MFR Rating: ★ ★
This is a rather bizarre piece of literary revisionism. Why anyone thought there was a market for turning Edgar Allan Poe’s quiet death on a park bench into a horrific gothic tale featuring murder, horror and a serial killer I’m not quite sure, but the off-the-wall idea is at least worth a little applause.John Cusack stars as the nineteenth century writer, living in 1849 Baltimore when he’s told his dark literary work is being used as inspiration for a series of horrific murders causing Detective Fields (Luke Evans) to ask Poe himself to aid the investigation. Poe is quite an interesting character, certainly a bit of a rogue but Cusack fails to turn him into much of a screen presence. The film just lacks much tension to tie together all the macabre gruesomeness, which makes it feel like its carrying on for much longer than it really is. When you know how it’s going to end with Poe’s death there’s very little to make you care about the story, particularly with a script that tries to hold your hand throughout, stifling the film from providing the tension it seeks.
The Raven is out now in the UK and out on 27 April in the US. Running time 111 mins. Certificate 15 (UK).
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Review by David Rank