The Raven (2012) * * * * *
Director: James McTeigue
Stars: John Cusack, Alice Eve and Luke Evans
This movie is bloody brilliant. Go see it now!
What? You want more?
Ok here's the deal. Bob's been wanting to see this movie for weeks, and while I thought it might be interesting, I wasn't nearly as excited about it as he was. But it turns out that The Raven is totally amazing. John Cusack (whom I adore) was completely brilliant as the washed-up has-been Poe, who is having an illicit affair with Emily Hamilton, the love of his life, when suddenly an insane person begins committing grisly murders that are based on Poe's stories. Detective Fields, played by Luke Evans, notices the connection to Poe's horror tales and drags Poe in as a consultant. But when the psychotic killer kidnaps Emily in a shocking and dramatic fashion, Poe and Detective Fields must race against the clock to solve the mystery in time to save young Emily's life.
One of the great things about the film is that even though Emily is kidnapped, she isn't a shrinking-violet or damsel-in-distress type at all, and fights back against the kidnapper in some ingenious ways, which was thrilling to watch. Rather than waiting around for some man to show up and rescue her, she does everything she can to rescue her own damn self, and at one point very nearly succeeds. Alice Eve plays the role of Emily, and does a darn fine job of portraying a strong woman who isn't afraid to fight back.
The film mixes multiple genres easily and almost defies definition - is it comedy horror, or mystery thriller? Yes, totally. Police procedural / romance? Sure, there's some of that too. The narrative weaves in and out of all these smoothly and seamlessly while telling the story from several perspectives, which has the advantage of making the viewer doubt who the killer is and keeps one guessing until almost the very end. It is, simply put, a bloody brilliant movie!
And I should mention that it is bloody in several places. Most of the "icky" isn't any worse than what one would see on TV in shows like "Bones" or any of the "CSI" shows, but there is one scene specifically that made me squeamish, and that's where the killer is imitating the Pit and the Pendulum. It's straight up gross, I'm not gonna lie. Thankfully, it was also very short, and most of the horror derives from the suspense and anticipation than the actual gory act of the death itself.
Other than that it was a great movie, and I loved it far more than I expected I would. John Cusack seriously shines in the role, and I highly recommend The Raven, even to folks who might not normally be a fan of the horror genre. Give it a chance and there might be something there you'll like. Just watch out for giant falling metal blades.
Have you seen The Raven yet? What'd you think? Let me know in the comments!