The Raven (2012)

So, this is a quick review as I’m off to Uni soon and it occurred to me that I’ve made all these lists and have only ticked off like, one thing. How crap.

SO, my second review is on The Raven, directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta). Starring John Cusack as the brilliant Edgar Allan Poe. Personally, I was really excited to hear about this film; I thought with the introduction of Sherlock Holmes the cinematic demand for 19th Century thriller would be quenched but McTeigue obviously felt that it was only a way in.

The Raven tells the story of Poe after his success with the Tell-Tale Heart and is now stuck in a preverbiable wastehole, drowning in alcohol and his undying love for the young (but not so young in the film) Emily (Alice Eve). Anyway, some madman comes along and starts committing all these murders in the style of Poe’s previous stories, the first murder is taken from The Murders in the Rue Morgue in which a mother’s throat is slit and the daughter is strangled and stuffed up the chimney. So we come to the first reason why I really quite liked this film. Although these murders are copies of Poe’s original stories, McTeigue gives proper credit to the gruesome deaths with the correct amount of fear and mystery.

These murders go on and eventually Emily is kiddnapped. At her father’s party. Surrounded by police and household staff as well as guests and Poe himself. But no, she gets kidnapped and taken away and buried in the ground. Lovely. But pretty fitting in comparison with the mystery killer. Poe’s stories are gruesome and morbid and meant to send a chill down the spine of the audience no matter what era they might be from (Black Cat still makes me cringe). The film captures that side of grotesque and chilling well.

However, (as always) the film lacked character, though Cusack is one of my favourite actors his perception of Poe was of an unconventional hero (much like Lloyd from Say Anything…, Rob from High Fidelity) rather than the writer he was. In this film he takes on the role of detective; the writers have obviously tried to incorporate the writing side to the er, writer but this has actually turned into an episode of Castle or something.

Spoiler. Poe dies at the end. On a bench in a park in Baltimore with all the mystery surrounding it as the actual death of Edgar Allan Poe. I thought this was a nice touch, to end a, at the very least, exciting interpretation on the last days of one of the greatest horror writers to ever live.


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