I wanted to see this film in theaters but never got to it. Great review. I'll try and pick this up this week.
From Evil Dead to Spider-Man, Sam Raimi has remained in the horror genre ever since he hit the scene. You’ll agree if you watched Spider-Man 3. Horrible. I had some serious doubts about this movie’s concept. The title says it all. I wasn’t going to see this in theaters just because he owed me $8 from two years ago (Spider-Man 3 again). However, once the Netflix fairies brought this to my doorstep I would find that this movie does a little more than just drag you to hell, it sits there with you and makes sure you’re aware of where you are. Is that a good thing?
Christine Brown is a rather unremarkable female lead. She’s a loan officer at her bank and she’s trying to get a promotion. Things aren’t going to well for her, but she’s got plans on going places. Her bank rival Stu has his own plans which most definitely include seeing Brown in the mud. That was wit, I had to use as much as was found in this movie. Things do however start to get somewhere when a gypsy woman shows up for an extension on her already twice overdue loan. Christine seeing the woman as a credit accident waiting to happen refuses her. After begging, then striking her, the woman is forcibly removed from the bank. Lo and behold, if Borat has taught us anything it’s to never scorn a gypsy. After the only real highlight of the film, an attractive young woman versus an aging old one, she is cursed by the powers that probably don’t be and sentenced to hell.
It’s worth saying that the fight scene is the best sequence in the film. It’s also worth saying that I hope to never see it again. I don’t want to spoil anything, but keep your mouth closed. Someone has to. the resulting curse from the gypsy woman causes a ton of weird things to happen. Christine is witnessing some abnormal stuff from the likes of Poltergeist, Ghostbusters, and Ghost. Standard fare, but the pacing is killer. A lot of modern day horror movies fail on this front altogether, when just a few more seconds of tension can tell the difference between a “Boo!” and a *sound of crapped pants*. Unfortunately the scares are mild at best. In fact the most frightening moments came from me leaving the room and finding that the plot hadn’t progressed from when I’d left. Also, I don’t know if Christine was cursed before or something, but her husband is played by Justin Long. She might want to see a priest about that shit right there.
After Christine stands all she can stand of this torment she consults the patented medium guy who is frightened to call for the aid of someone higher up than him. A spiritual sacrifice ritual is held with a goat. The goat begins to talk at one point, and I nearly died choking on popcorn when the goat bit a man and the demon possessed a flying Mexican man. I’m probably ruining some of what previous viewers of this film consider the better portions, but I’m sorry. I didn’t find the film all that frightening. I was weirded out in the beginning, but that soon passed as I found the film wasn’t going make that next level leap. I’ll admit that it has great execution and good timing, but you have to do something unexpected to scare someone.
I’ll give it that it’s better than The Grudge. How and why Raimi associated himself with that I’ll never know. If I were deathly afraid of hair and security cameras I believe I’d be cowering in fear. I literally found John Cusack’s film ‘1408‘ to be more frightening than this. John Cusack was in that. Oh well, hater’s gonna hate I suppose. I just don’t see what the critics saw in this one. The ending was as obvious as endings get, and some of Raimi’s quirks and camera movements that were pioneered in the 90’s can bring about a laugh in this day and age. I will warn you this: apparently the demon’s name is Lamia. I thought they were trying to catch a Labia for the whole damn film. Thank you Wikipedia.
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Great review. I liked the movie for what's it worth : a modern Army or Darkness. What I mean is the same blend of horror and funny, even with cheap special effects. I admit the movie made me jump quite a few times but that's not scary, that's cheapness - change the music volume. The story itself is pretty damn simple and reminded me of that Halloween episode from The Simpsons where Homer gets a monkey hand that can make his wishes come true but with a malediction. I dunno why, maybe I'm just tired since it's early now...
LOL. Now that you mention it, the goat in the sacrifice scene reminded me of that episode of the Simpsons where they grew Tobacco and Tomatoes and the animals started talking. A lot of parts were unintentionally funny, and the things that creeped me out were more the sight gag type things. I thought she was imagining some scenes, but then the reactions from the other characters would confirm it was real. It was a lot better than a lot of the horror fodder that gets shoveled out these days, but there's a low standard with horror movies. They pretty much pander to the same crowd they did when they were first invented: horny, highschool/college kids. I just expected a little more from the story coming from Raimi, or at least a solid ending to the whole thing.