Sam Raimi's Drag Me to Hell comes out on home video next week. Universal's essential DVD release contains both the unrated "director's cut" and the theatrical cut, although the unrated cut runs just a few seconds shorter than the theatrical cut. The major change -- I'm told -- is a moment's hesitation before the main character considers... well... it has to do with a cat. In the theatrical cut, the character hesitates for a moment, which, frankly, makes the situation all the more squeamishly gruesome, and in the other cut, she charges right in for a more sudden and gorier effect. This tiny change says a lot about Sam Raimi, who was once a talented B-movie director with a narrow range, and has now graduated to one of Hollywood's major A-list players, as well as being one of the cinema's most interesting potential masters. Best of all, he shows up for work in a suit and tie. How cool is that?
Drag Me to Hell is currently one of my favorite movies of 2009, and I like it for some of the same reasons I like Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy. More than nearly anyone else alive, Raimi has a feel for the movement of cinema, and the sheer joy behind that movement. His films pulse and flow and dodge and dart and fly; they never move too fast or too slow and the cuts always seem to arrive right on time. His films aren't roller-coaster rides, exactly, nor are they meant to be "intense." It's more like they pick you up and carry you along; it's an exhilarating ride not because the vehicle is moving fast, but because the road is interesting.