The Raven (2012)

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A serial killer using Edgar Allen Poe’s ideas as inspiration for his killings challenges the writer to a dual of wits to end his reign of terror.

On the surface, The Raven is fairly typical of the kind of Sherlock Holmes style mystery thriller common to Hammer Horror and its mix of bustiered damsels, midnight graveyards and horse-drawn carriages racing through fog enshrouded cobbled streets. In fact the film looks very nice indeed, an early scene involving a pit and pendulum showing a lot of promise for old style Gothic horror. The plot however never lives up to the visuals and despite John Cusack’s reliable presence for which he dispenses some amusing literary barbs, the script just descends into the usual serial killer movie cliches. It’s the kind of film that could’ve been saved from mediocrity by a strong ending but it falters at the final hurdle with glib and predictable contrivance rather than anything inventive or original.

Nothing like as terrible as its reputation suggests, but The Raven is more adequate than inspiring.

5.5/10

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