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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Raven is an extremely gory serial killer thriller about author Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) that incorporates facts from his life, as well as fictional elements. There are several very bloody murders and mangled dead bodies, and the female lead is kidnapped and buried alive. There are also guns, shooting, punching, and shouting, and Poe is shown to be an addict (he drinks often, smokes cigarettes once or twice, and is referred to as an opium addict, though drugs are never shown). Language is fairly infrequent, with one possible use of "f---ing," as well as a handful of lesser words. Brief sexuality includes cleavage shots and some kissing.
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What's the story?
In 1849 Baltimore, Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) has run out of stories and is now writing bitter criticisms for the newspaper, mainly to pay for his drinking. Fortunately, he has met Emily (Alice Eve) and is finally on the verge of happiness. Unfortunately, a serial killer has emerged, leaving a trail of bodies that echo the creative murders in Poe's dark stories. Police Detective Fields (Luke Evans) enlists Poe to help catch the fiend -- whose next crime is "The Premature Burial," with Emily as the victim. Can Poe and Fields rescue her before time runs out? What price will Poe pay?
Is it any good?
James McTeigue -- of V for Vendetta fame -- directs THE RAVEN with an eye mostly on art direction: wet cobblestone streets and foggy woods, as well as the occasional raven dotting the landscape. He adds tremendous amounts of gore, despite the fact that gore isn't really what drove Poe's original tales. And even if the story itself isn't particularly Poe-like, Poe is a great character, and even if the mystery isn't exactly brilliant, it's perfectly serviceable.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Raven's violence. How does the blood and gore in this movie compare with the violence in Poe's stories? Which has more impact?
How accurate do you think this movie is? Why do filmmakers sometimes alter historical events? How could you find out more about Poe's real life?
Does this movie make it look fun to be a writer? Is it possible to be a writer without drinking and suffering?
- In theaters: April 27, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: October 9, 2012
- Cast: Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson, John Cusack, Luke Evans
- Director: James McTeigue
- Studio: Relativity Media
- Genre: Thriller
- Topics: Book Characters
- Run time: 110 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: bloody violence and grisly images
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.