Metascore
44

Mixed or average reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 30
  2. Negative: 6 out of 30
  1. Reviewed by: J.R. Jones
    Apr 26, 2012
    70
    This may conjure up unpleasant memories of Guy Ritchie's "Sherlock Holmes" movies, but Ritchie could learn a lot from director James McTeigue (V for Vendetta); this is multiplex fare to be sure, but McTeigue manages to popularize 19th-century literature without completely vulgarizing it.
  2. Reviewed by: Lou Lumenick
    Apr 27, 2012
    63
    In the skilled hands of Cusack - who recites quite a bit of Poe's poetry - and director John McTeigue ("V for Vendetta''), it's good pulpy fun.
  3. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Apr 26, 2012
    63
    This many-feathered animal occasionally soars before it crash-lands.
  4. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Apr 25, 2012
    63
    The Raven is period piece fun - at least until it realizes there has to be a conclusion. That's where a certain amount of inevitable disappointment sets in. The curse of the two-hour murder mystery is that the ending never seems to justify the build-up.
  5. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Apr 30, 2012
    60
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Stephanie Zacharek
    Apr 27, 2012
    60
    A handsome-looking thing, with fairly grand period costumes and reasonably lavish sets. So much for production values: In every other way the picture is stiff and unyielding, hampered by a clumsy plot and diorama performances. The whole thing has the feel of a second-rate living-history exhibit.
  7. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Apr 27, 2012
    60
    rRegrettably falls prey to its grand and grisly ambitions - it's neither grand nor grisly enough to seriously satisfy Poe-ish cravings for murder, mystery and literary allusions.
  8. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Mar 16, 2012
    60
    It runs out of steam in the final 10 minutes, but there's some gruesome drama and Cusack is on decent form.
  9. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    Apr 25, 2012
    58
    Poe was a flawed figure, but his greatest strength was in avoiding convention, or reinterpreting it to create something new. The Raven aspires to both, but abandons those ambitions to lie limply on the floor - only this, and nothing more.
  10. Reviewed by: Owen Gleiberman
    May 2, 2012
    50
    The film, devising events that led up to his mysterious death in 1849, is also the most gruesomely literal-minded of period detective stories.
  11. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Apr 27, 2012
    50
    For a good hour or so, The Raven is gruesome, ludicrous fun. Then it's just ludicrous.
  12. Reviewed by: Liam Lacey
    Apr 26, 2012
    50
    The pervasive gore overpowers the few clumsy attempts at wit here, though the film does have one funny line. As one of Poe's literary rivals watches a razor-edged pendulum slice into his abdomen, the man screams in protest: "But I'm only a critic!"
  13. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Apr 26, 2012
    50
    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.
  14. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Apr 26, 2012
    50
    Cusack captures that desperation vividly enough to make you wish this was the real Poe story, which The Raven onscreen leaves buried alive.
  15. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Apr 26, 2012
    50
    The Raven squanders a promising scenario while half-burying Cusack's mercurial skills as a leading man with the wiles of a character actor.
  16. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Apr 25, 2012
    50
    When I heard that John Cusack had been cast for this film, it sounded like good news: I could imagine him as Poe, tortured and brilliant, lashing out at a cruel world. But that isn't the historical Poe the movie has in mind. It is a melodramatic Poe, calling for the gifts of Nicolas Cage.
  17. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Apr 25, 2012
    50
    The Raven isn't nearly as much fun as it should be.
  18. Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    Apr 26, 2012
    42
    Befitting a film about Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven is dark and grisly and ghoulish. But it also has qualities that Poe's work never does: It's dull and mechanical and, most of all, phony.
  19. Reviewed by: Mark Olsen
    Apr 30, 2012
    40
    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.
  20. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Apr 27, 2012
    40
    Bibliophiles, librarians and graduate students may swoon at the sight of the author's signature grotesquerie.
  21. Reviewed by: A.O. Scott
    Apr 26, 2012
    40
    The Raven tries to blend all of these motley genres together, and though the effort is valiant, the result is a mess. I suspect Poe's review of it would have been much more savage than mine.
  22. Reviewed by: Neil Smith
    Mar 16, 2012
    40
    As implausible as the stars' gleaming choppers.
  23. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Mar 10, 2012
    40
    Besides being an author, Edgar Allan 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.
  24. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    Mar 10, 2012
    40
    The Raven is a squawking, silly picture that never takes flight.
  25. Reviewed by: Jaime N. Christley
    Apr 26, 2012
    38
    While full of welcome gore and blood spatter, it's bankrupt of any creative spark.
  26. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Apr 26, 2012
    38
    Director James McTeigue was much more successful capturing graphic novelist Alan Moore's mood in "V for Vendetta" than he is conjuring the bone-chilling suspense of Poe. But viewed as simply another Hollywood thriller, The Raven builds up a decent head of steam as time runs out for our hero's imperiled fiancee.
  27. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Apr 26, 2012
    38
    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.
  28. Reviewed by: Marc Savlov
    May 2, 2012
    30
    It is, in a word or two, everything that Poe's tales and poems were not: interminable and picayune.
  29. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Apr 30, 2012
    30
    It's a pathetic missed opportunity - and one occasion of actually going broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American public.
  30. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Apr 26, 2012
    20
    This wannabe Sherlockian thriller is like a night spent at Madame Tussauds, watching mannequins strangle other mannequins.
User Score
6.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 97 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 33
  2. Negative: 7 out of 33
  1. Apr 27, 2012
    2
    Let me make this quick, out of respect for the late Poe, "The Raven" is a camp, leanly scripted, horribly acted calumny that unqualifyingly slaps its literary predecessor in the face and defecates on the very writing style that made him unique, supplanting the same pervasive and consuming eeriness with a cheesily rote, slice-and-dice murder mystery that tries to look mean with dark-hued tints and wailing screams but instead appears pathetically misguided and unintentionally funny. Director, James McTeigue just doesn't have a skill for wit here, ruining what could have been a fair pastiche and tribute to Poe, and instead channeling attempts to do so through a hard-to-see, black screen with Conan Doyle in the foreground becoming lost in his own self-searching investigation. 'Raven' is an uninvolving potpourri that creates such such a mess for itself, that it doesn't even know what it's trying to do. Just silly. Do yourself a favor: save some time and just read Poe instead; it's sure to be more engaging. This, however, is nothing to rave about. Full Review »
  2. Apr 29, 2012
    5
    The most I can say for it is that it has enough tension to hold interest, but it never thrills or fascinates. The ending does payoff, but barely. The Raven has just the lighting design it needs; Poe and company are drenched in dramatic shadows. The dialog is filled with clever wordplay, but there's scant investment in those who speak it. The body count rises, but none of the victims receive an iota of development. There is blood, there is gore, but we've seen it all before. Full review on my blog. Full Review »
  3. Jun 18, 2013
    2
    A plot that just might slide ends up being a painfully bad, painfully boring experience. Bad acting, and pretty much bad everything else. Not recommended at all. Full Review »