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The Globe and Mail

The Raven: Too much gore and too little wit

John Cusack portrays Edgar Allan Poe nd Alice Eve portrays Emily Hamilton in a scene from the gothic thriller "The Raven."

AP Photo/Relativity Media

2 out of 4 stars


A serial-killer flick with literary pretensions, The Raven is based on the premise that author Edgar Allen Poe (a hammy John Cusack) spent the last days of his life solving a series of serial murders, before he was found incoherent in the Baltimore streets.

At a crime scene in 1849, Detective Fields (Luke Evans) finds a mother and daughter murdered in a locked room and notices that the crime resembles a story from local roué and celebrity author Poe.

More copy-cat crimes follow, until Edgar Poe and Fields find themselves racing to save a pretty heiress (Alice Eve) who is bricked-up behind a wall ( The Cask of Amontillado, for those keeping score).

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The pervasive gore overpowers the few clumsy attempts at wit here, though the film does have one funny line.

As one of Poe's literary rivals watches a razor-edged pendulum slice into his abdomen, the man screams in protest: "But I'm only a critic!"

The Raven

  • Directed by James McTeigue
  • Written by Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare
  • Starring John Cusack, Alice Eve and Luke Evans
  • Classification: 18A
  • 2 stars
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