Thread: DRAG ME TO HELL
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Old June 7 2009, 12:07 AM   #74
Goliath
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Re: DRAG ME TO HELL

Newski wrote: View Post
I'll insult people not because of their opinion,
Not? You just did exactly that.

You accused me of being too stupid to graduate from high school because I didn't foresee Drag Me To Hell's twist ending, and disagreed with you about its typicality.

Not only did you insult my intelligence, you did so without even reading my posts very closely.

I expected the heroine to get dragged to hell. I just didn't foresee the exact nature of the mistake she made.

...but I will criticize them...
Insult them, you mean.

... for not seeing something that is very clear from the beginning. If I say 2 plus 2 is seven, will you call me an idiot or willy you respect my right to believe it?
Emphasis added.

I wouldn't know. I've never encountered anyone who tried to tell me that 2+2=7. And not foreseeing the exact nature of a movie's twist ending is hardly the same thing. Once again, you're comparing apples to oranges.

I also notice that you've once again cast aspersions on my intelligence, by implying that I'm some kind of idiot who can't add two and two.

I would never call someone an idiot because they didn't have every detail of a movie's ending figured out from the start. But that's just me.

What makes a movie "Original" is how it differs from similar stories.
That is a half-truth, at best.

All stories within a single genre are essentially the same, and rely on that similarity for their appeal.

A detective story, for example, features a detective, and a mystery, and follows the detective as he or she solves the mystery. A romance story features a heroine, and a hero, and follows the heroine as she falls in love with the hero. And so on.

Compared to these essential similarities, the differences within a genre are pretty minor. Genre storytelling is the art of inventing new variations on a familiar theme. Too much originality is frowned upon, particularly by audiences, who essentially want to hear the same story again and again.

What is more, your definition pretends that originality is something absolute--an independent variable--when in fact it's a completely relative dependent variable. What may seem wildly original to one audience may seem boringly familiar to another, depending on the number of stories they've read or watched.

To use just one example: when I saw Star Wars for the first time, as a boy, in 1977, I was entranced; I'd never seen anything like it. My Dad, on the other hand, was bored. He'd seen it all before, in the sci-fi serials he'd watched when he was a boy.

To use another example:

Essentially, the movie followed the exact same structure as Thinner.
Did it? I wouldn't know. I never saw Thinner. I didn't read the book, either. Stephen King's novels bore me.

Perhaps if I'd seen it, I'd be just as outraged as you seem to be, and just as contemptuous of anyone who disagreed with me.

But I didn't. Neither did most people, I expect. So what may seem typical to you, based on your own partial experience, may not seem typical at all to others, based on their equally partial experience.

Maybe you should keep that in mind before you start calling other people idiots.

Not all Vampire films follow the same structure as Dracula. With you logic, I should bitch about how much of a ripoff of "Carmilla" Dracula is.
Don't put words in my mouth. Either stand by your original position, or admit that you've changed it.

You said nothing about story structure in the post I quoted. What you said was that Thinner and Drag Me to Hell were essentially the same movies because they both featured someone who was cursed by a gypsy, and died. Full stop.

And yes, this IS the conventional ending.... For Christ's sake, Thinner, The Grudge, ect....
"Etc" isn't a movie. At least, I've never seen a movie with that title.

You've provided exactly two examples here--and one of them doesn't even fit your argument. Sarah Michelle Gellar's character does not die at the end of The Grudge.

So, you've really got just one example to support your case. Where I come from, that's called a "hasty generalization." As the old saying puts it, "one swallow does not a summer make."

Now, it is true that many horror movies end with a final shock, which can seem (and often is) gratuitous--especially if the filmmaker wants to leave room for a sequel. A Nightmare on Elm Street ended with Freddy's return in a final nightmare sequence.

But the ending of Drag Me to Hell was not a gratuitous final "Boo! See part two!" It was, arguably, the story's natural and logical conclusion.

Christine Brown was faced with a moral choice, and chose not to show compassion, for purely selfish reasons. And in the end, having sown the wind, she reaped the whirlwind: having shown no compassion, no compassion was shown to her; all her efforts to escape responsibility for her own actions were in vain. Any other ending would have betrayed the movie's moral logic.

What makes end twists work is that we don't see them coming, or that they are bold. Or maybe their is actually a point to it other then a cheap scare. The Omen's ending worked. First of all, it wasn't unexpected. Also, the point of the movie wasn't about "killing Damien". It was about his rise. Drag Me to hell is about somebody fighting a curse.
This is not much of an argument.

You list three preconditions for a succesful twist ending. Then you admit that The Omen doesn't meet one of these preconditions. Then you start talking about something else.

In fact, both The Omen and Drag Me to Hell explore some of the same themes. In both movies, the protagonists make the wrong moral choice, for seemingly good reasons. In the case of The Omen, Thorn tries to spare his wife the grief of a stillbirth by lying to her, by switching another baby for her own, and pretending that nothing happened. And in both movies, the protagonists are destroyed by the consequences of these decisions, despite their efforts to cheat fate.

Night of the Living Dead worked because our Hero actually survived the night... And was killed not by Zombies, but by a human menace. The Thing worked because the creature was destroyed... PROBABLY... But even if it was, they were fighting their own paranoia at that point. That was poignant.
This is all very interesting, but once again, doesn't prove anything.

What you actually said was:

Nor was it simply "Haha hero dies bad guy wins" which, by the way, was what this was. It was a terrible ending that's become too common.
On the one hand, that is not an accurate description of Drag Me to Hell's ending, which I think I've demonstrated here. You were so impressed by your own cleverness at figuring out the twist that you missed just how appropriate that ending was, both dramatically and thematically.

On the other hand: the movies I listed all fit that description quite well. In fact, Night of the Living Dead's ending was effective and shocking precisely because, as you put it, the movie said "Haha hero dies bad guy wins."

Ben died, in the end, because he made all the wrong decisions, got everybody killed, and survived the night only by retreating to the cellar, as Mr. Cooper had suggested. The bad guys won--because of Ben.

Ben didn't deserve to survive--though the movie does its best to obscure this fact, by making Ben handsome and sympathetic (and black), and by making his antagonist, Mr. Cooper, weaselly and unsympathetic. And in the end, Ben suffers the fate he does deserve. The bullet he takes to the head is the audience's moral wake-up call.

Drag Me to Hell ends with a similar moral wake-up call. But I guess you slept through it. Perhaps you were too busy congratulating yourself for figuring out Raimi's foreshadowing.
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