A lot of people have been eagerly awaiting the day when Sam Raimi would leave Spiderman behind and go back to his horror roots. And that day arrived in 2009 when Raimi rolled up his sleeves and got his hands dirty once more with ”Drag Me to Hell” which is, in a way, the spiritual sequel to his “Evil Dead” series (which is getting a reboot in the near future), and a return to full form for the master of supernatural thrills.
This is the perfect set up for Raimi to go to town on Christine. The film is relentless in its scares and brutal assaults on the poor girl, in one nightmarish scene after another. The film wasn’t rated R but it still packs quite a punch. Raimi manages to dish out some truly disturbing moments that will make you squirm. These scenes work on the classic cliches of demon attacks, providing scares that seem to come out of nowhere. There are no prolongued moments of peace and quiet in this 99-minute scream-fest. But it’s also done in a tongue-in-cheek style, much like "Evil Dead", so there’s a feeling of relief at times, when the director sneaks in some off-beat humor, like the strange sight of a possessed man dancing in mid-air. Then it gets all spooky again and you don’t feel like laughing anymore.
The effects are really effective and Raimi’s signature camera-work adds a lot of frantic edginess to the action. CGI is sometimes added to the gooey bits, but looks a little too artificial, which diminishes that old-school ”Evil Dead” effect. As for the demon, you never actually see it. It acts as an unseen menace, always finding ways to break Christine and drive her insane, so there’s never any real use for excessively elaborate visual effects.
“Drag Me to Hell” is a deliciously wicked horror, packed with scares and excitement. If you’ve been a fan of Sam Raimi’s “Evil Dead” trilogy, or even the core inspiration provided by “The Exorcist”, or you’re just looking for an infernal thrill ride, this is the film for you.