Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 22
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

OH CHRISTINE, I’M DOWN ON MY KNEES AND I’M BEGGING YOU, PLEASE: Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver, right), a senior citizen on a fixed income, has been denied a third extension on her overdue mortgage payment by her loan officer Christine Brown (Alison Lohman), thereby causing the bank to foreclose on her house. In desperation, Mrs. Ganush falls to her knees to beg for mercy, and when she is refused she places a horrible curse on Christine.

Drag Me to Hell: Heartless Banker Plagued by Customer’s Curse in Horror Film

Kam Williams

Lately, everything seems to be coming up roses for Christine Brown (Alison Lohman). The ambitious banker is one of two employees who are competing for a big promotion to assistant manager; and her boyfriend (Justin Long), who adores her, is secretly planning to pop the question.

However, her life starts to become a nightmare the day a disheveled senior citizen, on a fixed income, enters the branch office to ask for a third extension for overdue payments on her mortgage. While waiting for the answer to her request, Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver), who is blind in one eye, absent mindedly takes out her false teeth and places them on Christine’s desk.

That thoughtless behavior makes it easier for Christine to decide to foreclose on the house, especially because she wants to impress on her eavesdropping boss, Mr. Jacks (David Paymer), that she can be tough when it’s necessary. Out of desperation, Mrs. Ganush swallows her pride and gets down on her knees to beg Christine to change her mind. In answer to her plea, Christine calls security to forcibly escort Mrs. Ganush out of the building. The humiliated woman waits in the bank’s parking lot for Christine. When she appears, Mrs. Ganush delivers a chilling warning to her: “Soon, it will be you who comes begging to me!” Truer words were never spoken.

Unfortunately, given the record number of subprime mortgages in default in today’s economy, a horror film has probably never had a more timely theme. This critic suspects that some audience members might be rooting for the ghoulish Mrs. Ganush as she proceeds to make good on her threat.

Regardless of whether the premise was by coincidence or design, Drag Me to Hell is one of the best horror movies released in recent years, and it is right up there with the two which made this critic’s Annual Top Ten Best Movies List in past years: What Lies Beneath (2000) and Dawn of the Dead (2004). Director/co-writer Sam Raimi, of Spider-Man superhero fame, has also proven himself to be a master of suspense by crafting a spine-tingling adventure guaranteed to elicit blood-curdling screams and make you jump out of your seat when you least expect it.

Following Hitchcock’s style, he accomplishes this without resorting to the gore that we usually see splattered across the screen in most of the horror genre’s recent films. Don’t be deceived by Drag Me to Hell’s PG-13 rating. This shock film is not for the faint of heart, and may cause some youngsters to be even more afraid of vindictive old ladies than they are of the dark.

Excellent (4 stars). Rated PG-13 for terror, violence, disturbing images, and profanity. Running time: 99 minutes. Studio: Universal Pictures.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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