When a madman begins committing horrific murders inspired by Edgar Allan Poe's works, a young Baltimore detective joins forces with Poe to stop him from making his stories a reality.
Release Year: 2012
Rating: 6.8/10 (2,282 voted)
Critic's Score: 45/100
Stars: John Cusack, Alice Eve, Luke Evans
Storyline In the 19th century, a serial killer begins murdering victims using methods from Edgar Allan Poe's stories. Poe himself teams up with a young Baltimore detective to get inside the murder's mind and try and stop more of his fictional works becoming grizzly fact. As the hunt intensifies, Poe's own love, Emily Hamilton, becomes a target for the killer.
Writers: Ben Livingston, Hannah Shakespeare
Cast: John Cusack
Edgar Allan Poe
The only one who can stop a serial killer is the man who inspired him.
Trivia: Joaquin Phoenix was at one point in negotiations to star in the project together with Jeremy Renner. Phoenix would have played Poe to Renner's police inspector Fields, but the deal fell through when Renner decided to do
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol instead. The Poe role later went to John Cusack, while Luke Evans was cast as Fields .
The fire marshal's hat and coat have the common misspelling "FIRE MARSHALL."
Quotes: Edgar Allan Poe:
You are referring to one of my stories. A work of fiction!
Mystery thriller romp with a pulpy comic book feel.
This film is story set during the last few days in the life of Edgar
Allen Poe. Poe (John Cusack) is a penniless drunk (with a pet raccoon
for some reason), depending on money he gets from The Baltimore Times
for writing acerbic reviews of other writers' work to keep him in the
booze. Emily (Alice Eve) the woman he loves is difficult to reach
because her father Colonel Hamilton (Brendan Gleeson) has a very
understandable dislike of Poe so they have sneak around behind his
The police are investigating two brutal murders of a mother and her 12-
year-old daughter in a locked room. Detective Emmett Fields (Luke
Evans) notices the parallels between these murders and the Poe story
Murders in the Rue Morgue so he sends a squad of policemen out to bring
Poe in for questioning. Although Fields doesn't believe Poe is
responsible for the murders he is definitely connected to them.
There's a second murder this time based on the story The Pit and The
Pendulum and this is a pretty gory killing as you can imagine if you
are aware of the story (if you are not I'll just say the pendulum has
an enormous blade on the end of it). The victim this time is a writer
at The Baltimore Times who wrote highly negative reviews of Poe's
stories. A crimson mask found on body is a message from the killer to
Poe and the police about where he will strike next. The killer is
playing a game with them and when the life of his beloved Emily is
threatened Poe is forced to play the killer's game.
This was an entertaining mystery thriller and I did like the inclusion
of Poe's stories in this film. The setting felt authentic enough and
there was no anachronistic steam punk stuff going on like so many other
alternative history stories. The cast are reasonable enough, especially
Brendan Gleeson, but they don't really get too much development. I
don't have any doubt that Cusack's performance bore very little
resemblance to the real Edgar Allen Poe but it was fun and over the top
and similar to Robert Downey Juniors's take on Sherlock Holmes. Anyone
expecting dark melancholia and madness will probably not like this film
but for people only passingly familiar with Poe it is a mystery
thriller romp with a pulpy comic book feel.