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