Edgar Allan Poe is one of America’s most notable writers, having created such masterpieces as “The Pit and the Pendulum,” "The Tell-Tale Heart," and “The Raven.” John Cusack plays the legendary writer as he is caught within his own work of fiction when a serial killer starts murdering people using the same methods described in his short stories. Is this just a coincidence or is something more devilish afoot?
The Raven acts as one massive tribute to the famous writer. Set in a period before Poe’s notoriety, the film portrays Poe as a pariah and social outcast of society. Despite this, he manages to find love with Emily Hamilton (Alice Eve), a wealthy socialite whose father absolutely despises him. Their love is quickly extinguished when Emily is kidnapped by the serial killer who then forces Poe to follow the clues of the murders in order to save her in time.
Poe fanatics will enjoy seeing some of their favorite short stories come to life in grisly detail as people are cut in half by swinging pendulums and buried behind walls deep within underground caverns. Like Poe’s stories, the film leaves nothing to the imagination and adequately captures the horrors and madness that once came from this man’s imagination.
John Cusack does a fairly good portray of Edgar Allan Poe. He’s a vastly intelligent writer who has just the right amount of arrogance as well. The language he uses is very descriptive and fits the style of his writings perfectly. His supporting cast is decent, but frankly not memorable. Alice Eve spends much of the film trapped within her captor’s prison and the only other notable performance comes from Luke Evans as Inspector Emmett Fields, the man tasked with leading the murder investigation.
The Raven takes audiences on a trip through the mind of Edgar Allan Poe’s “biggest fan” and does so in gruesome detail. Regardless if you’re a fan of his work or not, if you enjoy a good detective story the film doesn’t disappoint.
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