Christine (Alison Lohman) is a loan officer trying to move up in the world. She’s neck-and-neck for a promotion with her coworker Stu (Reggie Lee), who fights dirty. So when old Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver) comes asking for an extension on her house payment, Christine turns her away. Unfortunately, the woman places a Gypsy curse on her: in three days a lamia (demon-y thing) will come, as the title suggests, drag her to hell. Christine and her boyfriend Clay (Justin Long) are thus left scrambling for a way out; can spiritualist Rham (Dileep Rao) or medium Shaun (Adriana Barraza) save her in time?
Upon seeing this movie, my sister Leslie groaned, “I knew Sam Raimi couldn’t make a serious horror movie.” Is she right? Perhaps. While it does have moments of creepiness (I myself find the concept of being cursed for eternity a little spooky), there are far more scenes that are meant to be funny—at least I hope they are. Like when Mrs. Ganush surprises Christine in her barn; Christine drops an anvil on top of her head, making her eyes pop out like a wolf in a Tex Avery cartoon. Or my favorite, when Shaun is attempting an exorcism; the lamia possesses a goat (the plan was to kill it while in the goat body), which bleats, “Christine! You black-hearted whoo-oo-re!”
There are plenty of disgusting moments. The filmmakers go to great pains to make Mrs. Ganush gross, from her hag-like appearance to her habit of hacking up yellow goo. I can definitely say there are parts of it that are morbid, like when a child is dragged to hell, or when Christine kills her kitten in hopes of pleasing the lamia. However, I think the talking goat pretty much ruins it for seriousness. And also, most imagery from the movie makes Lohman look either like she’s getting a vigorous Herbal Essences shampooing:
or she’s inappropriately happy:
But overall the acting is decent, the special effects are mostly good, and the ending, though somewhat predictable, is still pretty neat.
I have a soft spot for the movie, maybe because Mrs. Ganush’s toothless attempt to bite Christine’s chin reminds me of my baby daughter, or having once been told I resemble Alison Lohman, I fondly think of her as my skinny twin (term copyrighted by my sister Suzy, whose skinny twin is Scarlett Johansson). I find I appreciate it more over repeated viewings. Sam Raimi fans, I have to warn you up front that Lucy Lawless, Ted Raimi, and Bruce Campbell are nowhere in sight. But give it a look if there’s nothing else on.