Drag Me To Hell has been hailed as a return to horror for Sam Raimi, a break from the relentlessness of the Spider-Man films (thankfully post the annoying SM3). A chance for Raimi to go back to his roots and entertain without being slavishly devotional to comics or special effects. And it is terrific fun. But its still runs like a comics adaptation, albeit an adaptation of some for ur-horror comic of the fifties. Drag Me To Hell is a EC Comic brought to life.

EC (Entertaining Comics) Horror comics were stuffed with short, horro tales which would often involve
a) moral conundrums
b) stupendously ugly gypsys
c) a unsettling if obvious twist
Drag Me To Hell does all of this, with 2009 nobs on (EC Comic would have balked at the vomiting scene). But the grey morality of the story is what really marks it out. Alison Lohmann’s lead is not a bad person, but she does something which leads her to be cursed. We feel for her a bit, though reserve a touch of judgement because she does after all work for a bank. And so the film goes, Raimi has difficulty balancing the needs of having an attractive lead, with trying not to make her too heroic. It is not clear if he succeeds, that depends on how you feel about the ending, but it is unlikely that in the Manichean morality of most modern films he could succeed. He has an hour and a half to parade his lead character, enough for us to get an attraction.

The beauty of EC Comics was their stories were usually done in ten pages, and we didn’t mind when someone got dragged to hell. So Drag Me To Hell is a comics adaptation again, which again suffers from the difference between the forms. Luckily it is directed by Sam Raimi, so is thankfully, tremendous fun.