Disney’s blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean franchise sails into uncharted waters this week with the fourth chapter of the theme park ride-inspired saga, On Stranger Tides. Armed with a new director (Rob Marshall, replacing Gore Verbinski) and a revamped cast (Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley out, Penelope Cruz and Ian McShane in), it hopes to right a ship that even series stalwarts, including star Johnny Depp, admitted went a bit off course with the commercially successful but critically savaged previous installment, At World’s End.
Our correspondent, Sasha Perl-Raver, recently caught up with the cast and crew of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides to find out what moviegoers can expect from the much-anticipated fourquel, which opens everywhere (literally – we’re talking 4000+ screens) on Friday, May 20, 2011.
Penelope Cruz Interview:
Jerry Bruckheimer Interview:
Geoffrey Rush Interview:
Ian McShane Interview:
Sam Claflin and Astrid Berges-Frisbey Interview:
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Christine has a doting boyfriend a good job and much promise until she refuses to extend the overdue home loan of Mrs. Ganush a strange one-eyed Gypsy woman who literally begs to keep her residence of 30 years. The ambitious Christine doesn’t budge and the woman unleashes the horrendous curse of the Lamia on the unsuspecting banker turning her life into hell on Earth. When she goes to a psychic to reverse the curse her entire existence is turned upside down becoming a living nightmare with no light at the end of a very dark tunnel.
WHO’S IN IT?
As Christine Alison Lohman gets to chew the scenery like there’s no tomorrow. Living an actor’s dream Lohman gets under the skin of this wickedly cursed girl and gives it her all in one harrowing sequence after another. Justin Long has the standard thankless role of her understanding but perplexed and confused boyfriend. Playing it straight he basically stands on the sidelines watching his girlfriend go slowly mad. As Christine’s boss David Paymer is all business while Dileep Rao as the all-knowing seer Christine turns to in her most dire time of need is quite effective in a handful of scenes. Stealing the show lock stock and barrel though is unquestionably the veteran TV character actress Lorna Raver who is aptly named Mrs. Ganush she is stark-raving mad. The character is blissfully over-the-top (and then some) and Raver under mounds of scary-as-hell makeup hits it out of the park.
Returning to his celebrated roots in horror Spider-Man director Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead) is clearly in his comfort zone as he delivers one of the best examples of the genre seen in many years. Although some CGI trickery and puppetry is employed to full effect Raimi manages to get his best jolts with expert use of camera angles creeping shadows blowing wind strong visual flourishes amped up sound effects and a brilliantly vivid musical score from Christopher Young. Raimi shows today’s purveyors of “torture porn” you don’t need graphic violence to scare the crap out of an audience — just talent. Hitchcock would have approved.
The PG-13 rating probably forced Raimi’s hand in turning on the juice and REALLY dragging us through hell in a couple of scenes so we’re hoping there’s an uncut DVD special edition coming along eventually.
There are many to choose from including a classic dinner scene with the boyfriend’s parents but for pure intensity the initial bank and parking garage encounter between Lohman and Raver has lots of teeth (so to speak) and is still sending chills down our spine. Also the creepy use of a "nosey" fly pays dividends through the entire film for the ultimate audience freakout.
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
Drag yourself to a multiplex. A fright flick that is this much fun deserves to be seen in a packed theater.
Drag Me to Hell, the long-awaited return to horror by Spider-Man director Sam Raimi, is garnering scores of positive reviews — a noteworthy occurrence for a genre not exactly known in recent years for producing critic-pleasers. Perhaps even more remarkable is that Raimi’s terrifying tale, about a young woman (played by Alison Lohman) who is placed under a curse by a particularly nasty old lady, is rated PG-13. Finally, a trip to hell the whole family can enjoy!
In anticipation of Drag Me to Hell’s Friday release, we enlisted horror expert Staci Layne Wilson to prepare a quiz worthy of the most hard-core scary movie aficionados. Consider yourself an expert on all things horror? Then take a stab at our Ultimate Horror Movie Quiz.
Drag Me to Hell opens Friday, May 29, 2009.
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Sam Raimi returns to his roots this summer with his new horror flick Drag Me to Hell. The scare-fest, opening May 29, follows an L.A. loan officer named Christine Brown (Alison Lohman). She’s definitely going places with her ambitious career and boyfriend Clay (Justin Long) - until she meets Mrs. Ganush. When Christine is forced to turn down her loan application for a home, the old woman decides to make her life a living hell, literally. As things worsen, Christine is desperate to escape Mrs. Ganush’s powerful curse.
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