Raimi ‘Hell’ bent on thriller

Director co-wrote 'Drag Me' with brother

After helming three “Spider-Man” films, Sam Raimi will return to his genre roots to direct “Drag Me to Hell,” a supernatural thriller he wrote with his brother, Ivan Raimi.

The morality tale about the unwitting recipient of a supernatural curse will go into production early next year. It will be financed through Ghost House, a joint venture Raimi and Rob Tapert formed several years ago with Mandate Pictures.

Raimi and Tapert will produce with Grant Curtis, and Josh Donen will exec produce with Mandate’s Nathan Kahane and Joe Drake.

Tapert said the Raimis penned the script well before the formation of Ghost House. It was originally written under the title “The Curse” and completed right after the siblings collaborated on 1992’s “Army of Darkness,” which Sam Raimi directed.

“Sam calls it a ‘spook-a-blast,’ a wild ride with all the chills and spills that ‘Evil Dead’ delivered, without relying on the excessive violence of that film,” Tapert said. “When one has done three very expensive movies, they get used to eating caviar. Sam will have to ponder what it means to come down from the mountaintop for a moment.”

“Drag Me to Hell” is the first Raimi-directed project for Ghost House, which has done very well in the genre game with the Sarah Michelle Gellar starrer “The Grudge,” “The Grudge 2,” the Stephen T. Kay-directed “Boogeyman,” the Oxide and Danny Pang-directed “The Messenger” and, most recently, the David Slade-helmed “30 Days of Night.” Ghost House is prepping a remake of “Evil Dead,” the 1981 horror film that was Raimi’s first breakout hit as a director.

After “Drag Me to Hell,” Raimi is expected to go right back up the mountaintop and take the helm of “The Hobbit” films for New Line and MGM now that Peter Jackson has made it clear he won’t direct.

“The appeal to Sam on ‘Drag Me to Hell’ was returning to what he had once done and loved doing, which was entertaining a very specific group of fans and providing a roller coaster ride for them,” Tapert said. “He doesn’t have the enormous pressure here that goes with handling a hundreds of millions of dollars franchise.”

Tapert said no distributor has yet been set for “Drag Me to Hell.”

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