Monday, May 14, 2012

Dollar Bin (Not So) Splurge of the Week:The Raven(2012)

By Eric Polk-
If you've listened to Dollar Bin Horror Radio over the past few weeks, you may have noticed an ongoing argument between Rhonda and Brandon regarding the decline in the quality of John Cusack's recent work. To put it mildly, these tete-a-tetes between my two co-hosts almost goes into Jerry Springer territory.

I, for one, have no interest in this debate. Granted, he's an iconic 80s actor but he's not the first person I think of when I'm asked about my favorite decade. Having said that, it's time to put the screws to The Raven. I don't mean The Simpsons version of the poem or the former old-school ECW legend known as Raven.

Set during the last week of his life, Edgar Allen Poe has become a social pariah and penniless drunkard whose stories have not been circulated for some time. He has fallen in love with the beautiful young Emily Hamilton and desires to marry her but faces opposition from her father Captain Hamilton, a military man who loathes Poe and goes to the length of threatening physical violence.

When a mother and daughter are found brutally murdered, Detective Emmett Fields makes a startling discovery: the crime resembles a fictional murder described in gory detail in part of a collection of stories written by Poe. Almost all of his classic stories are covered from The Tell-Tale Heart to The Murders in Rue Morgue. Along with the gore, these are the good parts .

The bad...well...there is hardly any suspense other than whodunit and even then the motive is quite disappointing. One scene that really got my goad was The Pit and The Pendulum scene. They could have made it so much more intense. As far as John Cusack goes, he got on my nerves as well as my wife's(keep in mind, she's a huge fan of his). He made me almost want to burn my collection of Poe stories. He was an over-the-top hack in the beginning and in some portions of the film, a real whiner throughout the rest.  I'd like to think the real Poe was a bit less melodramatic.

While this film spits on the legacy of a legend, I hope that in no way it deters a newbie from exploring the macabre passions of this stellar poet/author.

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