I love Sam Raimi. Whether directly or indirectly, he has brought so much joy into my geeky little world, be it in the form of horror or thriller or fantasy or radioactive spider. And Xena. Let’s not forget Xena. However, I love him most when he’s in his horror mode. Especially when said horror mode brings about wonder and grossness in the form of his most recent submission to the genre, 2009’s Drag Me to Hell.
The plot is pretty straight-forward: Loan officer Christine Brown refuses to grant elderly Mrs. Ganush a loan extension, thus paving the way for her to be evicted from her home, which is pretty horrific in a real-world, “you’re a bit of a douche” kind of way. What Brown doesn’t realize is that the woman she’s just evicted is not going to take this lightly. She’s also highly skilled at cursing, and not in the “drunken sailor” kind of way.
Hilarity? Oh, it doth ensue.
Mrs. Ganush is one of the most terrifyingly sympathetic characters to ever spring from the fertile depths of a mind as wonderfully warped as Raimi’s. She’s just a harmless old lady when we meet her, with her bad eye and questionable hygiene. But what transpires is a work of filthy, funky, frightening art. Raimi masterfully twists and turns the roles of protagonist and antagonist in unsettling yet ultimately fantastic ways, leaving us rooting for…well, maybe not even rooting for anyone…but loving the battle that takes place along the way. This movie reminded me how great he is at horror, and how I wish he’d do it more often.
Beyond Raimi’s influence is the miraculous casting of Lorna Raver as Mrs. Ganush. I love actresses who allow themselves to let go of all pretense and fully immerse themselves into a role, and, boy howdy, does she do just that. Raver will make sure that you do not forget Mrs. Ganush or her warped game of “Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?” for a very long time.
I really don’t want to say anything else about Mrs. Ganush, because I really, desperately want you all to watch this movie. It’s disgusting as only a Sam Raimi horror movie can be, with body fluids galore…and a gumming. I just…there’s a gumming. And it’s So. Very. Awful.
Seriously, watch this. And brush your teeth. And bathe. And don’t take buttons from strangers. And don’t evict little old ladies from their homes. Those little old ladies will drag you down…