Sam Raimi is no master of terror. Or at least, I never thought of him as such. I'm going to admit that I'm a fan of his, but the movies that made him famous (Evil Dead, and Evil Dead 2) were stylish, high energy films that lacked the grueling terror they promised us in the taglines. Sam Raimi is, however, a master of spectacle. So, if you want the great spectacle that he gave us in the Spider-Man series, in the Evil Dead Series, or any of his films, you will be entertained. And if you want to grueling terror he promised us so many years ago, you are in for a treat.

If you want an original story, or even an old tale with a few new twists and turns, look elsewhere. Sam Raimi cannot defeat his old archnemesis: Convention. The plot is, well, taken from any number of ghost stories. A good person does something he or she shouldn't, and has a strange gypsy put a curse on them. Remember the book "Thinner" ? This is essentially the same movie, but watchable and likable. A young girl is given a choice: Give an old woman an extension on a loan (who lived on a fixed income when she became sick, so it's not her fault) and do the right thing, or she could deny the loan and impress her boss. What does she do? Well, she makes the choice most likely to piss off the strange old Gypsy woman.

A few action beats later, the young lady (or, if you must know her name, Christine) is seeing her entire life falling apart. Hilarious nosebleeds and hallucinations mixed in with some genuinely frightening scenes make this movie a pretty unrelenting spectacle. It's actually very scary. What is worst of all, you care about this woman. You want are with her every step of the way. She is given several different options to try to life the curse, and she ends up doing shocking, unspeakable things, yet you are with her every step of the way.


Unfortunately, this is where the movie ends. The story wraps up with a cop out ending. You see, they couldn't think of an exciting way to end the movie. They decided that horror movies usually end with on last big scare, and why should this one be any different? Hell, who cares about all the build up anyway? Who cares about the struggle? The credits rolled down the screen, and my I clenched my fist in rage. How dare they get us so involved in a story just to end in the typical horror movie fashion? I cannot explain just why this ending made a great film so terrible without a large spoiler, but you know what? It's in the previews, it's in the commercials, and it's on the goddamn posters.

So what was the point of all that? Several plot points are not followed up on (the precredit sequence is strangely unimportant to the rest of the movie, despite it featuring a spiritualist vowing to destroy the same soul eating creature that's after Christine), and the old Gypsy makes several statements that ended up being nothing but words to creep out the audience, when they were things that should have come up in the third act. Why do we even bother with a movie that doesn't even keeping it's plot points together? Why should we watch a movie that is all build up, but no release? The movie could have still been a great film, had it ended just ten seconds earlier. Now don't get me wrong, I'd still have some of the same complaints. But I would have still recommended this film.

Why can't we have a movie as visually dynamic as this, as terrifying as this, and as funny as this, and have it be at least somewhat original?

** out of ****