has an average rating of 7.5 on IMDb
1080p in VC-1 on a 50gb disc
DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
are short with Digital Copy & D-Box
– 99 minutes (both Theatrical & UNRATED)
This uses 19.6GB & 20.6GB for the movie out of 45.6GB total.
Street Date: October 13th, 2009
Overall Verdict – A Horror Worth Recommending
— Review written by: Justin Sluss —
The Movie Itself was co-wrote and Directed by Sam Raimi of “Evil Dead” and “Spider-Man” trilogy fame. This is Raimi‘s directorial return to the horror genre, where he got his start all the way back in 1978 when directed his first film, a short called “Within the Woods” that would go on to later become “The Evil Dead” in 1981 and two other films would follow making up a trilogy. Decades later now, joining Raimi here on this film is Ivan Raimi (his older brother) who co-wrote the screenplay. For those who don’t remember, Ivan also co-wrote the original screenplay for “Army of Darkness“, the last of the films in the “Evil Dead” trilogy of films. Speaking of such, joining them as Producers on this film is their old friend Robert Tapert who also served as Producer on almost every, if not every film that Sam Raimi has done to date. This only lacks Bruce Campbell as a cast member to be a real total reunion of talents all working again on a horror film like “back in the day”. Sam Raimi‘s origins were horror and we all know it. So, it comes as great relief to tell you this is a true return from this legendary director to the genre. It’s one that is sure to leave a majority of his fans pleased.
Now as for the specifics to this film itself, “Drag Me to Hell“. The film revolves around a girl named “Christine Brown” (played by Alison Lohman) who works at a bank approving loans. She is doing well, she’s what she believes a “shoe in” for a promotion at the bank and she has a rich, successful boyfriend (played by Justin Long). It would seem that Christine has a bright future ahead of her but not everything is what it seems, especially in a horror film. One day an elderly gypsy woman named “Sylvia Ganush” (played brilliantly by Lorna Raver) walks into the bank and comes up to Christine asking for an extension on her loan. The elderly Mrs. Ganush has lost the pigment in one eye and aside from that really seems to have been quite creepy of an old hag to begin with. The old lady tells Christine that if she doesn’t help her that the bank is going to evict her from her home. So it may come as no surprise that Christine does take the lady’s situation seriously and takes the case to her boss. Her boss tells her it’s really up to her and leaves it in turn, literally up to Christine to decide if this woman deserves another extension on her loan. Christine thinks for a minute about if she decides to appear weak and give the lady an extension she might hurt the chances of getting her promotion she figures she is a “shoe in” for. So before she walks back to her desk where Ganush is sitting, stealing candies, Christine comes to the decision that she is not going to give the woman the extension on her loan. Ganush pleads to her for pity and to please not take away her home but Christine plays it “cool” and calls for security. The security has Mrs. Ganush in custody when she lunges straight for Christine and tries to attack her. The elderly lady is then escorted out of the bank by security.
Following the encounter mentioned above, Christine goes back about her job routine and eventually it comes to quitting time. She exits the bank and proceeds from the parking garage to her car. As she’s walking to her car she notices a car sitting in the almost empty parking garage aside from hers, the car belongs to the elderly lady from earlier in the day, Sylvia Ganush. It appears to both Christine and the viewers that the old lady is about to try to make an attack at her. I won’t spoil the element of surprise (horror) and such for you but I will say this, because it is important to the film’s plot. Mrs. Ganush pulls off a button from Christine’s coat in this dispute and she proceeds to put a curse on the button and gives it back to our leading lady. That is where things start to go incredibly wrong for our leading lady and start to get extremely terrifying to viewers. The curse put on Christine is that of a “Lamia” as she soon learns from a fortune teller, “Rham Jas”” (played by Dileep Rao). Rham Jas advises her on what to do to stop this evil spirit from trying to steal her soul in the three day period that it takes. He tells her she needs to read a book on animal sacrifices. Christine, a vegan, quickly replies to him that she’s not up for that. The fortune teller mentions to her before she leaves that she will be very surprised what she is willing to do to rid herself of the evil spirit in the following days. That statement is very, very true. I won’t describe anymore of the film to you to avoid spoilers but I will say that you are in for a definite treat if you enjoy horror films.
Overall, “Drag Me to Hell” is definitely a triumphant return to the horror genre from director Sam Raimi and is sure to leave fans of his previous “Evil Dead” trilogy of films (like myself) very pleased. I’ll also say that the story is very well thought out and plays good off the idea of a gypsy curse, much like how the “Evil Dead” films played off the idea of the “Necronomicon“. Hats off to Mr. Raimi on a job very well done. I look forward to his future horror projects, which as I mentioned earlier is said to include a possible sequel and/or remake of “The Evil Dead“. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that turns out to be true and that it turns out to be just as good as this outing!
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the VC-1 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. As IMDb states in the technical specifications for the aspect ratio, this was shot on Super 35mm film using the Panavision Panaflex series of cameras. It makes for a really solid transfer from super 35mm with a likely digital intermediate source here to Hi-Def on the Blu-ray release. The black level, very important in any horror film, is very solid here as you can tell from the opening credits and first few scenes. The color palette is actually pretty vibrant and not as subdued as most palettes on horror films, although it is obviously a bit subdued. The fleshtones are accurate here with the main character played by Alison Lohman serving as a great example throughout.
Now one thing I will mention that isn’t something neccesarily wrong with the video quality but some might discredit the video quality as a result of this. There are some gags in the film that are overly dependent on CG (computer graphics) instead of traditional make-up special effects like Raimi would have used back in his “Evil Dead” days. Some of these scenes with the gags mentioned come off a bit “hooky” to be honest and more-so than even the old “Evil Dead” films even did. You cannot say the video quality here sucks or isn’t superb just because of minor little visual flaws that this film itself holds. There are no signs of compression flaws as well as no signs of any use of filters such as DNR (digital noise reduction) or EE (edge enhancement) here. This transfer to Hi-Def is very impressive, despite extremely scary to look at times, it earns a very respectable “4.5 Star Rating” for overall video quality. Fans of the “Evil Dead” films will love some of the camera angles and shots found here, they totally bring those films back to memory when you see it used here.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio. Wow, I don’t know how to start this off. Considering the film was rated PG-13 in it’s theatrical run but here comes in an UNRATED version I think I may be safe using this language to describe this DTS-HD 5.1 MA mix. “Drag Me to Hell” on Blu-ray Disc is the utter definition of a “mindfuck”. It’s balls to walls surround sound used perfectly along with edge of your seat horror to put you even further on the edge of your seat and likely flat out into the floor. The dialogue is delivered perfect from the very start of the film up to the film’s end and never requires any volume adjustments whatsoever. The amount of rear channel and bass presence found here is absolutely astonishing and is definitely “demo material” now for me. There are a lot of specific scenes in the film that I swear you could just put the film on from that point with the display off and the person experiencing the sound in 5.1 would be absolutely and utterly terrified, having seen or not seen the film. It’s really amazing to hear how this worked out perfectly. I’d also like to add that the film’s wonderful creepy original music done by Christopher Young sounds great and helps even further to deliver an excellent audio presentation. Fans of the film who saw it theatrically will be very pleased to know it’s “up to par” here and folks who are watching it for the first time have a really crazy ride ahead of them in terms of sound. This earns a perfect “5 Star Rating” for overall audio quality and major kudos to Universal on a job extremely well done!
Bonus Materials are presented in High Definition (HD) video quality with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound.
- BD-Live is included on this release which requires the user to be on a “Profile 2.0” capable Blu-ray Disc Player to access online content from the studio, in this case Universal and share “My Scenes” (bookmarks) with friends online.
- “Production Video Diaries” (35:08) gives you some “behind-the-scenes scares, secrets and surprises” from stars Alison Lohman and Justin Long. This is really the only really supplemental material found on this release. It does contain some behind-the-scenes action and it even contains some occasional interviews with co-writer/director Sam Raimi — just not as much as I’d like for it to. It is definitely worth the watch if you enjoyed the film but it will definitely leave you longing for more — much like the film itself.
- Digital Copy of the UNRATED version of the film “Drag Me to Hell” is included on a DVD-ROM with this release which is compatible with both PC & Mac, Windows Media and iTunes. This copy lasts exactly 1 year after street date, so it will expire on October 13th, 2010. Just giving you the fine print there.
- D-Box motion code is included for those with the proper equipment to decode this.
Overall, the bonus materials are honestly disappointing and in all ways the weakest section of this Blu-ray Disc release. 30 minutes of “webisode” type behind-the-scenes content with the actors Alison Lohman and Justin Long is just not enough to carry the supplemental materials here. It’s a shame we don’t get an audio commentary from director Sam Raimi and it’s a shame we don’t get a real “making of” style featurette of sorts. I will say though on the positive side of things, it is nice that they chose to include a Digital Copy of the UNRATED version of the film and it’s also nice to see D-Box motion code included — even though I don’t personally own the equipment to actually make use of it.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.