On paper, The Raven is awesome. Having Edgar Allan Poe try and solve murders linked to his own stories is a premise which could be used for just about any writer and... you know what? I'd be up for that franchise. Can you imagine? Jules Verne-themed murders with Jules Verne himself on the case? Tunneling down to the center of the Earth to find some crazed criminal in a hot-air balloon...
Silly? Perhaps. But also pretty darn great.
The Raven has a fun concept and although the reviews were rather harsh with it upon its release, this is a terrific little movie! Like Sleepy Hollow, The Raven brings back the vibe and gothic sensibilities of old Hammer horror movies and does so brilliantly creating a unique whodunit that's both camp and completely involving. This is mostly thanks to John Cusack's fun interpretation of the Poe character, the film's slick, moody look and, funnily enough, the love story at the heart of it all. Rare thing that, a romantic subplot in a thriller you don't actually want to cut out of the film entirely and actually works really well. This is one couple you don't really want to see get the Sweeney Todd treatment.
Funnily enough, this is a film I was looking forward to but was expecting to be sorely disappointed by, much like Dorian Gray a couple of years ago. The difference here being that this time I was pleasantly surprised, the film keeping my interest from start to finish and, despite its inherent B movie-ness, proving to be surprisingly well made. It's a movie Tim Burton I'm sure would have been happy to have on his resumé. As a thriller it's dark, stylish and suspenseful if occasionally predictable near the end, as a Hammer-style fantasy it's spot-on and completely entertaining. Remember how actually decent The Illusionist was? Same type of thing but better.
Overall, The Raven is most definitely an underrated effort so if you get a chance to check it out I suggest you give it a go, you might find yourself thinking the Poe-turned-sleuth plot even makes sense!
That's how cool this movie is.