Sam Raimi returns to his roots in "Drag Me to Hell," a flagrantly schlocky horror yarn that will titillate the teens without alienating the director's far pickier fanboy contingent, who will find the "Evil Dead"-style action they've been clamoring for in a surprisingly potent PG-13 package. When the bank forecloses on an old gypsy's house, it's the unlucky young loan officer who risks having her soul repossessed in this throwback to both Raimi's early work and '50s B-movies. After booking the pic in coveted midnight slots at the SXSW and Cannes fests, Universal should see strong awareness yield heavenly returns.
As its no-nonsense title suggests, "Drag Me to Hell" offers a kicking-and-screaming riff on the classic curse movie -- and if the material scarcely warrants feature length, so be it. Scant of plot and barren of subtext, the pic is single-mindedly devoted to pushing the audience's buttons, and who better than Raimi to do the honors? Long before he went legit with "A Simple Plan," helmer was perfecting inventive shocks on shoestring budgets, and, as if to remind us of that legacy, he opens this modestly budgeted film (by "Spider-Man" standards, at least) with an early-'80s Universal logo.
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