The Raven (2012)

Director: James McTeigue
Starring: John Cusack, Alice Eve, Luke Evans, Brendan Gleeson,Oliver Jackson-Cohen, Sam Hazeldine, Dave Legeno. USA. 1h 51m

Journalism and celebrity are the subjects of this Victorian clad detective story. Fictionalising the final days of Edgar Allen Poe, giving him some majesty while being down and out in Baltimore 1849. No one wants to publish his iconic flavour of the macabre anymore and his life is in tatters.

The only one who can stop a serial killer is the man who inspired him

John Cusack plays a brilliant and witty Poe, despite being on skid row, always broke and hungover his mind is still on point, at times he almost vibes a bit of Rober Downey Junior’s Sherlock Holmes about him as be picks up the chase of a serial killer fan who gets a sadistic pleasure re-enacting out his best liteary works, rampaing through the city commiting the gristly scenes from Murders in the Rue Morge, the Pit and the Pendululm and leaving a clue or two for the writer to trail behind and daring Poe to catch him and write a new masterpiece.

Not seemingly happy to settle for the deep mysticism within Poe’s stories, there’s a hint of Se7en, Anamorph and even Saw among the cat and mouse chase and the only character missing is Vincent Price as some ultimate badass, but the nod to there being a serial killer in Baltimore before the birth of Hannibal Lecter is a touch of bright thinking.

The idea of drinking something that will kill you, but having time to carry on a conversation is, as they say, fraught with dramatic possibilities.


Overall the dark and brooding atmosphere engulfs everyone’s favourite poe story and the off shooting sinister plot slowly unfolds but burns out 10 minutes before the end when no more smart snippets from Poe’s tragic life or works can save the final minutes but it’s one of Cusacks better performances and he’s on true form.

Rating: 3/10

Related: Se7en (1995), Anamorph (2007),
Lists: 13 Poe Films
Spotlight: John Cusack


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