main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Film: Drag Me to Hell

Drag Me To Hell (2009) is Sam Raimi's long-awaited return to the horror genre. The movie stars Alison Lohman as Christine Brown, a loan officer who forecloses on an old Gypsy woman's home for the sake of a promotion. Big mistake...

Features a lot of Sam Raimi's signature styles. Chances are, if you like the Evil Dead series, you'll like this film (or you'll hate it because it has actual funding.)

This film provides examples of:

  • Airplane of Love: Exaggerated and enforced in the second-to-final shot. Clay watches the train and its tracks pass over Christine - whom he will neither see nor love again - as Hell drags her down.
  • Anvil on Head
  • And I Must Scream: Twice.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Played straight for nearly the entire film, but diabolically subverted at the end.
  • Be Yourself: The first Aesop presented in the film, and the first one broken by Christine.
  • Bloody Hilarious: The nosebleed scene. "Did I get any in my mouth?"
  • Break the Cutie: Which eventually leads to killing the cutie.
  • Camp: It's Sam Raimi. The 'scary' scenes had as much chance of making you either scream, puke, or laugh.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Christine, an atypically nice horror heroine is cursed just because she did one mean thing in her life. What she did wasn't that mean. She was just doing her job.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: When the Lamia attacks, Christine attempts to call Clay. Since this is a supernatural demon we're talking about, it doesn't work; the Lamia drains the battery power in 5 seconds, then has an image of Mrs. Ganush jumping at Christine appear on the screen.
  • Cat Scare: While Clay drives Christine home, Mrs. Ganush apparently attacks the car on the driver's side . . . except it isn't Mrs. Ganush, but an old man cursing her with spite reminiscent of the old lady . . . wait a second, where's the envelope? This Cat Scare allows Christine to make her fatal mistake.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The coin.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Averted.
  • Cool Car: Sam Raimi includes his 1973 Oldsmobile in all his movies. Here it is the Gypsy woman's.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Poor Christine.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Indeed.
  • Dangerous Key Fumble: Christine does this in the car.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Gender-flipped. Clay's mother doesn't approve of Christine due to her being of a different class.
  • Daylight Horror: Painfully and perfectly, it's played straight during the final scene.
  • Deadly Fireworks Display: The ending.
  • Deer in the Headlights: While Christine sits on the train tracks.
  • Demonic Possession: When the Lamia possesses the old woman, the goat, and the young guy.
  • Designated Victim: Sam Raimi has explicitly stated in an interview that Sylvia was the victim of the story. While it most certainly doesn't appear that way at first, closer watching suggests that it wasn't the old woman who attacked Christine, while Christine's behaviour becomes more typical of a horror protagonist as the movie progresses to avoid her fate.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: Cleanly, thoroughly, and humanely fleshed out for the entire film, and the reason the movie is so difficult to watch. Christine attempts nearly every practical and physical method within her reach to escape hell and fails because of a mishandled Jump Scare.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: A theme of the movie, and part of the horror; you don't have to do much wrong for something awful to happen to you.
    • Foreclose my house after repeated warnings? Fail to convince your supervisor to give me another chance? Force me to move in with my loving daughter? I'll condemn you to hell...
    • The poor 10 year old kid who was condemned to hell for just stealing a gypsy necklace, which was quickly returned to them by the kid's parents, no less (most likely because they knew the possesser of the the necklace would burn in hell).
    • Jerkass Stu almost gets cursed to hell for all eternity by Christine.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Christine thinks she's given the button to Mrs. Ganush and that the curse has been passed, but finds out that she accidentally gave her the coin instead. Cue her getting dragged to hell.
  • Downer Ending: Despite all attempts to cancel out the curse and save herself from eternal damnation, Christine ends up being pulled down into the burning flames of Hell all the same.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: Look at the name of the movie.
  • Easy Road to Hell: Apparently, being sent to hell is so easy that a single curse can do it regardless of how good you've lived your life or what you've done.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: When the Jerkass Stu thinks Christy's found him out about taking her freelance contract, his biggest concern is his dad finding out. Cue the Asian parents jokes.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The movie is called Drag Me to Hell. Guess what the curse does?
  • Eye Scream: Staple to the eye! Fork to the eye! Also the anvil scene.
  • Facial Horror: As she's being dragged to hell, the flesh on Christine's face starts melting off.
  • Fauxtivational Poster: The Hang in There cat poster in Christine's bedroom.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Cursed to be dragged into hell and told she deserves it just because she wouldn't give a third extension.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: According to the ending and Rham Jas's book, this is what Hell looks like, and Christine ends up bring dragged there. Her skin starts to melt off as a result.
  • Fortune Teller: Rham Jas.
  • The Fun in Funeral: Mrs. Ganush's funeral has a festive atmosphere that would probably be more welcome at a birthday party.
  • Gypsy Curse
  • Hell: It's where the curse drags you.
  • Heroic BSOD: Christine after she forces herself to slaughter her kitten.
  • High-Pressure Blood: A high pressure nosebleed.
  • Hope Spot: An absolutely merciless one. It even lampshades the page quote.
  • If You Taunt Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Why did you laugh at her, Christine?
  • Infant Immortality: Averted in the prologue.
  • Inter-Class Romance: Christine is from humbler roots than wealthy Clay, and the whole plot is caused in part because she wants a promotion to measure up to his family.
  • Jerkass: Stu, and arguably Clay's mother.
  • Large Ham: The Lamia absolutely devours the scenery when it's summoned at the seance.
  • Morally Bankrupt Banker: Averted with Christine, played straight with her competitor.
  • Nice Guy: Clay.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: Most of the glimpses of the Lamia are its shadow and split-second shots of its face.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Well, more like Boyfriend's Obnoxious Mother.
  • Oh, Crap: When Christine realizes that she used the wrong envelope.
  • Ontological Inertia: The curse set upon Christine by the old woman is still in effect even after the old woman dies.
  • Orifice Invasion: The fly that ends up going into one of Christine's nostrils while she is sleeping, audily buzzes around inside her nasal cavity for several seconds, then crawls out her other nostril. And she doesn't wake up!
  • Redemption in the Rain: When Christine finally emerges from the gypsy woman's grave in the rain and it montages into her taking a shower. Subverted in that it's not over just yet.
  • Romani
  • Rule of Funny: The only explanation for why Christine has an anvil hanging on a thin rope in her garden shed.
  • Rule of Three:
    • Ganush pulling out Christine's hair. Verges on Running Gag.
    • There's also the fact that the Lamia torments its victims for three days before actually coming to drag them to Hell.
  • Running Gag: Literally: a gag. If something gross and scary turns up on screen, rest assured it's going to end up in Christine's mouth. Thank god she never finds a flasher.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: So off, it must be intentional. Lamiae are Greek, female, (usually) half-serpent demons that either eat children or young men in the vein of succubi. The Lamia in the movie is a goat (the fortune-teller used an illustration of Baphomet while explaining everything to Christine). They must've been keeping the real Lamia in mind, because during its first visit to Christine its silhouette is first a shapely woman, which then changes into a goat.
  • Scare Chord: Loads of it.
  • Secret Test of Character: And she couldn't have picked a worse one to fail.
  • Shaky P.O.V. Cam
  • Shoot the Dog: More like stab the kitten.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: See Downer Ending.
  • Shout-Out: Two big ones.
    • Evil Dead:
      • When the Lamia possesses people, it might as well be a Deadite. It even makes a call back to the classic line "I'll swallow your soul"
      • A further Evil Dead shout-out occurs in Clay's description of the cottage he plans to take Christine to for the weekend - "Lots of trees, private..."
      • The Anvil on Head: Eye Scream bit is a direct callback to Evil Dead II, which has almost the exact same effect in different circumstances.
      • Evil Dead II has a blood fountain in the basement, Army of Darkness has one in the pit, this has one in Christine's office.
      • The cat scene is a direct visual callback to "YOU LOVED HER!" from the original.
      • When Christine emerges from the water in Sylvia's grave, she comes out with her right arm stretched out. This is a direct reference to the poster of the original The Evil Dead.
    • Night of the Demon/Curse Of The Demon: Sam Raimi knew they were doing a retread of this classic British horror movie, right down to the manner of the Lamia's manifestations and the train station ending. Though, to be fair, that film didn't have a Downer Ending. If it weren't for the change of characters and location, it might as well have been a Remake.
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!!: "Choke on it, bitch!"
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: This is one possible interpretation of the film.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The trailers feature a part of the last scene of the film. It may not necessarily be seen as a major spoiler. Many viewers may see it as snippet from a final showdown or something, as opposed to the last thing that happens. it's only when the climax occurs with that scene not yet happening that you realize that Christine is fucked.
  • Villain Protagonist: According to Word of God.
  • Voice of the Legion: The Lamia speaks like this whenever it possesses someone.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Christine actually gets two of these in the film. The first is after the ritual where it seems they successfully got the Lamia off her back. Only to be told they just banished it away for the moment and the curse is still in effect. If that wasn't bad enough, the only one who could stop it just died using up all her energy. So she's given the button in an envelope and told to give it away to another poor sap to save herself. After a few considerations Christine actually makes a surprisingly smart choice and tries to give it to Ganush, despite the fact she recently died. After much struggle, it seems she finally pulled it off and everything all peachy. Good things are happening to her and her BF and she are set for a romantic getaway. However while waiting on the train platform said BF pulls out the button, it having gotten mixed up during a near car accident. And well... the rest is history.

Star TrekFilm Brain ListTerminator
DostanaFilms of 2005 - 2009 Dragonball Evolution
Dracula (1979)Creator/UniversalDuel
Dracula 2000Horror FilmsDread

alternative title(s): Drag Me To Hell
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy