SXSW FILM FESTIVAL
SXSW: Early Reaction to Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell
by Kevin Powers
March 16, 2009
I think we all need to have a moment of silence and welcome back the Sam Raimi of old. Lump the man in with Cher and Madonna, because Raimi has returned to his particular recipe for horror, shaped during his days of Army of Darkness and Evil Dead, with a vigor that deserves an applause. And that's just what he got at the historic Paramount theater in Austin during the first ever public screening of Drag Me to Hell last night as part of SXSW. I will confidently say that it's an experience unlike few other and vintage Raimi through-and-through. The camp, the scares, the art, the gross-outs - it's all there, and then some.
For a showing that started past midnight, you're obviously going to attract some hardcore fans. But Raimi fanboy or not – I, for one, can't really count myself in that group – the thunder of deserving applause and cheering in that theater likely put the antique molding in jeopardy. Particularly during an early parking garage confrontation between Christine (Alison Lohman) and the gypsy Ganush (Lorna Raver). When Christine yells out, "Ha... I beat you bitch!", I nearly lost it. Since it's so early in the process and the print we saw was actually described as a "work in progress" I can't really go into too many details.
I recall reading at some point that a bat serves as a positive omen. How creepy and fitting that a few bats took flight inside the theater during the film. I doubt Raimi had anything to do with that as bats are common in Texas, but it was a cool complement to an already uniquely entertaining experience. Let me just say, old school Sam Raimi fans really don't know what they're in for! Universal will be bringing Drag Me to Hell to theaters everywhere on May 29th this summer. We also put up the official trailer just last week. And if you didn't already read it, we ran another positive review of Raimi's Drag Me to Hell in January as well.