Drag Me to Hell a.k.a. “Jusqu'en enfer”
Reviewed by: Eric Hernandez
Supernatural, Thriller, Suspense, Horror
1 hr. 39 min.
Year of Release:
May 29, 2009 (wide—2,400 theaters)
DVD: October 13, 2009 (Unrated version)
Curses in the Bible
SATAN—Is Satan a real person that influences our world today? Is he affecting you? Answer
Is there an actual place called “Hell”? Answer
Why was Hell made? Answer
Is there anyone in Hell today? Answer
Will there literally be a burning fire in Hell? Answer
What should you be willing to do to stay out of Hell? Answer
How can a God of love send anybody to Hell? Answer
What if I don’t believe in Hell? Answer
THE GOOD NEWS—How to be saved from Hell. Answer
How can I be sure of my salvation? Answer
What is “the unpardonable sin”? How does sin become “unforgivable”? Answer
How can I be and feel forgiven? Answer
If God forgives me every time I ask, why do I still feel so guilty? Answer
Burial in the Bible
DEMON POSSESSSION and Influence—Can Christians be demon possessed? In what ways can Satan and his demons influence believers? Answer
“Christine Brown has a good job, a great boyfriend, and a bright future. But in three days, she’s going to hell.”
“Drag Me to Hell” marks director Sam Raimi’s return to the horror genre; before helming the three blockbuster SPIDER-MAN movies, he was most famous for his EVIL DEAD series of horror films, which had a far-reaching influence on the horror movie genre. Those films were also notoriously gruesome; when it was released in 1980, the first EVIL DEAD picture was given an X rating for its graphic, bloody violence. Now, DRAG ME TO HELL arrives in theaters with a PG-13 rating. Has Raimi gone soft? First, let’s take a look at the plot.
Christine Brown (played by Alison Lohman) is an ambitious young loan officer, who lives with her college professor boyfriend Clay Dalton (played by Justin Long). Christine is successful at her job, but is unsatisfied, constantly begging her boss Mr. Jacks (played by David Paymer) for a promotion. One day, an elderly gypsy woman named Mrs. Ganush (played by Lorna Raver) arrives at Christine’s office, begging her for an extension on her home loan. Christine sees this as a way to prove to her boss that she is capable of making tough decisions, and denies Mrs. Ganush her home loan. Angered and vengeful, Mrs. Ganush places an ancient curse on Christine: for three days, a demon called the Lamia will torment Christine, and on the third day, the Lamia will drag Christine to Hell.
While Raimi may have toned things down from his EVIL DEAD days, the violence in DRAG ME TO HELL is still intense, disturbing and grotesque. The PG-13 rating seems almost too mild at times. Mrs. Ganush and Christine tangle many times; first, in Christine’s car, where Mrs. Ganush attacks Christine from the back seat, choking her and attempting to yank her earring out. Christine fights back by stapling the old woman’s eye shut and crashing the car, slamming Mrs. Ganush’s head against the dashboard so hard that her dentures fly out. Later on, when Mrs. Ganush “dies” of natural causes, she returns as a ghost, allowing the filmmakers even more freedom to batter her and Christine around. The un-dead Mrs. Ganush sticks her arm up to the elbow down Christine’s throat, rips out clumps of Christine’s hair and vomits embalming fluid onto Christine’s face in a truly disgusting scene. Christine once again fights back by dropping an enormous anvil on the ghost’s head, causing eyeballs and goo to fly from Mrs. Ganush’s eye sockets.
Other scenes, while not technically violent, include gross-out content intended to make the viewers queasy. The Lamia induces a fountain-like nosebleed in Christine, who ends up spraying blood all over her boss. Christine, also, finds an eyeball in a piece of cake she is eating. Mrs. Ganush, while still living, is a disgusting character, with filthy saliva-covered dentures which we see many times. She is no more pleasant when dead: her ghost coughs up maggots that find their way into Christine’s mouth.
Sexual content is minimal: Christine and Clay are unmarried but live together, and are once seen lying together (fully clothed) in bed. One scene has Christine in a wet T-shirt. Language includes a few s-words and one G*D, along with a few utterances of “God” and “Jesus”.
This brings us to the spiritual content. The movie’s storyline should give any Christian hesitation; dark spiritual forces are nothing to be taken lightly. Knowing this, I was still a little shocked at some of the spiritual content. Christine, once cursed, consults a medium named Rham Jas (played by Dileep Rao), who advises Christine to sacrifice an animal. Christine follows his advice: she sacrifices her pet cat off-screen, and is later seen burying it in the garden. When that doesn’t work, she attends a séance, and things get even darker: a goat intended for sacrifice is possessed by the Lamia, and speaks to them. Meanwhile, objects fly around, people are possessed and speak in demonic voices, and the body of Christine’s dead cat is vomited up by a person.
It is interesting to note that the movie treats all these demonic occurrences with the levity they deserve. Christine is a good-hearted person, who, after being cursed, honestly tries to do the right thing. The animal sacrifice and séance help nothing, and the movie makes sure we realize that. However, the gospel of Jesus Christ (as one could expect) is never once mentioned as a path to salvation. ***SPOILER WARNING**** Christine ends up never finding deliverance from the curse, and the final scene shows her being “dragged” to Hell by demonic hands. ***END SPOILER****
So, while séances and animal sacrifices are portrayed as being the wrong way to go, because God’s message of salvation is never once presented, whatever moral the movie may contain will only serve to confuse non-believers.
Philippians 4:8 says, “… whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things”. DRAG ME TO HELL, while perhaps not the worst movie currently in theaters, fits none of these criteria. Skip it.
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.