The Raven – Surprisingly good Edgar Allan Poe based thriller

The RavenThe Raven by James Mc Tiegue on Cine+ Frisson (CanalSat)
My rating: 7 out of 10 stars

This movie is set in the mid 1800s and involves poet Edgar Allan Poe. A serial killer is on the loose and murdering people using Poe’s descriptions from his published stories and poems. Poe teams up with Detective Fields, a Baltimore policeman to try and catch the killer by using his knowledge of the descriptions. Even though the stories are fictional, they start to become reality and the killer is a step ahead of them. Then it takes on a personal note as Poe’s lover becomes a target. Will they stop the killer in time?

I just happened to find this movie in the program listings yesterday. Movies based on Edgar Allan Poe can be a bit hit or miss but I like quite a few of his works so I decided to give this one a try. I have to say that it is surprisingly good. The Victorian era setting together with the rather dark plot and atmosphere makes for a very enjoyable old times thriller. The movie is based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe but not in the usual way that one would  think when one says based on. Instead the story in this movie is a new story spun around Edgar Allan Poe as a person where his work is used by the evil mastermind in that the various stories are re-enacted in real life…with deadly results.

I, for obvious reasons, have no idea how Edgar Allan Poe was as a person and I did not really have any pre-conceived opinions before watching this movie either. I can imagine that he, as a poet and writer of rather grisly stories, might have been a wee bit excentric though so to me John Cusack’s performance as the rather excentric, somewhat alcoholic and sometimes almost insane but still brilliant Edgar Allan Poe was a very good one. Not that the rest of the actors are below par by any means.

The story, if you take it apart and remove the parts taken from Poe’s original works, is not really something to jump up and down over. However, put it together with the bits and pieces from Poe, add the characterization of Poe by Cusack, the dark Victorian ambiance and generally well implemented cinematics and you have a movie that is, as I wrote above, surprisingly good.

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