Often a drifting virtuoso in the years before finding his Spider-Man gig, with Drag Me to Hell director Sam Raimi defaults to the horror romps that made his name (namely, the Evil Dead trilogy). Drag Me has a serendipitously timely victim: Playing a bank loan officer, Alison Lohman bears the brunt of the film's supernatural humiliations. Lohman's Christine Brown is putting the finishing touches on her self-reinvention as a young professional: eyeing a promotion, renting L.A. hillside real estate, and heading toward marriage with an upmarket boyfriend. One day, smothering her conscience to impress her boss, Christine refuses to take pity on an ancient gypsy woman about to lose her home (Lorna Raver, with a malevolent dead eye, horking up neon phlegm). The hag hisses a hex, and Christine's life plan is derailed by a chain of diabolical interventions: She spouts a geyser nosebleed at work, is ambushed by hallucinations while meeting potential in-laws, and starts studying animal sacrifice. A visit to a psychic confirms Christine's had a demon sicced on her, and if it isn't appeased in time, she'll get the title treatment. Still, getting bonged on the head with a cross for forgetting the Golden Rule doesn't indicate a particularly nuanced moral vision. Does Raimi—who began his career on a shoestring in the Tennessee woods and now commands $300 million bonanzas—actually believe professional ambition should be punished with eternal damnation?
Justin Long's Mac can't save him here.
Opens at Metro and other theaters, Fri., May 29. Rated PG-13. 96 minutes.