Most people I know do not love and honor scary horror flicks (and the funny ones too) the way I do, and so it may not have bothered you that the great director of Evil Dead 2 turned more recently to producing films like Spiderman 4 and bad tv. The horror Sam Raimi had still been doing was both more Hollywood and less convincing than it had been in the past... things like The Grudge, empty and pointless efforts. You may never have noticed this particular packaging-up of talent for easy consumption. If you had noticed, it may not have rated so much as a particle of dismay.
I loved Evil Dead 2, though. I can't blame Raimi for making popular films in successful genres, but I kept leaving wondering if he would ever give me a thrilling horror movie again. Well, he may never do it again, but oh my, Drag Me to Hell is something special. It benefits from all the technical skill Raimi has acquired in the last twenty years, but returns to the heart and soul of thrilling horror with a complete story, a universe with comprehensible rules and the possibility of salvation, however unlikely, and characters you despise intensely or love deeply. The acting is superb. From the leading lady, to her abusive boss, to the backstabbing office rival, the fortune tellers, her boyfriend, his parents, and the evil antagonist, this film is perfectly played. Alison Lohman plays Christine Brown, an ingenue in the big city, trying to leave the farm behind her who has a job as a loan officer in a bank, and a career path in front of her. She's in love with a young, gentle, doctor, from a good family with money. It's a frame story that resonates well in hard economic times, and when she turns an old woman down for a modification on her mortgage the trouble begins. Lohman is perfect for the role. Stunning in a summer dress, she is the personification of the good hearted, all American girl. She is the person parents hope their girls become. She's attractive and bright, willing to work hard, willing to improve herself, with a smile, and the curves, to bring traffic to a standstill. Clean, she's perfect.
Turns out she's perfect, too, covered in mud, muck, or blood. She fights! Oh my, she fights! This is not the girl who falls down and twists her ankle while the serial killer lumbers ponderously after her. This is a kick b*tt protagonist. No spoilers here, but if the girl wins, she's going to earn it.
On the NewNonsense scale of one to ten, this movie is an easy ten. I don't hand tens out easily, but I was expecting a six point five, and instead I got a perfect thrill.