Director James McTeigue fictionalized (if somewhat romanticized) famed gothic author Edgar Allen Poe’s final days. In this account, someone has taken their step of Poe’s work of fiction one step too far and begins murdering townsfolk in a series of brutal and macabre style murders lifted from Poe’s famous novel, THE RAVEN. It’s up to Poe and Inspector Emmet Fields to track down the killer as he taunts them with coded messages and homages to the works of Poe and other literary giants.
THE RAVEN is a SAW movie with the production designers from FROM HELL with the script writer from SEVEN and the director of V FOR VENDETTA (only that last part is true). It’s a slick-looking film with mood setting tones of darkness and atmosphere that puts you right in the setting. John Cusack has never sucked in the acting department so his mad, poor, drunk take on Edgar Allen Poe anchored the film from taking itself too seriously which is a good thing. The filmmakers obviously relished in the scenes of torture and mayhem and I enjoyed the intensity along with them.
THE RAVEN is a slick film with all the key ingredients in place. It has capable actors, great sets, intense and violent kills and a palpable infatuation for the world of Edgar Allen Poe’s stories. Having said that- this film is incredibly boring. The pace is slow, other than the Poe none of the characters are particularly interesting and by the time the killer is revealed I had to ask myself: “Who was that guy?” There were also too many references to Poe’s work that unless you’re familiar with his stories, they’ll go over you head. But then again, how can you do a movie about Poe and not reference any of his work?
THE RAVEN is a SAW movie for the pretentious people who thought those films lacked substance. Unfortunately the substance in this film was covered in 100 other films we’ve seen before, good production design, and John Cusack. Instead of watching a movie about someone inspired by Edgar Allen Poe, the best alternative would be to go to your local library (or bookstore) and buy any story by Edgar Allen Poe and actually read the gothic writers stories. It’s cheaper and more entertaining than the uninspired riff this movie was.
** out of 4
I went to our IPIC Movie Theater (awesome chain) and had the buffalo wings and Kettle One dirty martini. Thank you Kettle One.