I generally don’t do period dramas, but I do like a little John Cusack in my life, and a period drama that promises horror scenes and violence does sound rather intriguing. The Raven brings the macabre tales of Edgar Allan Poe to life with a blood spattering vision that is part Saw and part Sherlock Holmes. This dark and brooding thriller aims to suggest a different take on the final days of Poe’s short and alcoholic life, by creating a serial killer who perpetrates horrific murders inspired by Poe’s stories.
The connection between the murders and Poe’s writing is first noticed by a Baltimore Police Detective who at first brings Poe in a for questioning, but later has him on his tam helping to track the killer from one gristly murder to the next.
Things escalate when the killer kidnaps Poe’s love interest, making the game of cat and mouse a rather personal vendetta for Poe.
Cusack brings a brooding depressed Poe to life, with a little humour and a large dose of self pity along with the baggage of inner demons. Brendon Gleeson adds interest with the role of Poe’s love interest’s father, who naturally hates Poe. The love interest in question is played by Alice Eve who for the most part is nothing more than eye candy, till she gets to take a turn at being Ryan Reynolds character Paul Conroy for a spell, where she manages to achieve more than Reynolds did, to some degree.
The Raven is not going to make it on anyone’s top ten list, but it’s a good solid drama/thriller that makes for a decent night’s entertainment. Not quite violent enough for horror fans despite the FVLB warnings but possibly a little too much for squeamish period drama fans.
Reviewed by: Jonathan Read