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The Raven (3 stars)

Thriller hypothesing final days of Edgar Allan Poe falls prey to genre cliches

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The Raven

(15) 111min

As the opening titles to The Raven tell us, until he was found near death on a park bench in October 1849, Edgar Allan Poe’s final days remain a mystery. Spinning a macabre tale that might feel at home in one of Poe’s stories, this thriller from James McTeigue (V For Vendetta) offers up a (very) fictional hypothesis of what might have happened.

Like Se7en minus the biblical references, the film depicts Poe (John Cusack) getting sucked into a game of cat-and-mouse when a deranged fan starts slaying people, inspired by the grisly deaths in the writer’s fiction. One particularly luckless victim even gets sliced up by a swinging blade (à la The Pit and the Pendulum).

Cusack offers up a vibrant performance, accompanied by a credible Alice Eve (the obligatory love interest) and Luke Evans (the Inspector on the case). But McTeigue lets the story drag in the second half, with one too many chases down cobbled streets as the shadowy killer gets away in the nick of time. Hardly a fitting epitaph, you might think, to a writer of Poe’s stature.

General release from Fri 9 Mar.

The Raven (2012) - Official Trailer [HD]

The Raven

  • 3 stars
  • 2012
  • US
  • 111 min
  • 15
  • Directed by: James McTeigue
  • Written by: Ben Livingston/Hannah Shakespeare
  • Cast: John Cusack, Alice Eve, Luke Evans
  • UK release: 9 March 2012

Edgar Allan Poe (Cusack) is forced to play cat-and-mouse when a deranged fan starts slaying people in ways inspired by his fiction. Despite a vibrant performance from Cusack and credible support from Eve and Evans, the story drags, with one too many chases down cobbled streets; hardly a fitting epitaph.

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