Critics Murder The Raven

Edgar Allen Poe fanfic is a dreary exercise in serial killer tropes
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2012 1:44 PM CDT

(Newser) – As far as critics are concerned, The Raven ought to be tossed in a cellar, sealed in with brick, and left to be forgotten. The thriller, which imagines Poe hunting down a serial killer inspired by his work, currently has a 20% on Rotten Tomatoes. Here's what critics are saying:

  • James McTeigue directs with "dark style and at galloping speed, neither of which disguise the fact that the movie often doesn’t make a lick of sense," writes Ty Burr of the Boston Globe. "If it were content to lighten up and admit it was trash, there might be some fun to be had."
  • The Raven "should not be mistaken for a movie about Edgar Allan Poe," warns Roger Ebert, at least not if you "find Poe a complex and fascinating man." This movie's more interested in "cobbling together spare parts from thrillers about serial killers," and its "melodramatic" Poe would have been better cast as Nick Cage.

  • It should have been called, "Edgar Allen Poe: Drunk Poet Detective," laments Leslie Felperin of Variety. "But that would have implied more entertainment value than this dreary exercise delivers." John Cusack tries to "project erratic temper by shouting a lot and bugging out his eyes," but the script gives him absolutely nothing to work with.
  • AO Scott of the New York Times was tickled by its "fannish obsessiveness" with all things Poe. "The film’s heart is in the right place (which is to say beating insistently under the floorboards)," he writes. But the plot, sadly, is an incoherent mess. "I suspect Poe’s review of it would have been much more savage than mine."

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