Review | THE RAVEN (2012)
Edgar Allan Poe’s mysterious death at age 40 is wildly spun into this grisly detective tale that has moments of shocking gore and nail-biting suspense, resulting in an uneasy and moody film fit for Poe’s titular poem, ‘The Raven’.
John Cusack (Being John Malkovich) - spotting heavy eye bags and a haggard attire - fleshes out the role of Poe in the most common (mis)conceptions of the literary great: a poor, drunkard author struggling to release himself from a writer’s block.
Perhaps comfortable playing another jittery protagonist in a movie (remember doomsday film 2012?), Cusack is his usual rattling self here, sprouting off prose-like lines with ease. It is not long before he degenerates into a convincing portrayal of a man on the brink of insanity, when a perverse serial killer whose murders are inspired by the stories of Poe kidnaps his girlfriend Emily (Alice Eve).
The film certainly has fun piling on the sick thrills as a young Baltimore detective, Fields (Immortals’ Luke Evans, acting down to his eyebrows), uncovers crime after crime of blood-filled murders, best described as a 19th century ‘Final Destination’. A particularly harrowing scene involving a blade on a pendulum will most likely make you lose interest in your popcorn, as evident by the shrieks in the audience.
While director James McTeigue of V for Vendetta fame is no stranger to staging exciting and nerve-wrecking sequences, the film does suffer from some serious pacing issues, making the whodunit structure rather uneven towards the end. When the final revelation arrives, the out-of-the-blue identity of the killer leaves the audience no time to gasp, before realizing that the film is ending as we learn the fate of Poe.
But that said, for fans of the macabre and goth, this is a rather slickly-produced film of atmosphere and occasional intensity that will reasonably satiate your appetite.
As featured on InCinemas.sg.