The Raven (2012)

Rating: **
Release Date: 4/27/12
Cast: John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve

A preposterous attempt to extrapolate a murder mystery out of Edgar Allan Poe's mysterious death. Suffering from writer's block, a broke Poe (John Cusack) is called upon by the Baltimore Police to help solve a crime that was inspired by one of his stories. The gruesome murder is only the first of many that follow Poe's designs, and it becomes clear that the killer is baiting Poe and taunting the authorities to stop him before he kills again. Things become desperate for Poe when the killer abducts his girlfriend, Emily (Alice Eve), and threatens to kill her if Poe doesn't solve the mystery quickly enough.

It's a gloomy and gory film, and the locations are used to great effect. Unfortunately, the writing is weak and Cusack's portrayal of Poe is awkward and often uncomfortable to watch. While he certainly looks the part, Cusack's Poe is not at all a likable character, which makes it difficult to relate to and empathize with him. The beautiful Alice Eve looks sorely out of place in the film, and offers little more than eye candy and a heaving bosom (and alarmingly perfect teeth). Luke Evans is the only one you can take seriously, and his tense portrayal of Detective Fields is appropriately restrained. The music score is nice, if not a little over the top, and the closing credits are the biggest chaotic mess I've seen in a long time. One has to wonder what the producers were thinking with that. Pretty mediocre on all fronts, but at least it sparked some interest in reading Poe's original work.