The Raven is a fictional account of the last days of American writer/poet Edgar Allan Poe's life. And after watching this movie you won't even state it as semi-biographical.
The Raven made a little above $22m below its budget of $26m worldwide. But it should've grossed more given that it is one of the four mainstream horror features to be released this year, and a decent one. Directed by James McTeigue (V for Vendetta, Ninja Assassin), and written by Ben Livingston along with Hannah Shakespeare. Poe's life couldn't be more action-orientated than depicted.
Sure there are good points to swallow before realising you ate that whole bag of popcorn at half-time. It starts quite well and mysteriously. Detective Fields played by Luke Evans is a fun character and has enough charm to convince the audience that he can convince an egoistic author to aid in a murder investigation. But seriously, if there was Sherlock Holmes he would've solved the case in the first hour. The film follows Poe aiding in a murder investigation (as already mentioned) in which the killer is copying killings depicted in the respective story-teller's tales.
Apart from John Cusack (Poe) and Luke Evans, British blonde Alice Eve plays Poe's love interest. She's OK at it. Dialogues are literary as expected and dialogue delivery especially by Cusack is top notch. Also, the atmosphere is so stunning and with such finely tuned atmosphere that it is worth praise. Direction is praise-worthy as McTeigue made his two previous films so wonderfully gruesome.
The main core of the problem is the screenwriting. After the first hour, the film becomes a bit too predictable. Huge number of plotholes that I cannot mention seem to have been blindly added by the script-writers. Another point to mention is that better policework should've been included in Baltimore in the mid-1800s as shown in the film.
All in all, The Raven is an above average thriller with a few action scenes to keep the adrenaline pumping, or in this case, start up the tempo. After reading the plot mystery fans would be highly interested to see this but I was disappointed. Seems the movie could not balance action and mystery as well as the first 21st century Sherlock Holmes film did. The Raven could've earned more if Cusack was a brand name like Nicolas Cage (in his golden box-office days). Sadly, after starring in well-known movies such as 2012 and 1408 - both in which he plays authors - this film couldn't double its budget.
Rotten Tomatoes: 56%.