his “Drag me to hell” he might be possibly going there himself. That he would - very deservingly so - be treated there as a major celebrity would be to him a small consolation, I guess.

I suspect all filmmakers, after the screenings of their own lives run last frames, want to reside in some privileged sector of the afterlife, far removed from the unpleasantness of hell and the unbearable boredom of heaven (at least in its biblical version.) What would such “Filmmakers’ Hell” be is another story. Yes, this is a play on my “A Philosopher's Paradise,” which although liked by many (of the very few who actually saw it I must disclose in order not to end up in the wrong circle of hell), is one of the reasons I am definitely going to the filmmakers’ hell.

So why do I think Mr. Raimi might be heading the wrong way? Here are his possible sins:

A delicious Alison Lohman is 95% of the time on the screen and she is never seen naked. Not even a modest bathtub relaxing scene. Not a single change of blood soaked clothes, not a shower scene. That's a major transgression which by itself should assure any director of such a flick eternal hellfire.

If I were a cat or a goat appearing in this flick I would definitely sue. Not a single close up for any of them. A total lack of any character building there. (The argument that humans don't get that much either does not stand, animals in a horror flick are privileged). Here, the cat is too shyly dealt with, the goat's cool single action is thrown away. Only a fly gets some attention and perhaps some “personality development.” (Still not enough for me)

The loudness and the overall bravado of the film successfully hide its shortcomings. For example production design wise the office scenes (the bank and the boyfriend's campus office) are surprisingly devoid of verve. The absolutely captivating historical prologue sets such high expectations that the bank office scene that follows is a let down. Granted, to squeeze something interesting out of such a dull space is almost impossible, but that's Raimi directing. He is a great director, when he wants to be. The next scene in the parking garage proves it.

The script's flatness and predictability could be excused by the “B picture” ambition of the film, yet with such high directorial talent engaged this should have not happened.

1 comment:

  1. I agree that overall the movie is rather thin, but I simply loved Raimi's audacity in all the visceral scenes: the first fight on the underground parking lot had me laughing, screaming and covering my eyes -- I felt like a kid all over again and I owe Raimi one for that enjoyable regression :) The movie, as uneven as it is, made me giddy inside and enthusiastic about moviegong experience, and that counts for a lot.