In 1969 in Pasadena, California, a couple seeks the aid of the medium Shaun San Dena (Flor de Maria Chahua) saying their son (Shiloh Selassie) has been hearing evil spirits’ voices after stealing a silver necklace from gypsies. San Dena aids the family by carrying out a seance, but they are attacked by an unseen force that pulls the boy into hell. The medium says she will encounter the force again one day.
In today’s Los Angeles, bank loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) hopes to be promoted to assistant manager over her co-worker Stu Rubin (Reggie Lee). Her boss, Jim Jacks (David Paymer), advises her to demonstrate that she can make tough decisions to get a promotion.
Christine is visited by an elderly woman, Sylvia Ganush (Lorna Raver), who asks for an extension on her mortgage payment. Christine, though empathetic with the old woman’s crisis, decides to deny Ganush an extension to prove herself to her boss.
Ganush begs Christine not to repossess her house and kneels in front of her, but Christine gets scared from the woman’s bizarre pleading as she is helping her to stand up and calls the security, who take Ganush away while Ganush blames Christine for shaming her. Jim compliments Christine on how she handled the situation.
When the working day is over and Christine goes to the bank parking garage to head home, Ganush attacks Christine in her car, rips a button off Christine’s coat and uses it to place a curse on her as revenge. Later, Christine and her boyfriend Clay Dalton (Justin Long) meet the fortune teller Rham Jas (Dileep Rao), who tells Christine that she is being haunted by a spirit. At her home, Christine is attacked by the spirit and has nightmares about Ganush.
Drag Me to Hell is a basic morality tale. The whole thing feels like a polished episode of Tales from the Crypt. The story follows Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), a young woman who is looking to move up the corporate ladder at the bank where she’s employed. Her boss tells her that she must learn to make the hard decisions if she wants a promotion and the first time she attempts this she forecloses the house of a disgusting, old, gypsy woman (Lorna Raver).
If classic horror has taught us anything it’s that you don’t ever mess with gypsies (or carnie folk). The dilapidated crone waits for Christine in the parking garage (in Raimi’s beat up Oldsmobile!) and applies the ‘Curse of Lamia’. The Lamia is a devil goat that loves the taste of souls. It takes three days to fully manifest and then the demon comes looking for its meal which gets dragged back to Hell for consumption.
Director: Sam Raimi
Year of Release: 2009
Character to watch: Alison Lohman as Christine Brown.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?