Oh, hell yeah! Having momentarily freed himself from Spidey's web, director Sam Raimi has reclaimed his bloodied seat of horror honor with his latest, Drag Me to Hell. This is about as close to Evil Dead 4 as you're ever likely to see—Bruce Campbell and the Deadites might be missing, true, but Drag Me to Hell is still chockfull of enough spooky-as-fuck noises, swooshing camera angles, and gross-out sight gags to make you wonder what happened to those 17 long years between Army of Darkness and now. In other words, YAY!
Now that some of those exclamation points are out of the way.... Drag Me to Hell takes the old gypsy curse for another spin around the block. You know the drill: Gypsy is wronged, gypsy screams curse at clueless wrongdoer, many bad things rain down upon some poor bastard's soul. Said wrongdoer here is Christine (Alison Lohman), who naïvely runs her boss' errands while she desperately angles for a promotion at the bank where she works. Meanwhile, Mrs. Ganush (Lorna Raver), a decrepit old woman (PSSST! GYPSY!), comes to the bank to plead for an extension on her mortgage—only to have Christine deny her request. As if the thought of imminent home foreclosure weren't scary enough, Mrs. Ganush unsheathes her talons to give Christine a little gypsy what-for. Setup complete: From there on out, it's all about sitting back and watching Raimi work his magic.
Christine has three days to figure out a way to escape the devil himself—before she's dragged to hell and her soul will burn for all of eternity. And those three days are full of spewed embalming gunk, haunted goats, demonic hankies(!), and more. Raimi hasn't lost his way with the fake blood or the battered protagonist, as by the end of Drag Me to Hell, Lohman is nearly plucked bald and thrown around the set like the ill-fated shemps of Evil Dead. Nor has Raimi lost his way with the suspenseful tautness, efficiency, and humor of his early movies. It's nice to see him back, clearly having as much fun as his audience.