Quote the Raven Nevermore, a line that has struck terror into the hearts of millions over the generations. Edgar Allen Poe certainly was the master of maim, glory, and poetry lore. So when I saw that a movie was to be made centering on his work, I’ll admit I was very excited for this film, especially since they put a suspense twist in his work. That’s right my friends this review is on The Raven starring (John Cusack) and I’m here to give you the scoop on this latest murder mystery.
For those who haven’t seen any of the trailers, I’ll shed a little light on the plot. The Raven opens with a murder of a mother and her twelve year old daughter being found murdered in a gruesome fashion. After some thorough investigation from Inspector Fields (Luke Evans), they realize that this crime is similar to one of Poe’s stories. Soon the Baltimore police enlist Poe to help solve the crime of the mysterious murder. However, Poe and discover that this one murder is just the opening move in a deadly game of wit that will challenge Poe’s mind and character to its limits.
Trailer paints a nice picture doesn’t it? Yet as we all know the people who make movie trailers are artists who know how to ensnare the audience in well edited traps and make something bad look good. In this movie though that’s not the case, because I felt the trailer finally justified what the movie actually was about. The suspense the trailer promised is present throughout the movie, from one nail biting scene to the next. How was this done? Well there were two major things that kept my interest glued to the screen. The first trick was what story was next going to be the next clue in the mystery and how they were going to solve it. If you are a Poe fan like me, then you will be looking for the clues yourself, almost partaking in the case yourself, as you try to figure out where Poe and Fields will go to next. Those who are not familiar with his work, no worries as the directors will have audiences wondering what next sick deed the murderer has. This brings me to the second factor that kept my interest, which is who the killer is. At first, I thought I had the killer solved at the beginning, but as the movie progressed, I had to change my mind and soon learned that this movie wasn’t as I expected. Thus, this unpredictability gets some bonus points on my scale, and hopefully will be as enjoyable to you as it was to me.
What else was good about it? Well the editing in this movie is well done. All the camera work and sound work are combined to really bring out the movie’s potential. You may not realize it, but the music adds extra emotion to the scene, helping to increase the suspense and tension of the chase, or bring out the eerie tone in the music. The acting wasn’t too bad as well, but most of the camera time was reserved for Cusack and Evans. Cusack captured the intensity of a detective, and did have some other qualities that gave Poe some life. However, I don’t feel that the creepiness and insanity that made Poe a legend was portrayed instead being replaced for a more relatable character to the audience. Also there were times where I felt Cusack overacted with the screaming, but again that is just me. Evans on the other hand nailed the detective role down to the letter, using his intense and calm voice that the common detective seems to have in every modern media today. However, when it came to showing other emotions, well he didn’t quite reach the bar like I thought he would.
Despite these acting flaws though the acting was pretty solid. For once it is tough for me to really pick out any weaknesses, but I can think of just a few things to warn you about. One thing is the graphicness of some of the kills. There are some haunting images in this film and unlike the cheesy gory filled kills in modern slasher movies, this movie may make you cringe. Those that don’t like narrow spaces may also feel a little confined in a few scenes, where you may get anxious and uncomfortable. A few parts in the movie are a bit slow too, particularly at the end when everything is coming to a close. Although it helps tie things up, in the back of your mind you are ready for the movie to show the last scene and cut the trailers, especially if you have to go to the bathroom like I did.
Overall The Raven is a solid suspense movie that should appeal to a variety of mystery fans. The well edited scenes, decent acting, and clever use of Poe’s work pain an interesting tail, that I feel will keep you entertained for the entire 108 minutes. Is it worth a trip to the theater? I say yes, mainly because of the sound-video combination and the decent tale, but if not well then I strongly suggest a Netflix rent. My scores for this movie are the following:
Movie overall: 8.5
I warn you again about the graphicness, and strongly urge you not to bring children to this film. So tune in next time for my review on Pirates: Band of Misfits. Until then enjoy the movies!