dir. Christopher Hatton
The influence of Edgar Allan Poe is strongly felt throughout contemporary horror films, in both subtle and more overt ways – the latter of which Raven’s Hollow fully embraces. Influenced by classic poem The Raven, Christopher Hatton’s film sees a young Poe (William Moseley) and his group of West Point cadet friends in 1830 stumble across a disemboweled young man who, with his dying breath, utters “The Raven.” Thus opens a mystery that leads the men to the titular Raven’s Hollow, a sparsely populated town with a dark secret.
As Poe explores there’s an atmospheric allure to the residents, heightened by the beautiful Charlotte (Melanie Zanetti) who quickly captures his curiosity. As strange occurrences stack up Poe becomes more certain that the mystery surrounding the dead man – and the illusive myth of The Raven – may have some connection to this uncanny place.
What Raven’s Hollow lacks in tension, it more than makes up for with beautiful cinematography and a stellar cast including David Hayman (Taboo) and Kate Dickie (The VVitch). At times there’s a muddiness to the script that raises more questions than answers, and certain assumptions are made that don’t come through in the story – for example one assertion made by a key character that Poe is “different” without any clear reason as to why. Despite these issues – and some ropey CGI that leans dangerously close to Sci-Fi Channel territory – Raven’s Hollow is a fun mystery with audiences discovering the town’s deadly lore right alongside Poe. This – and an abundance of blood and gore – makes this a destination well worth visiting.
© Jerry Samspon