The biggest howls involve the delicate heroine helplessly ingesting or inhaling bugs, worms, and bile--physical equivalents of her destructive emotions--and Raimi ends the story with the sort of black punch line that's become his signature.
Raimi's Drag Me to Hell does everything we want a horror film to do: It is fearsomely scary, wickedly funny and diabolically gross, three stomach-churning states that argue for taking a pass on the $10 box of popcorn.
The looseness Raimi allows himself here results in an especially joyous kind of filmmaking, the sort where the filmmaker's delight in scaring us (and making us laugh) becomes part of the movie's fabric.
At a time when horror is defined by limp Japanese retreads or punishing exercises in pure sadism, Drag Me to Hell has a tonic playfulness that's unabashedly retro, an indulgent return to Mr. Raimi's goofy, gooey roots.
Raimi's made this "Drag" a race, designed to chill you, thrill you and give you an excuse to clutch your date's arm with each of the many jolts and jumps it delivers as it twists and turns to the finish line.
The true test of any successful horror flick is how wretched it makes you feel. At the very least, it should inspire a banquet of dread or offer a canapé of anxiety. After Drag Me to Hell you won't mind walking home alone.