Using a blend of murder mystery, elements of the horror genre and bloody violence, The Raven tries to offer up a reason for the death of the well known poet and short story writer Edgar Allan Poe. Introducing the audience in its opening scene to 19th century Baltimore amidst a bloody murder, the tone and pace of The Raven is set to be one of chills that follow one another in quick bursts while sporadic and to an extent less helpful dialogue fills the gaps.
The cast is led by John Cusack portraying the poet himself, who at various times plays a rather competent role while at others is found to be rather disappointing as the role never allows for the full use of his talents. The largest fault to be found within The Raven, despite its use of brutal violence at irregular intervals that lead into almost comedic responses, is the poorly written script itself. Though it is sure to entertain some, many will feel let down by its thin premise, lack of depth and almost comically placed structure.
The environment of the film however may make up for the other lacking elements as an atmosphere of terror and death matches much of Poe’s work and the narrative it serves. However, despite this factor and the efforts clearly put in by Cusack, The Raven as a whole is ultimately disappointing and never seems to reach its full potential.