"So much happens to her," director Sam Raimi told the L.A. Times of his lead actress Alison Lohman. "She has pumps placed inside her body to spew blood, inside her nostril, when she's got this big bloody nose scene. I have dummies that were made with extra wide jaw openings… to suckle her face with slime oozing out of it. And then I had to bury her in about 800 pounds of mud. And then we had puppets that were designed just to projectile-vomit maggots inside her mouth… It was the most fun I've had in 20 years directing pictures."
The best thing about Drag Me To Hell is that Sam’s enthusiasm for his work is right there on the screen. Oh sure, it never quite reaches the heights of inspired lunacy that Raimi’s earlier Evil Dead movies do, but there’s still enough cartoonish craziness going on to make Drag Me To Hell one of the more fun horror flicks of recent years. The tooth and nail slugfest between Lohman’s character and the old Gypsy which takes place inside a locked car is worth the price of admission alone. And when you throw in the completely insane séance sequence, of which I’ll spoil nothing, you’ve got a full evening of shrieks and giggles to look forward to.
Plus, there’s more going on than just some icky fun. As Raimi explained to the Times, the story is a morality tale in which the Lohman character, despite being a likable good person, makes a sinful choice in a moment of weakness and suffers mightily for it. But he didn’t want the film to be about just watching her get punished. “We wanted the audience to identify with her and make this choice with her and sin with her in throwing that old woman out. So once they had made that greedy, sinful choice with her, whether they knew it or not, every moment that this demon from Hell, which was sicced on her as punishment, was coming for her, they would have been guilty of that sin too, and it would be coming for them also.”
What Christine goes through as a result of her transgression may seem excessive, but as this week’s gospel reminds us, there really are serious repercussions when we turn our backs on the poor and downtrodden, the ones Jesus names as blessed. As the Rev. Clement D. Thibodeau points out, “Unlike Matthew for whom the Beatitudes contain only blessings, in Luke, there are curses also for those who do not do the works that lead to blessings!… Blessedness here [meaning] becoming intimately united to God.” So when Jesus says “woe to you”, He’s talking about a lot worse fate than a mere mouthful of maggots. He’s talking about eternal separation from God. And though we may not reach that state as gruesomely as Christine, we can share it just the same by following her example.