It may not garner him an Oscar nomination, but John Cusak mopes, grimaces, and brings some depth to renowned writer Edgar Allan Poe in "The Raven".
In a tribute to the writings of Poe, this fictional movie succeeds. It's 1849 and Poe is living in Baltimore where a serial killer is murdering his/her victims in the manner described in the writer's horrific stories. Detective Fields (Luke Evans) at first suspects Mr. Poe, then discovers a lunatic is on the loose that is trying to frame the infamous storyteller.
"The Pit and the Pendulum," "The Tell-Tale Heart," and "Murders in the Rue Morgue" are all referenced in this visually flat film. Cusak and Fields unintentionally bring humor to their roles, while director James McTeigue ("V for Vendetta") films this period piece as blandly as possible. "The Raven" ends up a largely forgettable mystery/thriller.
Of the disc's seven special features, two are brief throwaways:
"Behind the Beauty and Horror" is a promotional piece featuring snippets from the much better feature "The Raven Guts: Bringing Death to Life," an in-depth making of the film. "The Raven Presents John Cusak & James McTeigue" had promise as a feature but ends up as a quick question-and-answer session between actor and director.
Seven deleted/extended scenes don't give the viewer any more insight into "The Raven." But "The Madness, Misery, and Mystery of Edgar Allan Poe" is an intriguing biopic on Poe's early life and his still mysterious death.
Blu-ray Combo Pack