Given his macabre style of writing, Edgar Allan Poe probably would have liked the idea of something that made him turn in his grave, but even he would have drawn the line at the film The Raven.
This gothic thriller, starring John Cusack as the infamous author, revolves around a poorly developed storyline of a madman who begins committing horrific murders inspired by Poe’s darkest works.
As with all predicable thrillers, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues in which a young 19th century Baltimore detective, Emmett Fields (Evans), joins forces with Poe in a quest to get inside the killer’s mind and stop him from making Poe’s brutal stories a blood chilling reality.
From beginning to end, The Raven lacks creativity and cleverness. Director James McTeigue (V for Vendetta, Ninja Assassin) appears to have no real understanding of creating terror, and as such, what could have been a witty pastiche simply ended up being another cheesy slice-and-dice horror flick – think Saw meets Sherlock Holmes.
Whilst in theory the film appears to have it all, the miscasting and a mind-numbing lack of twists have let it down badly. Even, the director can’t even pull darkness off very well.
Poe would probably appreciate the irony that it’s a good 13 years since John Cusack made a really well received film – Being John Malkovich – and he is utterly unconvincing in the role of Poe and perhaps only cheesy-role-lover Nicolas Cage could have done a worse job. As for Brendan Gleeson, who plays Colonel Hamilton in the movie, he really should have known better.
Overall The Raven is thinly scripted, unevenly acted, and just generally preposterous. This film really is a disgrace to the legacy of Edgar Allen Poe – 111 minutes watching a raven perched on window sill would offer more thrills. So save your money, stay home and read his works instead.
The Raven (15)
Dir: James McTeigue; US thriller, 2012, 111 mins;
John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson
Premiered May 16