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John Cusack (2012) is infamous author Edgar Allan Poe in this stylish, gothic thriller from the director of V for Vendetta. When a madman commits horrific murders inspired by Poe’s darkest works, a young Baltimore detective (Luke Evans, Clash of the Titans) joins forces with the writer in a quest to get inside the killer’s mind in order to stop him from making every one of Poe’s brutal stories a blood chilling reality. A deadly game of cat and mouse ensues, which escalates when Poe’s love (Alice Eve, She’s Out of My League) becomes the next target. Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges) co-stars.
A Gothic Whodunit
I really liked this film. It's dark, the cinematography with its muted tones throughout was great, it was gruesome in parts but no overkill (no pun intended), costuming was excellent, storyline was interesting, the concept of using Poe's stories as the method of a madman's murders was different. The only negative was John Cusask as Poe ... didn't quite win me over but the rest of the cast were fabulous.
Loved this movie. Creative, clever and suspenseful. Masterful performance by John Cusack. Five Stars
What went wrong?
I had high hopes for this movie as it seemed to have all the right elements; a novel concept , a good cast, good staging and costumes. But… somehow it just doesn't deliver. You have a sense that the actors are just doing a job with little engagement or connection. For a good who-dunnit to work there needs to be clues that engage the audience so they feel they are solving the mystery along with the characters.
But the identity of the killer remains so obscure that it could just as well have been anybody. A lot of the scenario's are just implausible, which is fine, as long as the movie has the energy to suspend belief. Unfortunately, energy is one of the things this movie lacks. The ending when it is finally delivered, feels tacked as if at one point a sequel was considered. And the final music and graphics feels as if they are from another movie altogether. Watch this only if you are a desparate fan of gothic horror (which I am) or if you have nothing better to do.