20th Century Fox
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Product Description A brutal killing spree terrorizes 19th-century Baltimore and a young detective turns to a notorious author for help getting inside the mind of a serial killer in the stylish, gothic thriller, The Raven, an audacious reimagining of the lurid tales of Edgar Allan Poe. Starring John Cusack as the infamous inventor of the detective fiction genre and Luke Evans as an ambitious sleuth determined to stop more of Poe's gruesome stories from coming to chilling life--and death--The Raven weaves history and fiction into an original and twisted mystery worthy of the master of the macabre himself.When a mother and daughter are found viciously murdered in 19th-century Baltimore, Detective Emmett Fields (Evans) makes a startling discovery: the crime resembles a fictional murder described in gory detail in the local newspaper--part of a collection of stories penned by struggling writer and social outcast Edgar Allan Poe (Cusack). But even as Poe is questioned by police, another grisly killing occurs, also inspired by a popular Poe story.A deadly game of cat and mouse ensues as the pair races to stop a madman from turning every one of the author's shocking stories into blood-curdling reality. When Poe's love, Emily (Alice Eve), becomes the killer's next target, the stakes are raised even higher and he must call on his own powers of deduction to try to solve the case before it's too late. Amazon.com That's Edgar Allan Poe himself, staggering around a tavern and challenging patrons to finish a simple line of doggerel they really ought to recognize: "'Quoth the Raven…' Anyone?" The only person croaking out a "Nevermore" is a Frenchman, wouldn't you know it. Such are the humiliations for poor Poe (played by John Cusack) in The Raven, an attempt to recast the tortured author as an investigator in a fiendish series of murders drawn from his own writings. He's enlisted by a Baltimore detective (Luke Evans, Immortals) to assist in the sleuthing, even though Poe would rather be drinking or wooing a fair maiden (Alice Eve), or probably both. (He doesn't seem to have a lot of time for writing.) This Sherlock Holmes-ian concoction might have worked if director James McTeigue had found a way to maintain interest in the actual storyline, but the movie's weirdly dull--even with a damsel in distress for the second half of the action, the characters are colorless and the direction mechanical. Cusack gives it his all, wrapping a sneer around a handful of one-liners that George Sanders might've enjoyed, but the gore and the quips sit uneasily together, in a desperate hunt for a proper tone. And while this kind of vehicle isn't expected to provide documentary reality, it must be said that the movie never convinces us this person is remotely close to the actual writer called Edgar A. Poe. The Raven couldn't handle that level of perversity. --Robert Horton