Another thing I don't know is how long Drag Me to Hell was germinating in the minds of Sam and his brother Ivan before they filmed it and released it last year. Regardless of the answer, I can't help but think that the finished film gives us at least an inkling of what Raimi was thinking when he wanted to use the Vulture in a Spider-Man film. While his latest movie is superficially about the struggles of a bank loan officer against a gypsy curse, Drag Me to Hell is essentially about a forced confrontation with old age and all the discomforts it imposes on other people. Instead of being pummelled and deformed like Bruce Campbell is in the Evil Dead films, Alison Lohman is defiled and soiled by the slop of age and death. A corpse vomits formaldehyde on her. In a nightmare, it vomits maggots on her. Later, she's nearly drowned in a flooded, muddy grave. And this is all because she won't show the proper respect to an elderly person. The curse of the Lamia is the revenge of age on youth.
Her disgust over the messy embarrassments Mrs. Gunesh and the Lamia have imposed on her drives her to rage when repentance is what she should show. At the very least she could admit that it was her own decision to deny the old woman the extension, instead of blaming her boss or the pressures of office competition. As it is, she can only admit this to her boyfriend, not to the offended party, and only after the graveyard scene. It's as if her anger at her situation blinds her to what she owes to the wretched crone, not as a matter of business ethics but of human decency and respect for her elders.
So much for the preaching. Drag Me to Hell represents a partial return to Raimi's classic form, taking into account the differences in emphasis between the new film and the Evil Deads. There's one moment in which the old spirit indisputably returns, when a man possessed by the Lamia dances a hellish jig while levitating over a fire. That jig represents the demonic vitality, the exuberant, almost infantile evil of Raimi's monsters.