Sam Raimi's Best Movies, Ranked by Metacritic

From 'Spider-Man' to horror films, Sam Raimi has made his mark on genre of many kinds. Discover his 10 best films, ranked by Metascore.
by Ashlee Tilford — 

Sam Raimi

Dave J. Hogan / Getty Images

It's fitting that Sam Raimi was once an executive producer on a television show titled Jack of All Trades because that title fits him to a T.

The legendary filmmaker has been writing, producing, and directing since the 1970s. He also even has a few artisans credits to his name, including cinematographer, special effects, and editor on everything from short films to such big blockbusters as Spider-Man (which he also directed). He also has almost 50 acting credits to his name thus far, often popping up in cameo appearances in his own projects, but occasionally appearing in others in similar genres, such as the 1994 miniseries The Stand and the 2013 feature film Oz the Great and Powerful.

Movie lovers all over the world eagerly await each next action-packed movie Raimi helms, whether it's a horrifying thriller, such as Drag Me to Hell or the Evil Dead series; a comic-based fantasy, like the aforementioned Spider-Man franchise; or a suspenseful, gun-slinging western, like The Quick and the Dead. His latest release certainly fits the bill, as it is another Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) movie, the highly-anticipated sequel to Doctor Strange, subtitled In the Multiverse of Madness.

Raimi has been most celebrated in the horror and superhero genre awards spaces, but his mainstream success and critical acclaim has come from a much wider list of films, as you can see below. While he has mastered many parts of movie-making, here, Metacritic highlights the top 10 movies Raimi has directed, ranked by Metascore.

Drag Me to Hell

Metascore: 83
Best for: Thrill seekers and horror film junkies
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 99 minutes

Otherwise on her way to a bright future, Christine Brown (Alison Lohman) makes a difficult decision that results in her being cursed with an evil spirit, called the curse of Lamia. Now, instead of a bright future, she faces a three-day countdown to either prevent the evil spirit from stealing her soul or experience the torments of hell for eternity. In her moments of desperation, Christine turns to a psychic, Rham Jas (Dileep Rao), for help. 

"Raimi has made the most crazy, fun, and terrifying horror movie in years." — Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

Spider-Man 2

Metascore: 83
Best for: Tobey Maguire and James Franco fans, and lovers of Marvel Comics classics with an admiration for science fiction and fantasy
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 127 minutes

In Part 2 of the Spider-Man series, Peter Parker (Maguire) decides it's time to give his crime-fighting superhero alter ego a rest after personal battles with his best friend, Harry Watson (Franco) and lifelong crush, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst.) But unfortunately, his superhero hiatus comes at the expense of the city left to suffer the evils of Doc Ock (Alfred Molina), who has come to seek revenge on Spider-Man. 

"A masterpiece of pop filmmaking — a fantastic, exuberant entertainment that manages to be both sleek and substantial without being patronizing." — Rene Rodriguez, The Miami Herald

A Simple Plan

Metascore: 82
Best for: Thriller junkies with a lust for crime and mystery
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 121 minutes

After a small plane crashes in their rural wooded town, brothers Hank Mitchell (Bill Paxton) and Jacob (Billy Bob Thornton) and their friend Lou (Brent Briscoe) discover more than four million dollars in the wreckage. With hopes of a more prosperous life, the trio devises what they believe to be a simple plan to keep the money without being caught. But it doesn't take long for a guilty conscience to unleash behaviors with less than desirable consequences. 

"Sensitive performances and intelligent storytelling keep the sometimes-violent tale involving from start to finish, marking a giant step for director Raimi." — David Sterritt, The Christian Science Monitor


Metascore: 73
Best for: Fans of far-out sci-fi action films
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 121 minutes

Imagine living a laid-back, mild-mannered life and suddenly being bitten by a genetically altered spider that turns you into a crime-fighting superhero with superhuman strength. That's exactly what happened to Peter Parker in part one of the Spider-Man series. The film highlights how Peter's life changes as he begins living a double life and adjusts to the power and responsibility that comes along with being a superhero.  

"Spider-Man is an almost-perfect extension of the experience of reading comic-book adventures." — Shawn Levy, The Oregonian

Evil Dead II

Metascore: 72
Best for: Fans of dark horror with a dash of comedy
Where to watch:

Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 84 minutes

In part two of the Evil Dead trilogy, Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) revisits the same secluded cabin from part one, except this time, his girlfriend Linda (Denise Bixler) discovers some audiotapes of the Necronomicon (Book of the Dead). When the couple curiously listens to the tapes, evil spirits take over Linda and the forest surrounding the cabin. Terror sets in as Ash realizes he is trapped and is no match for these soul-sucking demons.

"The gaudily gory, virtuoso, hyper-kinetic horror sequel/remake uses every trick in the cinematic book, and confirms that Bruce Campbell and Raimi are gods." — William Thomas, Empire


Metascore: 65
Best for: Fans of Liam Neeson, thrillers, and mentally unstable scientists
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 96 minutes

Dr. Peyton Wilder (Neeson) is a scientist dedicated to his passion, but after returning to work, he can't escape the psychological trauma he was left with after surviving a horrific assault. Overcome by the need for revenge, he develops a synthetic skin in the lab and takes on a persona called Darkman, who cannot be recognized by those who know him while he seeks the ultimate repentance from the crime boss that led his attack. 

"Raimi does everything extravagantly and swiftly in Darkman. Instead of deriving from a particular comic book, he seems to be creating one or creating a film series. Or a TV series. Or two of the three." — Ted Mahar, The Oregonian

The Gift (2000)

Metascore: 62
Best for: Fans of supernatural events, especially around psychics
Where to watch:

, , Google Play, iTunes, ,
Runtime: 111 minutes

Cate Blanchett plays a psychic in a small Southern town who has a vision that a woman who recently disappeared (played by Katie Holmes) is actually dead. The police are skeptical but follow her tip to the home of one of her clients, where they do find the woman's body in a pond and make an arrest. However, that is far from where the story ends, as relationship entanglements are brought to light that reveal others may have had motive too.

"Tolerance for this movie will likely depend on tolerance for melodramatic, over-the-top finales, especially ones with otherworldly twists." — Mike Clark, USA Today

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Metascore: 61
Best for: Fans of Raimi's signature horror style mixed with Marvel Comics characters
Where to watch: In theaters
Runtime: 126 minutes

In the followup film to 2016's Doctor Strange (which received a 72 Metascore and was directed by Scott Derrickson), the titular Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) pulls Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) out of her post-WandaVision isolation in the woods to help fight a mysterious new adversary that emerges after he opens a portal to the multiverse. As they pull in mystical allies across Marvel Comics characters, they also meet multiple versions of themselves and each other due to the multiversal aspect of the story.

"Marvel's most deranged and energetic movie yet, as much of a winning comeback for director Sam Raimi as it is a mega-budget exercise in universal stakes-raising." — Dan Jolin, Empire

Army of Darkness

Metascore: 59
Best for: Evil Dead loyalists, fans of horror with a blend of comedy and romance
Where to watch:

, Google PlayiTunesVudu
Runtime: 81 minutes

Part 3 of the Evil Dead series, Army of Darkness, sees housewares clerk Ash return, only to this time find himself in the Dark Ages fighting the Necronomicon's demonic power. He must victoriously battle the undead, with a chainsaw and shotgun, to be able to return to the present day. 

"Few American directors would dare to show as much over-the-top glee in their chosen craft as Sam Raimi does in Army of Darkness." — Richard Harrington, The Washington Post

Spider-Man 3

Metascore: 59
Best for: Comic fans with a passion for action, suspense, romance, and friendship
Where to watch:

, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu
Runtime: 139 minutes

In the final film of the Spider-Man trilogy, the original cast reunites for a final adventure. Peter Parker has finally settled into a relationship with his lifelong crush, Mary Jane Watson. But it isn't all roses and rainbows for Peter. The powers given to him by the genetically altered spider long ago continue to change, and this time, bring out his dark side. When that happens (including turning his spider suit black!) forces him into a battle with himself while simultaneously battling two supervillains, Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and Venom (Topher Grace).

"The good news about Spider-Man 3 is that it's more of the same — except better." — Stephanie Zacharek, Salon

UPDATED: This story was updated on May 9 to include the correct version of The Gift. A previous version of this story mistakenly included the 2015 feature film instead.