Who's In It: Alison Lohman, Justin Long, Lorna Raver, Jessica Lucas, David Paymer, Dileep Rao
The Basics: Talk about excellent timing. The long-awaited return to horror from director Sam Raimi is all about a bank loan officer cursed to be cast into hell by an elderly woman whose house is in foreclosure. And what better person to stand in for the entire evil banking industry than a spineless twit who--and this isn't really spoiling anything--wanders through her increasingly desperate situation with less and less integrity (she wants that bailout really badly) instead of sympathy-garnering fortitude?
What's The Deal: I walked into this excited about the possibility of an awesome new movie from the brilliant mind behind the Evil Dead films. I also walked in pre-grumpy over the PG-13 rating. I like human heads best when they are in the process of being removed from their host bodies and that's simply not something you get to see in a movie made for kids in junior high school. So I'm happy to report that this blast of giddy grossness is as hard a PG-13 as you can get, takes every body-fluid moment to the limit (it feels like a surgically trimmed "R" actually), and knows how to push its hilariously tense, old-fashioned B-movie agenda in your face. And if it all winds up feeling more silly than scary it'll still leave you breathless and cheering for the characters to face ultimate doom.
Secret Weapons: A frantic pace and a jolting, mega-decibel score; a freaked-out, disgusting-dentured, curse-hurling gypsy played by stage actress Lorna Raver; cheesy special effects that flaunt their cheapness; and nasty, repellent moments of very wrong things going into and out of mouths. Hell seems like a less stressful environment compared to some of the stuff on screen.
Important Message To Rotten Parents Thinking Of Bringing Their Six-Year-Old Kids To See This: Get a babysitter. Someone should call Child Protective Services on people like you. Just because it's not rated R doesn't mean it's for a first-grader. A scary-movie-obsessed 10-year-old, however....