‘Drag Me to Hell’ – Sam Raimi gets wild on Prime Video

After the blockbuster success of the three Spider-Man movies, filmmaker Sam Raimi returned to his roots in scrappy horror films and low-budget genre cinema with Drag Me to Hell (2009).

Alison Lohman plays the demure loan officer who is desperate to prove to her boss (David Paymer) that she can handle the tough decisions. Unfortunately she refuses the wrong customer, a sneering crone of a gypsy woman (Lorna Raver as an old-world nightmare of a witchy hag) who pitches a curse (and her false teeth) to the all-American girl.

This rollercoaster horror film is like an EC horror comic of the 1950s come to life, an unforgiving morality tale with playfully gruesome twists and a doozy of a gallows humor. Raimi (who wrote the original screenplay with his brother Ivan) is less interested in scaring his audience than giving them a memorable ride through a series of torments. There’s a savage ambush in an underground garage by the spitting, spiteful old gypsy, a possessed fly, a furious demon, and lots of oozing effluvia just pouring over our hapless would-be heroine.

There’s a gross-out factor to the sure, but it’s pitched at levels of cartoonish excess and directed with a gothic-gone-wild style of flying cameras and wild imagery designed to get squeals of appreciation rather than groans of disgust. Raimi’s less unhinged here than in The Evil Dead films—he seems less willing to really go crazy here—but he’s having too much fun playing with his Hollywood budget to let it slow things down.

Justin Long costars.

Rated PG-13

Streams for a limited time on Prime Video

Also on Blu-ray and DVD and on SVOD through Amazon Video, iTunes, GooglePlay, Vudu and/or other services. Availability may vary by service.
Drag Me to Hell: Collector’s Edition [Blu-ray]
Drag Me to Hell [Blu-ray]
Drag Me to Hell [DVD]

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On DVD and Blu-ray with both theatrical PG-13 version and the unrated director’s cut (which is no longer but features some alternate scenes), plus 13 production diaries, short featurettes on the special effects and props and other behind-the-scenes goodies that run around three minutes apiece and can be viewed individually or straight through as a single featurette.


Sean Axmaker is a Seattle film critic and writer. He writes the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website, and his work appears at RogerEbert.com, Turner Classic Movies online, The Film Noir Foundation, and Parallax View.

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