There are seemingly two ways to portray a gypsy in horror films. There’s the dignified mystic like Maleva in THE WOLF MAN (1941) or the hammy, insane depictions like in THINNER (1996) where the old man’s face was falling off.
As a Hungarian Gypsy, I’m always interested to see the way that type of character will be shown. DRAG ME TO HELL (2009) definitely didn’t bother with any flattery or compliments for the culture, but they made up for it with absolute over-the-top absurdity. It’s quite hilarious.
The gypsy, Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver) is in jeopardy of losing her home. She had surgery on her eye and lost her job. Since then, she’s missed the payments on the house she resided in for the past 30 years. Ganush appears old, frail and pale. She takes out her false teeth in public, hacks up phlegm everywhere. It’s not a pretty picture.
The main chick Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) works at a bank. She wants a promotion but her boss Mr. Jacks (David Paymer) is considering her co-worker Stu (Reggie Lee) because it’s a boys’ club. Stu gives Jacks sports tickets. Stu assumes he already has the position and orders Christine to get him a sandwich even though they’re on the same level. This irritates the hell out of her, but she still gets the men their food.
Christine is told that she needs to be better at making tough decisions if she wants to get the job over Stu, so she denies Ganush an extension on her mortgage. Ganush pleads and begs, but Christine’s a bitch! I worked at a bank call centre from 2006-2010. My bosses always grilled me for reversing too many overdraft fees. I was called in once by my manager’s manger for a stern meeting. I told them exactly what Christine should have told Jacks, “I will not let a 3-piece suit making 6 figures tell me that I can’t return money back to someone struggling because you want the bank to collect a few extra Benjamins. NOT. GONNA. HAPPEN.” That said, I wasn’t interested in selling my soul to move up in a company that I had no respect for. Selfish wench Christine, however is driven by the prospect of furthering her career.
Ganush begs for help and when that doesn’t work, the old lady swears revenge. She’s escorted out by security, but waits until the bitch clocks out. The gypsy waits in the parking garage and then attacks. The two tussle in Christine’s car and Ganush steals a coat button and then curses her.
Christine’s boyfriend Clay (Justin Long) shows up to help calm his shaken girlfriend. I hate Clay. I actually really dig Justin Long, but this character made me happy that the Creeper stole his eyes in JEEPERS CREEPERS (2001).
Christine drags Clay into a psychic because she is desperate for insight into what just transpired. Clay’s an unbeliever and a real dick about it. I don’t mind skepticism, but Clay is a jagoff. He rolls his eyes and attempts to sound like an intellectual. Fuck that pretentious windbag.
Soon, Christine finds out that this crazy ass demon named Lamia is after her. She tries to make amends to Ganush and even is willing to get her house back, but sadly the old gypsy died. Christine is stuck with the consequences of her actions.
At this point in the film, I can’t stand Christine. She brought all this jazz on herself and deserves everything coming at her. I honestly didn’t think I could dislike the skank any more, but then she does the unthinkable.
She is told she has to sacrifice an animal to Lamia if she wants any chance of being rid of the curse. At first, she protests and says how much she loves animals and donates her time to a shelter. When I heard that I was like, “Okay, so maybe this chick isn’t a total waste of space” but I was wrong. She has no principles. All she cares about is self-preservation. She doesn’t give a fuck about animals! She has this beautiful tiny kitty Clay gave her. Gifting her the meow machine was the only cool move that dick ever made. I love that cat. It’s so trustworthy and cute. All it deserves is a bunch of cuddles, toys, treats and a whole lotta love.
Sadly, this poor kitty doesn’t get any of that! This fucking bitch Christine kills her cat! She stabs it to death and then buries it in the garden. I cannot describe how much I hate her! Now, I didn’t appreciate the way she treated Ganush or how power-hungry the dame was, but I could’ve forgiven that. She was in an environment of sexist tools acting like dude-bros. She wanted to make a stand by showing she could play with the big boys. Fine! Whatever! I could maybe look beyond that, but she lost any shred of sympathy the moment she killed that kitten. Now, I want to watch the twat die. Bring on Lamia!
Say what you will about that prick Stu, he probably never killed a kitten!
I’m happy to report her sacrifice didn’t work. She enlists a bunch of help and even goes to a séance with a goat sacrifice, but that fails too.
She has one more shot of survival when she gets her stolen button back and is told she has to gift it to someone else to transfer the curse. I won’t spoil whether it works or not.
Overall, this movie is watchable. It’s funny, silly and feels like a 90s flick far more than something made in 2009. Most of the characters are caricatures, but it oddly works for what this movie is. It isn’t really scary. There are far more gross-out moments than anything remotely freaky. I haven’t been a fan of disgusting things since I collected GARBAGE PAIL KIDS cards as a child, so that stuff didn’t strike any chords with me.
The one major issue is that there really isn’t anyone to root for, other than the cat; and we all know how that turned out. Everyone is kind of an asshole. I understood Ganush’s plight, but she was a bit out of line in the beginning. She went too far with her attacks.
Christine is a horrible, selfish cat-killer. Clay is an annoying know-it-all. Stu is a lying dick and Jacks is a money-hungry suit with no soul.
Still, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t find some enjoyment in it. I wouldn’t watch it again, but for a single-viewing, it’s decent.
Overall Rating: 5/10