‘The Raven’ Trailer: John Cusack Stars In ‘Gothic Sherlock Holmes’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated October 7th, 2011 at 3:56 pm,

the raven john cusack The Raven Trailer: John Cusack Stars In Gothic Sherlock Holmes

Today (October 7th) marks the “death day” of famed 19th century author Edgar Allan Poe. So what better way to celebrate the life of the man often credited for inventing the detective fiction genre – and penning famous (creepy) short stories like “The Pit and the Pendulum” – than by watching the trailer for the Poe-based thriller, The Raven?

An official trailer has been released for The Raven, a film which is not based on Poe’s iconic poem of the same name. Instead, it’s a Gothic mystery-thriller that sees the American author join forces with the police (Castle-style), in order to track down and stop a serial killer who’s clearly read one too many Poe stories.

The Raven was directed by James McTeigue, the helmer of action-packed titles like the V for Vendetta movie and Ninja Assassin – not to mention, his uncredited work as director on the 2007 adaptation of “The Body Snatchers” (titled The Invasion). Suffice to say, bloody violence and thrills are McTeigue’s forte – and The Raven looks to boast plenty of both, based on this early footage.

Here is the official synopsis for The Raven:

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 (John Cusack). 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.

Now check out the Raven trailer below:

Visually and thematically, The Raven looks like a cross between Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes and the Hughes Brothers’ From Hell adaptation. Its 1800s setting appears to be a Gothic variation on the slick, yet gritty, period aesthetic of Holmes – though, so far, McTeigue’s Raven doesn’t look to include the explosive action set pieces that people seem to either love or hate in Ritchie’s literature “update.” The Poe thriller also looks to (appropriately) feature more graphic violence and stylishly gloomy atmosphere.

The big wild card here is Cusack playing Poe. It’s certainly possible  that he could disappear into the role of the morose, dark-haired author – but, in this early footage, Cusack arguably comes off as just someone who’s simply dressed up as Poe for a Halloween party. Considering that he’s meant to be the main focus of the film, there’s reason to be concerned that Cusack isn’t up to the task of making Poe a believable (enough) and engaging lead to rally around. On the other hand – Evans looks to pull off his part as a dignified detective pretty well, so that should help.

All quibbles aside, The Raven seems like it has the potential to be a fun murder-mystery thriller – or, at the least, a less ridiculous period adventure than Evans’ next starring vehicle, The Three Musketeers (for better or for worse).

The Raven stars Luke Evans, John Cusack, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson, Kevin McNally, Brendan Coyle, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen. It swoops into U.S. theaters on March 9th, 2012.

Source: iTunes Movie Trailers

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  1. Cool idea — challenge an author to solve a mystery based on his knowledge of his own writing (which could be difficult for an author considering revisions, ideas unused, time, and other such potential red herrings of the mind.)
    I agree with Sandy that Cusack (in this trailer) doesn’t appear to properly capture what we know of Poe’s personality… he comes off as a Hollywood actor recreating a part to his own fancy. Too bad. But the movie still looks to be alot of fun.

    • I completely agree.

  2. It may come as no surprise… but I am interested in this movie. lol

  3. I think it looks pretty cool. I definitely see the similarities to the latest Shelock Holmes films, though.

  4. Based on my own deductive reasoning, Edgar Allen Poe is the killer. My detective skills tell me that people with three names are usually the killer.

    • It looks like that detective is the killer. Just looking at the eyes.

      • I though the same thing, hope it isn’t the detective though, that would be a too overused twist.

      • If you pause the part where they show the killer running through the rafters with a mask that covers everything below his eyes, it looks a lot like the detective, but it isn’t. The hair color is a lighter shade of brown. That, and it’s the detective that takes the shot at the Killer as he ducks behind a wall in the sewer scene.

        • It Poe & Detective fields working together as the killer!

  5. I hate to tell you this, but you’ve misspelled Poe’s name.

    It’s “Edgar Allan Poe,” not “Edgar Allen Poe.”

    I would like for this film to be historically accurate, but my expectations are pretty low.

    At the very least, I hope they’ll spell his name correctly. :)

    • Sorry about that – it’s been fixed.

  6. I reckon the killer is Poe’s publisher ^-^

    I think this looks really good. I loved “V for Vendetta”, so i’m interested to see what else the director can do.

  7. the movie has got an engaging premise…but i hope there’s not too much gore to cover up lacking story like Ninja Assassin.

    btw, i think Cusack could have been Ed Norton’s replacement as the Hulk/Bruce Banner

  8. Looks like a cross between Saw and Sleepy Hallow to me especially since the pendulum trap is used.

  9. I saw this being worked on in a preview. Cusack as Poe is just very badly cast, but the movie was pretty good.

  10. WOW Castle meets Sherlock Holmes this is not the movie I wanted to see I wanted a bio-movie BUT it still might be worth seeing

  11. Interesting… I don’t know if I’ll catch it in theatres, but it looks like it could be a good weekend rental.

  12. Awesome trailer, good visual and sound. Looking forward to it!

  13. Was wanting to see more of a Bio pic but I love Poe and have most of his work. As much as I love Poe I’m an even bigger Cusack fan and have most of his work. So I’m seeing it no matter what.

  14. Ugg… anyone ever read the book “The Dante Club”? Same concept. Serial killer murders people in the same manner that sinners are punished in Dante’s Inferno, and a band of famous 19th century poets track him down. Cliched and tiring plot. Not looking forward to this movie.

  15. Talk about giving away the entire movie in a trailer. I don’t know why this reminds me of that terrible Musketeers movie coming out soon. Has a tv series ting to it for me.

  16. I’m calling it right now: The killer is that policeman speaking throughout most of the trailer.