I’m a horror movie buff. I love the feeling you get when you literally can’t stand to watch and must cover your eyes for fear of having your mind marred by something unthinkable. What frustrates me most about a horror movie is when they leave the unthinkable in plain sight, and it is not terrifying at all. In many of the best horror movies I’ve seen, it is what is not seen that makes me cringe. Think back to the not too distant Paranormal Activity phenomenon. The movie did more with less, and no budget than most bigger titles with massive budgets, and The Raven fills that gap perfectly.
The Raven is chronicling the fictional last days of Edgar Allen Poe, famous writer and poet. John Cusack is marginal as Edgar Allen Poe, bringing his own personality into the role where it may or may not have existed. His love, Emily, played poorly by Alice Eve, was not compelling at every turn. Their poor performances were mirrored by Luke Evans, as Detective Fields. All three main characters were portrayed with a lack of energy that made the story move much slower than it actually was.
The story was fairly straightforward. Poe’s stories are being brought to life and he is being challenged by his greatest fan to save the life of his love. There was nothing new about it, but it was interesting to see the cinematic presentation of many of his stories. The short scenes with his famous books being brought to life were the few instances, early on, where the story really flowed smoothly. But as the movie progressed, it became harder to watch. Ultimately, the story ends with an exchange, one life for the other, but by the end, I just didn't care anymore.
I can’t say I’d recommend this movie, I was barely interested in it as it closed, but Poe is a famous poet and author and certainly deserved better. The idea that this could occur was so exciting I didn’t think the movie would fall flat with acting that felt wooden. I am more disappointed in Cusack than I am anyone else. I feel like any movie I see him in, he’s the same person. I thought this was a malady reserved for Sean Connery.