What could have been a creative, unique twist to the common thriller ends up being a typical, predictable and uneven movie. The Raven fails to impress on every level and just recycles tired themes and plot beats. There was nothing original in this story except for the use the name of Edgar Allan Poe.
Seems like director James McTeigue is unable to recapture the magic of V for Vendetta and although he is a capable director and there are solid sequences, overall The Raven feels…lackluster. Also, John Cusack‘s usual charm is lost here. We have seen this anti-hero before and Cusack plays Poe pretty straight forward and kind of dull. Wasn’t he suppose to be this mad genius? The supporting cast is promising on paper, but everyone is just dialing in a performance.
That pretty much sums up all the aspects of this film. We have seen this premise before. We seen this gore before (Saw anyone?). We have seen this villain before. And it has all been done better before.
The blame must be placed on the screenwriters, Ben Livingston and Hannah Shakespeare. Sure, they’re both young, inexperienced writers but still…they should know better. But, let us remember this is Hollywood. The land of remakes and recycled ideas. I can imagine the pitch–“Okay. It’s a period piece. You have a grisly serial killer. But…get this…the hero is Edgar Allan Poe!!” Answer? SOLD!
Alas. I just hope that Poe’s warning in The Raven does not come to pass…how sad would it be if originality is “Nevermore.”