10 Best Sam Raimi Movies

10 best Sam Raimi movies

10 best Sam Raimi movies

Sam Raimi’s do-it-yourself style is what immediately drew audiences and critics to his filmography all the way back with his very first feature, The Evil Dead, in 1981. Ever since then, Raimi has held and maintained a consistent and faithful cult audience. He moved onto bigger (not necessarily better) things in his career, namely the original Spider-Man trilogy, but his strongest films always ended up being the smaller, more original ones. He’s one heck of a filmmaker, never coming across as hack or unoriginal or contrived in the slightest—a new Raimi is almost always met with enthusiastic praise. His enthusiasm for practical effects and the dark sense of humor that always seems to be present in his films dates back to his very first feature, and it’ll likely remain that way whenever his last rolls around. How does his filmography stack up against each other, though?

A Simple Plan

10 best Sam Raimi movies

Adapted from the novel of the same name, Raimi’s neo-noir crime thriller is largely considered to be his strongest film so far. It stars Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, and Bridget Fonda. While it might not be based in the horror genre like many of his other classics, it is absolutely classic Raimi in terms of direction. It’s masterful and rich and essential.

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Drag Me to Hell

10 best Sam Raimi movies

Coming fresh off the Spider-Man trilogy, Raimi’s first original film in years took the breath away from critics and audiences alike. Many consider it to be the most terrifying and well-made PG-13 horror movie of all time, and all of Raimi’s classic horror elements are present and accounted for — the same goes for that signature Raimi humor.

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Evil Dead II

10 best Sam Raimi movies

The age-old argument: is the sequel ever as good as the original? In the case of Evil Dead II, many would enthusiastically say yes. The original is a classic for a reason, but its sequel brings in all new elements of horror and comedy that place it a step above the first.

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Spider-Man 2

10 best Sam Raimi movies

Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe was even an inkling of an idea, there was the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy. The first was strong, sure, but the second raised the bar higher than ever before — it was the pinnacle of the superhero movie genre for years and years (some might even consider it the best, even after fifteen years).

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The Evil Dead

10 best Sam Raimi movies

The one that started it all for Raimi, back in his garage in his hometown in Michigan with friends from high school. He was only twenty at the time, shooting for six weeks and editing for nearly two years (along with fellow up-and-comers the Coen Brothers, who helped Raimi edit), scraping together whatever money he could to finish the project. It’s a miracle the film turned out as well as it did, and it’s a total testament to Raimi’s skill as a filmmaker.

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Darkman

10 best Sam Raimi movies

Before there was the Spider-Man trilogy, Raimi was working on an entirely different superhero origin story: Darkman, a hero of his own creation. Starring Liam Neeson and Frances McDormand, the movie is definitely an indicator of things to come for him. It shows how well he can handle action while still maintaining a strong narrative and how great he is at utilizing practical effects.

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The Gift

10 best Sam Raimi movies

Raimi’s solid and old-fashioned thriller from 2000 actually came to him from a script by Billy Bob Thornton, of all people. Cate Blanchett and Keanu Reeves are at the top of their game, elevating an okay script and turning this movie into something much better than it had any right to be — of course, Raimi’s direction played a huge part, as well.

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Army of Darkness

10 best Sam Raimi movies

While you might not be able to tell from the title, Army of Darkness is actually the third Evil Dead film (and the funniest and campiest one, at that). It’s spectacular fun, elevating an already fantastical storyline to whole new heights and taking the Evil Dead mythology from semi-serious to absolutely bonkers. It’s almost like a parody of itself, and it’s all the better because of it.

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Spider-Man

10 best Sam Raimi movies

Like the first Evil Dead film, Raimi’s original Spider-Man film plants all the seeds for an exciting and endlessly watchable trilogy. While opinions shift when it comes to the third films, there’s almost universal agreement when it comes to the firsts: they’re solid and they’re expertly made.

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For Love of the Game

10 best Sam Raimi movies

It might seem like a departure from his usual stuff at first glance, but For Love of the Game is just further proof that Raimi is one of the most original and motivated filmmakers of our time. He loves horror, so he made some horror films. He loves comic books, so he made some comic book movies. So, because he loves baseball, he made a touching and sweet baseball movie. It’s different, but it’s a good different.

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