It wasn't until I watched Drag Me To Hell a second time that it all made sense. This is exactly what the horror genre needs. To remind people how fun it can be to be scared. To jump. To scream. To yell at the screen. All of this has been lost in the past decade to one bad remake after another.
And while Drag Me To Hell is classic Raimi, there are some noticeable differences. The biggest one being Raimi's homage to Japanese horror. One can see this in his use of shadows that creep along the walls and crawl across floors. And in sound design that makes your insides feel like they are being pulled from your body. Sound is such an important element in horror and Raimi takes us to heights I didn't know existed.
The story is simple but brilliant. By making the main character Christine (Allison Lohman) cursed, Raimi has given himself a blank check to scare at any moment. There doesn't need to be a rhyme or a reason for it. And there doesn't need to be the traditional surroundings for it either. In broad daylight Christine can be attacked and suddenly we're back to the days of the original Halloween where no time or place is safe from the boogeyman.
At first I thought Allison Lohan was a strange choice to play the female version of Bruce Campbell. But her Middle-America sweetness is perfect and she plays it straight as an arrow. When she finally succumbs to the madness around her, you feel the change. And what's more, you welcome it. The charm of Raimi is that he never lets his main character play victim forever.
Drag Me To Hell makes no apologies. From the second it opens with the bold title to the second it closes with the same, Raimi uses every frame to tell you he's come to scare. And he delivers the goods time and time again. I expected something different from Raimi, but in doing that I was asking Raimi to stop being the cornball who has directed some of my favorite movies. And why the hell would I do that?