Surely you’ve heard of the famous poet Edgar Allan Poe. Introducing a new story about the poet based on the time before he wrote one of his famous poems, this film focuses on the well-known author. Edgar Allan Poe (William Moseley) here is a West Point cadet. Travelling by horse with four other cadets during a training exercise in upstate New York, the group discover something strange and horrifying- a stranger who has been tortured. The stranger takes his last breath and says his last word- “Raven”.
The group travels to a small community town known as Raven, an area often forgotten about by many. Upon arrival, Allan and the group begin to investigate, finding from evidence that the victim had been passing through town. Everyone within the community is quite shy, vague, and suspicious. The group decide to stay overnight and continue their investigations, but the longer they stay, the more they become victims of something dark and haunting. Can Allan and his fellow cadets find the truth and return home safely?
Raven’s Hollow is best described as a horror film that tells a fictional tale. Visually, this film is pleasing. While some moments might be as simple as characters standing around a field having a general conversation, it’s all highly effective. As we witness our leading man visit a strange village, there is lots to admire visually, such as costume designs and even the houses and interior decorating. For those who love horror, there are some moments that are quite bloody and gruesome which I found surprising to witness.
As a story, I love the concept that Edgar Allan Poe was once a cadet investigating a mysterious murder that needed to be solved. However, I’m saddened to report that I found many moments of this film to be bland, including the performances of its leading cast. A forced romance and a secret cult-like community are just some obvious aspects of the story that lack any form of excitement for audiences. At best, the mystery and ‘whodunit’ vibes make this film a tad engaging. The fact that the leading hero is a famous poet almost felt unnecessary to the story, meaning that the lead could have been any character with the same impact. Naturally, the film makes various references suggesting that this moment in Allan’s life would later assist him in his future writing and fame.
Pacing here is quite slow. It’s dialogue-heavy with a few moments that viewers will see coming a mile away. The big reveals of the film are messy, and the details are a little confusing. As the third act commenced, I was ready for the credits to appear on my screen. In the end, the film fails to resonate and deliver a long-lasting, memorable experience, and everything by the end feels like a messy bird’s nest.
Overall, while bringing a fun fictional concept about the famous poet Edgar Allan Poe to life on screen with effective visuals, costumes and set designs, Raven’s Hollow’s story is sadly bland and dull. What begins as an exciting murder mystery soon becomes predictable and slow. Performances are challenging and mono-toned, making it hard to support any character (including Allan). The big reveals in the finale are complex and fail to deliver something impacting and touching. Instead, this film will be quickly forgotten and remembered nevermore.