What’s New? (Drag Me to Hell, Martyrs, Burrowers)

As if proof were needed, Drag Me To Hell reaffirms Sam Raimi‘s mastery of all that is evil and dead. Especially the ooey gooey bits. Wormy maggot puke. Geriatric denture slobber. Projectile nosebleeds. Lorna Raver outshines Jason, Michael AND Freddy as a boogeygranny with an evil eye and a can-do attitude. Alison Lohman is the accursed eye candy who won’t go down to H-E-double hockey sticks without a fight. ("Here kitty, kitty.") Lots of soundtrack scares to be sure, however what’s on the screen is fiercely frightful fun too. Loved, loved, loved the ending. At last the curse of contemporary horror is lifted with this crescendo! There’s no Bruce Campbell cameo, but the Delta 88’s present, naturally.

While "torture porn" is an overused term, Martyrs more than earns the tag and must surely be the inevitable outcome of depraved and diminishing returns. It has style and Hostel-esque nihilism but frankly, the abuses the audience and the female leads are asked to endure simply aren’t justified by the flick as a whole. Not by a tossed-off, religious zealotry ending presumably meant to provide some context to the carnage. Where I Spit on Your Grave answered its horrors with ruthless revenge shared by the victim and the audience, Martyrs inexcusably wallows in sick, senseless sadism masquerading as a brave masterstroke of hardcore horror.

On the surface, The Burrowers has promise as a spurs ‘n’ six-guns throwback blended with a subterranean creature feature. Below said surface, however, it’s just a downright bore. Mostly due to the weird, chomp-now-eat-later modus operandi of the "burrowers" themselves. What little is eventually seen of them is hardly inspired critter craftsmanship as well. Gives The Mole People a whole new street cred.

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