The Raven (15)

Directed By James McTeigue
On general release from 9th March 2012

Reviewed by Colin Serjent

Despite the film revealing little about the character or background of acclaimed horror writer Edgar Allan Poe, nor indeed the circumstances of his death, it was nevertheless entertaining to watch with a pinch of salt.

There were some ludicrous moments, particularly when Poe's girlfriend Emily (Alice Eve) escapes after being buried alive in a coffin for several days by a serial killer, with her hair looking as if it should feature in a Head And ShoulersTV advert, and with her dress unsoiled.

The movie captures Poe, portrayed well by John Cusack, at a time when his best days were distant memories, and he is struggling to make ends meet, even to the extent of begging for a drink in a bar.

Then he becomes the prime focus of the police when a psychopath goes on a murderous rampage in Baltimore in 1849, slaying people using similar methods as described in Poe's most famous books, such as The Premature Burial, The Pit And The Pendulum and The Murders In The Rue Morgue.

He teams up with Detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans- who bears an uncanny resemblance to Dominic West) to help bring an end to the bloodshed.

Director James McTeigue, given the subject matter, and the macabre nature of Poe's writings, fails to deliver enough dark suspense or genuine scary moments to make this a gothic or horror film of any renown.

Inexplicably, given the time period in which the film is set, the closing credits contain flashy modern day graphics accompanied by thunderous rock- type music. Not sure about Poe, more like poo!

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Comment left by Mike N on 23rd March, 2012 at 14:14
The film The raven fictionalises the last days in the life of Edgar Allen Poe, the giant of American Gothic Horror. The film is dark, brutal and blood – spattered, and will satisfy the Poe aficionado and the thrill – seeker. The former will recognise Poe’s stories; The murders in the Rue Morgue, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Tell Tale Heart, The Masque of the Red Death and The Cask of the Red Death and others. The latter will just enjoy the ride. The film director Roger Corman, famous for making cheap, quickly made exploitation movies in the 60s, specialized in filming these stories, often starring Vincent Price. Here, James McTeigue directs John Cusack’s Poe as arrogant and irascible, sponging drinks in bars and struggling to get paid for his literary endeavours. Coerced into helping the police solve a series of crimes inspired by his tales. The Raven charts Poe’s Descent into the Maelstrom. Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.” Recommended.