: The Raven
I love the concept of this film: involving the real Edgar Allen Poe in a murder mystery is genius. Unfortunately, this film doesn’t do anything with the concept.
The plot is trite: a madman, apparently a fan of Poe’s work, starts killing people in the same way that people die in his stories. That sounds somewhat intriguing and it would be, if the murders were interesting, but the movie seems to go out of its way to make them boring. Even the classic “pit and the pendulum” — where the entire purpose is the horror of seeing the pendulum coming closer and closer and knowing there’s nothing you can do to stop it from cutting you — is over in thirty seconds, literally no time to even build a modicum of suspense or tension.
Then the murderer, after getting Poe’s attention with murders from his stories, kidnaps the writer’s girlfriend and insists Poe write about it for the newspaper every day or he’ll kill again. This means we literally get to watch Poe write and editors read out loud what he writes. Very exciting.
Since we barely know Poe’s girlfriend (all we know is that she’s is pretty and her father opposes the union), we barely care about her. That might not matter if the quest to find her were interesting, but the murderer’s clues are so obtuse and dull that even the hunt is tedious.
The actual reveal of the murderer is anticlimactic, and though the ending is somewhat satisfying, the journey to get there feels like a slough. What is the point of the whole mess?
There are some nice elements, such as the look of the film, the period setting, and a few of the performances, but those are washed away by the insipid plot and some dreadful anachronisms (such as Poe calling a barfly a “mouth breather”). Best avoided. I am very disappointed as I was looking forward to this film.