Jon De Vos – Drag me to the theater
Grand County, Colorado
I understand that horror movies aren’t for everyone, what with all the slashers and dashers, gremlins and demons, monsters and chain saws, vampires and vixens. But don’t overlook zombies, fiends, insane truckers, crazy farmhands, stalking topiaries, werewolves, and the biggest horror of all, overpriced popcorn. That’s just monstrous.
If you’re only going see two horror movies in your life, let me recommend that the first one be Oxide Pang Chung’s, 2007 “Τηε Μεσσενγερσ,” where Mr. Oxide has assembled every horror movie cliche ever filmed. “Τηε Μεσσενγερσ© has it all, featuring double-dealing devils, foul-tempered leprechauns, stalking topiaries, fangs, farmhands, frenzied bird attacks, psychotics after children, demonic children after psychotics, nut jobs with axes, and finally, the old standby, monsters under the bed.
In “Τηε Μεσσενγερσ,” this guy’s daughter had a car wreck. A clear-thinking dad would ground the brat forever but nope, no story in that. This guy decides to buy a farm, the horror, the horror. But that’s not the scary part. That comes when Oxide (love the name) gives you long camera shots showing that the farm consists of a tiny plot of sunflowers. So the movie starts with a great premise: This guy’s gone way out on a limb to patch up the remnants of his fractured family. He wraps their fortune, hopes and dreams, although very bad dreams, into a couple of acres of sunflowers because, as he says, “it’s something I know.” Apparently he also knows a thing or two about government farm subsidies, because his entire crop wouldn’t feed the squirrels in my backyard for a week.
In the end, Oxide chickens out and throws in a Colonel Mustard ending: the Demented Farmhand did it in the Stable with a Pitchfork. He just wanders in out of a flimsy subplot and axes up all the second tier actors. The ghouls and evil spirits teeming throughout the house had nothing to do with the foul murders, they were Red Herrings to contemplate while you wait for the sequel. Nobody could have seen it coming.
This movie made me fearful, frightened that we’d emptied the barrel of things that go bump in the night. Take all the horror cliches, shake them up, shake them down, shake them all around and behold, we have “Grudge XXVI” or “Final Final Final Final Final Final Destination.” How many ingredients are there in a horror movie? An evil house, evil spouse, evil mouse, and so forth, until we come up the end product of a hundred years of horror cinema in “The Messengers.”
But it’s not so. Remember I said you had to see two and the second one is Director Sam Ramies’ new release, “Drag Me to Hell.” It’s simply genius that runs totally contrary to the sadistic, slasher porn of “Saw” and “Chainsaw.” The only blood spilled in the whole movie is a nosebleed from the comely but cursed noses of Alison Lehman. Well, actually, blood spews out like a fire hose all over her Dilbert-type boss in one of the funnier scenes. Scares abound but the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously.
OK, seeing “The Messenger” is a bad idea. It’s a dumb movie. If you’re only going to see two horror movies in your life, see “Drag Me To Hell” twice.
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