Mr. Cusack works himself into a lather trying to reconcile the contradictory parts of an incoherent character. In, I am sorry to say, an incoherent movie.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
A serial killer/Gothic drama/love story hybrid, it has some nicely mounted atmospheric scenes and strong acting from John Cusack as Edgar Allan Poe.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
We immediately understand why Cusack is not known for playing men who lived before 1984.
John DeFore - Washington Post
A grimly preposterous serial-killer thriller set in 19th-century Baltimore, this riff on the final days of the author of "The Tell-Tale Heart" and other masterpieces of the macabre might qualify as literary desecration if it weren't so silly.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
This wannabe Sherlockian thriller is like a night spent at Madame Tussauds, watching mannequins strangle other mannequins.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
The subject matter screams out for cleverness and depth, the sort of mind-bending twists and satisfying darkness that Poe himself would love. It finds them only in small doses.
John Wenzel - Denver Post
The director who stitched The Raven together has no idea how to frame or compose a scene, let alone 'grow' a film organically.
Kathleen Murphy - MSN Movies
"The Raven," a feverish costume thriller, attempts to explain Poe's death by cobbling together spare parts from thrillers about serial killers.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Quoth the raven: "Eh."
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
Edgar Allan Poe invented the detective story, so turning him into the heroic sleuth of a mystery thriller makes perfect sense.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
Director James McTeigue has no feel for humor or terror, making what could have been a witty pastiche into another cheesy slice-and-dice horror flick.
Colin Covert - Minneapolis Star Tribune
The Raven is a squawking, silly picture that never takes flight.
Leslie Felperin - Variety
It's good pulpy fun, with eye catching period trimmings, and Hungarian locations standing in ably for 19th century Maryland.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
If Edgar Allen Poe were alive today, working as a Hollywood screenwriter (God forbid), I suspect he'd be penning not the abysmal script for The Raven but something called The Fall of the House of Cusack.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
Never commits to the kind of full-bore lunacy that might have made the film a campy pleasure.
Eric D. Snider - Film.com
The pervasive gore overpowers the few clumsy attempts at wit here...
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
The Raven looks great and is well-paced, but a lack of a compelling resolution makes it an anemic effort.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
It's just a bore; quoth the raven, "Go see something else."
David Germain - Associated Press
Until The Raven almost literally loses itself during a chase in the city sewers, it nicely balances its literary gamesmanship with a R-rated thriller's mandatory gross-out tableaux.
Richard Corliss - TIME Magazine
It's 'Saw' meets 'Sherlock Holmes.' "
Richard Roeper - Richard Roeper.com
It's neither grand nor grisly enough to seriously satisfy Poe-ish cravings for murder, mystery and literary allusions.
Betsy Sharkey - Los Angeles Times
Sean Burns - Philadelphia Weekly
A crudely written and wholly uninspired thriller that's unlikely to win anyone over to the horror master's oeuvre.
Steve Newton - Georgia Straight
The Raven is a movie with its wings clipped; a murder mystery that feels strangely subdued.
Ali Gray - TheShiznit.co.uk
The problem is that "The Raven" is all surface. The movie is nothing but its fun idea, without much development or ingenuity
Tim Grierson - Deadspin
Even though this film has more than its share of dark, gruesome elements, there is also enough of a sense of playfulness in it to help make it entertaining.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
I'd say that nine bucks is probably also the current going rate for Livingston & Shakespeare's next script.
Walter Chaw - Film Freak Central
A bizarre mishmash of historical elements and subpar on-screen drama capped off with an underwhelming but serviceable performance from John Cusack
Ben Kendrick - ScreenRant
It's silly, has plot holes big enough to drive a truck through and is little more than a gothic version of Law & Order, yet it has a macabre charm that will keep you interested for the film's duration.
Kristal Cooper - We Got This Covered
Despite Cuasck's occasional missteps as the writer, "The Raven" is an entertaining thriller.
Justin Craig - FoxNews.com
Entertaining and fun to be sure, despite it's goofy premise. But it's not nearly as chilling as reading Poe's stories for yourself.
Witney Seibold - CraveOnline
A formulaic murder mystery and a blase, unenlightening look at the life of Edgar Allan Poe that could really have used an imp of the perverse.
William Bibbiani - CraveOnline
For mystery lovers, there isn't much to do except watch the story play out. A distinct shortage of suspects could mean guessing the killer's identity won't be much of a challenge for fans of the genre.
Paul Chambers - CNNRadio
Cusack is miscast as Poe
Robert Denerstein - Movie Habit
... one of the most moronically stupid screenplays since the advent of talking pictures ...
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
The only real imagination in the whole film comes late--in the rather terrifically designed end titles.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
John Cusack is very much miscast here. He was about as believable as Matthew Broderick would be as Abraham Lincoln.
Austin Kennedy - Sin Magazine
Directed with no mystery or imagination...
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
If you take it as agreeably macabre nonsense, yes, you might enjoy it. If you're going to have a conniption fit over every historical inaccuracy, however, give it a pass.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
An infuriating mix of amateurish writing and flowery antique speech; of sublime romance and hopeless pedantry; of atmospheric melancholy and risible smugness
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
The maniac on the loose i less Jack the Ripper than a literarily inclined nobody, and not even a butler, to boot.
Marc Savlov - Austin Chronicle
Did Nicolas Cage finally say "no" to a cheesy role? It looks like John Cusack got to this one first.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
A movie that relies totally on the talent of John Cusack Hopefully nevermore.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
The Raven can't quite live up to the promise of its irresistibly high-concept premise.
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Despite the best atmospheric cliches the filmmakers could conjure (lanterns, fog, sewers), there isn't much suspense because you don't care much for the characters.
Tyler Chase - Paste Magazine
Fails to fully catch the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe, but it's better than the majority of films his name has been attached to.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
The movie doesn't get at, not even nearly, how Edgar Allan Poe's dilemma is complicated by the vexing pleasures of crass entertainments.
Cynthia Fuchs - PopMatters
...a by-the-book spook show
Bill Gibron - Filmcritic.com
Movies simply do not get more ham-handed and hackneyed than this. Somewhere, Edgar Allan Poe is spinning in his grave. And somewhere, the folks who dole out Razzies are taking note.
Rick Kisonak - Film Threat
Even if the story itself isn't particularly Poe-like, Poe is a great character, and even if the mystery isn't exactly brilliant, it's perfectly serviceable.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Common Sense Media
Let's just be sure that from now on we let poor Edgar rest in peace until we have a really good reason to disturb him.
Mathew DeKinder - Suburban Journals of St. Louis
This movie needs madness and delirium swirling around in it like fog, but all it has is fog.
Rob Gonsalves - eFilmCritic.com
If you shoot for the moon and miss, it's a long way down. The Raven gives us a front-row seat to the plummet.
Rob Vaux - Mania.com
Likely to disappoint both literary aficionados and action-thriller fans, the film neither captures the creepy atmospheres of Poe's influential writing nor works on its own.
Mark Olsen - Boxoffice Magazine
They want it to be 'Seven' meets 'Sherlock Holmes' and you can tell Cusack is into it. Unfortunately the plot is ridiculous and the murder-mystery is boring.
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
...a semi-gothic horror story so bizarre that it doesn't leave one speculating on the thesis because it's clearly nonsense.
Tony Medley - Tolucan Times
It seems doubtful that the creator of such classics as "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Pit and the Pendulum" would be satisfied with this cliche-ridden pulp.
Todd Jorgenson - Cinemalogue.com
More of a penny dreadful than a great work of literature.
Scott Nash - Three Movie Buffs
Ridiculous and tedious, this somber historical fantasy tries to transform Edgar Allen Poe into an American version of Sherlock Holmes.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
Basically a well-researched but formulaic mystery centered on one of those nyah-nyah serial killers we've seen a thousand times.
Rafer Guzman - Newsday
Without narrative guts, this not-so-thrilling thriller proves a bloody disappointment.
Matt Stevens - E! Online
It lingers intolerably on some inessential scenes, rushes through others, and fails to provide any motivation either for Poe's devoted (albeit fictional) love, or the film's archvillain.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
The whole thing has the feel of a second-rate living-history exhibit.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
While not as ambitious or romantic as V for Vendetta ‒ the saga of Edgar and Emily never rises to the level of tragic operetta ‒ 'The Raven' benefits from its breathless pacing and stylish camerawork.
Glenn Lovell - CinemaDope
Blandly generic in its images and atmosphere.
Ethan Alter - Television Without Pity
It's not even Edgar Allan Poe: Game of Shadows.
Widgett Walls - Needcoffee.com
Despite a handful of narrative missteps and a few errant accents, it's actually a pretty compelling "what if?" story.
Scott Weinberg - FEARnet
a darker, morose Midnight in Paris... without the time travel
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
Almost by accident amid its many idiotic attributes, it becomes an occasionally mournful tale of the pain and fear that powered Poe's life. It doesn't quite go deeper into his darkness peering. But it's also not a thriller at which you're jeering.
Nick Rogers - Suite101.com
Edgar Allan Poe, serial-killer hunter. That's the lamebrain concept of the eerie writer's mysterious final days in Baltimore as posited in this misdirected effort.
David Noh - Film Journal International
Why resurrect an American literary giant onscreen so he can help a police investigation? Sure, Poe essentially invented the detective genre, but come on.
Robert Levin - Film School Rejects
...the dark-hued film is so grisly and unpleasant that when the mystery is finally solved, the only satisfaction derives from knowing that it's over.
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
Taking the two hours of your life that it would take to see The Raven and reading anything by the man who inspired it would be a smarter use of your time. And you'd be less likely to fall asleep.
Brian Tallerico - HollywoodChicago.com
...this might be appropriate for an evening at home on Blu-ray.
JimmyO - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Matt Patches - Hollywood.com
What's of slightly greater concern than the movie itself is just what the hell has happened to [John] Cusack's career.
Geoff Berkshire - HitFix
Quoth the Raven - nevermore. it seems like good advice because nothing in this movie is worth ravin' about.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
Christopher Lloyd - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
This was easily the least plausible and most nonsensical film I saw on this particular screening day and bear in mind that when I saw it, it was followed by "The Three Stooges."
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
Poe, not Conan Doyle? Cusack, not Downey? No wit, no fun, no engaging derring do? Beg pardon, Watson, we've stumbled into some foggy crime detective clone, 40 years too early. Best to move along ...
Kimberly Gadette - Doddle
Quoth The Raven, this is a bore
James Verniere - Boston Herald
A lumpy and uninvolving mess.
Kurt Loder - Reason Online
If it wasn't for Cusack, you would be sneaking out the back door of the theater to sneak into another showing of The Hunger Games.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
For a good hour or so, The Raven is gruesome, ludicrous fun. Then it's just ludicrous.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
For the most part, The Raven is propulsive, character-thin and plot-heavy.
Jim Slotek - Jam! Movies
Go to the library instead.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Take away all the 19th century atmospherics, and this could be an episode of some contemporary TV crime drama.
Daniel M. Kimmel - New England Movies Weekly
Let's just hope the "nevermore" part of Poe's original writing applies to any notion of "The Raven 2," "Son of the Raven" or "That's So Raven the Movie." (Full Content Review for Parents also available)
Jim Judy - Screen It!
It is a clever setup, too, making the constant sabotaging of it all the more frustrating.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
A darkly sumptuous, exceedingly enticing murder mystery. John Cusack's turn as Poe is just plain terrific.
The story has its moments, and yet there is something about this tale of a serial killer's patterning his crimes on Poe's most gruesome works that doesn't completely satisfy.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
There's just no invention emerging from McTeigue, who submissively satisfies the basic needs of the script, failing to accelerate the funhouse atmosphere of 1840s Baltimore as it's hit from all sides by a literate lunatic.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
While full of welcome gore and blood spatter, it's bankrupt of any creative spark.
Jaime N. Christley - Slant Magazine
The period look is dead on and adds to the moody atmosphere of "The Raven," as does art direction, costume design and makeup. Unfortunately, looks alone do not make a film. A good story is needed, too.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Part "Seven", part "From Hell", part "Sherlock Holmes", but despite its contrivances there are enough clever nods in the script to keep it interesting.
Joe Lozito - Big Picture Big Sound
...the killer's 'diabolical' use of the victimized writer's imagination and the revelation of his identity seem utterly random, like the screenwriters put plot elements on a whiteboard then never bothered to try and weave them together in intriguing ways.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
The script is filled with expository dialogue, and you can't tell from the actors' approaches either what century they think they're in or what tone it's all meant to bear.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
A dumb and cheesy period potboiler...Quoth this critic: It's a bore.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
The problem with "The Raven" is that ambitious as it sometimes is, it's never really scary.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
Given the option, you'd skip to the end, read the last few pages and move along.
Matt Pais - RedEye
While I can't really defend this "Raven" as a good movie, I nonetheless enjoyed it...
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
The story gets increasingly conventional as it goes on, until Poe becomes just another action hero, following an increasingly illogical, National Treasure-esque set of clues through a series of confrontations.
Tasha Robinson - AV Club
"The Raven" is simply ordinary, which is the death knell for a movie based on the works of a writer who contributed so much to American literature.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
As Poe says about a grisly and gratuitous allusion to "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar," "It makes no sense."
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix
The screenplay by actor Ben Livingston and former Playboy Club writer Hannah Shakespeare, resists adventure at every turn; it feels rushed, poorly structured and determined to disappoint.
Justin Strout - Orlando Weekly
The role of Poe played straight begs for an actor with less meat on his bones and more absinthe in his eyes. Someone like John Hawkes... or you could go classily irreverent, but Robert Downey Jr. was busy and the screenwriters uninterested.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
More entertaining than it has any right to be.
Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, this feature is disappointing as gothic, as serial killer thriller, and especially as tribute to the maestro of the macabre.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
We really should end with some contrived reference to a Poe story. No burial would be premature enough. Will that do?
Donald Clarke - Irish Times
It's shot in the mix-mastered style of the recent Sherlock Holmes TV series, but you'd still need to be pretty weak and weary to sit through this.
Siobhan Synnot - Scotsman
[Poe] probably deserved better than this movie which turns his heritage into a sub Se7en-style serial killer thriller blended with a bit of Scream for not-so-good measure.
Graham Young - Birmingham Post
It's a moderately entertaining thriller that (contrary to the claims of its writers and director) throws little light on Poe's character and none on the mystery surrounding his death.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
[C]omes nowhere near living up to its 'Edgar Allan Poe solves mysteries' potential. It's pretty much a standard serial killer flick dressed up in 19th-century drag.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
An utterly dreadful attempt at a costume thriller by the flashy, heavy-handed, vacuous director James McTeigue, whose previous crimes against cinema have been V For Vendetta and Ninja Assassin.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
Stephen King's Misery and Updike's Bech Noir spring to mind, and it's a nice touch to give Baltimore a serial killer over a century before Dr Hannibal Lecter was employed by the Johns Hopkins Medical Centre in that city.
Screen hokum gets no hokier.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
Poe's acidic wit and flair for brevity are both in perilously short supply in this torpid, rackety whodunit set in the week before the writer's death.
Robbie Collin - Daily Telegraph
Cusack is fine as Poe but let down by a routine script that doesn't conjure up a character of great intrigue.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
Dull, tedious thriller that manages to say nothing interesting or new about Poe.
David Jenkins - Little White Lies
McTeigue's vision of Baltimore is vibrant and alluring, all gothic architecture and swirling fog, while Cusack is eminently watchable as the boozy, perpetually broke Poe...
Terry Staunton - Radio Times
It's a fiendishly clever idea: turn Edgar Allan Poe into the hero of a gothic thriller that weaves together aspects of his rackety life and mysterious death with lurid elements taken from his stories. A shame, then, that the execution is so bungled.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
McTeigue's film inhabits a middle ground of being too morose for a crowd-pleaser in the style of Sherlock Holmes yet not dark enough for those wanting a seriously disturbing serial killer pic.
Alex Zane - Sun Online
While it won't get you in a huge flap, The Raven will give you enough caws to stay awake upon a midnight dreary...
Elliott Noble - Sky Movies
Enjoyable period thriller that plays like a Gothic version of Seven and succeeds thanks to a literate script, atmospheric direction, some suitably grisly murder sequences and a superb performance from John Cusack.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Squandering a promising premise and depriving John Cusack of sufficient dramatic meat to stake his claim to be the definitive portrayal of Poe, The Raven feels like a hollow shell - without a beating (or tell-tale) heart.
Ben Rawson-Jones - Digital Spy
A film that, despite a strong visual sense, has simply no grasp on its characters or its plot. 'Nevermore', indeed.
Tom Huddleston - Time Out
Poe was one of the most vicious, merciless critics of his age. He would not have let this get past him without skewering its shortcomings with a barbed quill.
Kim Newman - Empire Magazine
[A] flashy hodge-podge of biopic, mystery and gorno.
Neil Smith - Total Film
The inherently likeable Cusack fares surprisingly well in one of his darkest roles, but The Raven's clever premise is totally undermined by James McTeigue's tactless, bumbling direction.
Shaun Munro - What Culture