By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 7, 2011 at 1:04AM
The period-based serial killer movie is a rare beast, one that has produced more notable misses in recent memory ("From Hell") than outright successes, but "The Raven" looks like it could be the pulpy good fun that we've been missing. Boasting an inventive concept, the first trailer for the film doesn't promise Oscars, but does indicate a juicy, bloody procedural with some complex kills that would make Kevin Spacey's character from "Se7en" proud.
The Wachowskis’ pal James McTeigue takes the director's chair, blending (some) fact with (mostly) fiction, with John Cusack starring as the famed Edgar Allan Poe, in a story where the author teams up with a detective (Luke Evans) to track down a murderer who mimics his work. In addition to ripping through his books for ideas on how to kill people, the murderer will also kidnap Cusack’s fiancée, played by Alice Eve. So if you're looking for an accurate biopic of Poe, look elsewhere, but as far as Hollywood "re-imaginings" go, this looks to be pretty inspired. The gruesome nature of the serial killer's work is played with a bit of morbid humor and there is a great, dark, gothic edge around the proceedings that seems to keep the stakes very real as well. McTeigue has never been lacking in visual flair, but he looks right at home in Old Timey New England Town.
In this gritty thriller, Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack, Being John Malkovich) joins forces with a young Baltimore detective (Luke Evans, Immortals) to hunt down a mad serial killer who's using Poe's own works as the basis in a string of brutal murders. Directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta, Ninja Assassin), the film also stars Alice Eve (Sex and the City 2), Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges) and Oliver Jackson-Cohen (Faster). When a mother and daughter are found brutally murdered in 19th century Baltimore, Detective Emmett Fields (Luke Evans) makes a startling discovery: the crime resembles a fictional murder described in gory detail in the local newspaper--part of a collection of stories penned by struggling writer and social pariah Edgar Allan Poe. But even as Poe is questioned by police, another grisly murder occurs, also inspired by a popular Poe story. Realizing a serial killer is on the loose using Poe's writings as the backdrop for his bloody rampage, Fields enlists the author's help in stopping the attacks. But when it appears someone close to Poe may become the murderer's next victim, the stakes become even higher and the inventor of the detective story calls on his own powers of deduction to try to solve the case before it's too late.