Between Raimi's enormous cult status and my girlfriend's interest in superhero films, it's almost impossible to ignore the career of Sam Raimi. He made himself immortal with his first film, reinvented himself halfway through and even though he's somewhat meandering now, I wouldn't be surprised if Raimi surfaced a third time.
The Evil Dead is a cult favorite, no two ways about it. Not only did it launch Raimi's own career, the film also marked Bruce Campbell as an instant cult figure. I never really saw the appeal though, as for me the horrendous acting and some rotten special effects killed the film. Its two sequels are more comedy-oriented, a smart move as there clearly wasn't enough budget (or skill) to make a decent horror flick. Still not what I'd call great films, but at least a step up from the first one.
During that same period Raimi already dabbled his feet in the superhero pool. Darkman is a pretty poor (and cheap) attempt to make a darker superhero film. With all its 80s influences, it's a film that will keep a faithful audience for years to come, but this kind of cheesy nonsense is completely wasted on me. Needless to say, I'm far from impressed by Raimi's career start.
Raimi finally surprised me when he released A Simple Plan. A dark, dry comedy played out in a remote and snowy setting. Somewhat low-key and pretty different from the loud, attention-whoring films he made before, but really all the better for it. With commendable roles for Bill Paxton and Billy Bob Thornton and a strong, uneasy atmosphere, it's by far the best thing Raimi has ever accomplished. It was little more than a quick diversion though, as he would gear up to tackle the superhero genre for a second time.
Even though I'm in complete awe of the grandness of Marvel's movie emporium (they created something truly special these past 10 years), there aren't many Marvel films I actually like. Spider-Man is one of the worst offenders and Raimi's version is a blueprint of why I don't like these superhero films. Flimsy bad guys, silly dress ups and some poorly executed drama make for overly long and pointless films. Not that Raimi should care what I think, all three films were a major success and gave his career a second life.
With Drag Me To Hell and Oz the Great and Powerful Raimi tried to keep the momentum going, but with little success. Even though I liked these films a lot better than the Spider-Man trilogy, audiences weren't so kind to them. Currently there are no new projects lined up for Raimi, though he keeps busy producing films like Possession and the upcoming Poltergeist remake. I'm fine with that to be honest, I don't think I'm missing out on much without Raimi around.
Best film: A Simple Plan (4.0*)
Worst film: Spider-Man (0.5*)
Average rating: 1.60 (out of 5)