Drag Me to Hell Blu-ray review

Having finished with Spider-Man, the man behind The Evil Dead makes his return to big screen horror

Quite simply, Raimi's return to the genre that spawned his career is a much needed breath-of-fresh-air for the increasingly self-referential, po-faced and torture-obsessed American horror genre. It's not the most original film - the story about a young woman with only days to live after being cursed treads much of the same ground as MR James' Casting the Runes (and the excellent 1957 adaptation Night of the Demon) - but that really doesn't matter a jot, as writer-director Sam Raimi delivers a fast-paced and playful chiller that's entirely focused on making its audience jump. In other words; exactly the kind of silly ghoulish treat Hollywood seemed to have given up on.

Picture: Presented in its original AVC-encoded 2.35:1 aspect ratio, Lionsgate's Blu-ray release of Raimi's latest spooktacular does an excellent job of accurately replicating the film's rather muted and dull visual style. The downside to this is that the resulting hi-def imagery can seem 'flat' in comparison to other BD encodes. This, however, is counter-balanced by excellent colour reproduction and a fine layer of grain that ensures the imagery retains a natural filmic feel. Technically faultless, but not exactly reference level.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: Raimi's slapstick horror has a soundtrack as frolicsome as its story. No opportunity is missed to place creaks and freakish sound effects in the darkest corners of the DTS HD-MA 5.1 mix, and the LFE grumbles like Old Nick when required. The score by horror veteran Christopher Young, with its plaintive gypsy violin refrain and soaring choral work, is suitably atmospheric, and great demo sequences abound: the goat-baiting séance to call forth the demonic Lamia is a particular hoot, while the car park attack sequence is ripe with ribald staple-punching sonic design. Like a fairground thrill ride, the soundtrack to Drag Me to Hell is eerie, economic and devilishly effective.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: Other than the two different cuts of the movie – with a whopping seven-seconds of difference between then - the only other extras are Production Diaries and some interviews with Sam Raimi and stars Alison Lohman and Justin Long. The behind-the-scenes footage in the former is interesting, if lacking a little depth, while the interviews are typical EPK fare. It's such a shame that there's no Raimi commentary, as those he's recorded for the Evil Dead films have been real fan-pleasers.
Extras rating: 2/5

We say: It may be light on extras, but Raimi's long-awaited return to horror makes for a delightful HD platter.

Lionsgate, Region B Blu-ray, £25 approx, On sale October 26