Starring John Cusack as the doomed writer, Luke Evans, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson and Oliver Jackson-Cohen, the film has Poe and Detective Emmit Fields (Evans) pursuing a serial killer who is mirroring the murders Poe has written in his previous stories. From the Pit and the Pendelum and The Tell-Tale Heartand, Poe’s gruesome mind has spawned a groupie all too willing make them come to life. When the killer makes Poe’s love (Alice Eve) his next target, the two do everything they can not to make her the next victim.
The look of the film is pretty great, the costumes and sets are all circa 1849 but unfortunately, that’s where it stops and that’s where the main problem of the film starts. The entire cast – minus Evans and Gleeson – feel and sounds like they stepped off the streets of 2012. They came to set, put on some costumes and went to work. This is supposed to be set in 1849 and the entire cast sounds like you or I would today. Yes, even Cusack. What the hell were they thinking? Evans and Gleeson at times seem like they are in another film – the right film – in the way they carry themselves, their mannierisms, the way they sound and act. You know, like they’re in 1849 Baltimore.
Cusack looks the part of Edgar Allen Poe; sunken cheeks, far off stare and pasty white skin but that’s where it ends. He does have some funny moments but the times when he’s supposed to be distraught or angry is almost laughable. He’s over the top and as a friend said, reminded him of Nicolas Cage at his hammiest.
As the story unfolds, you find yourself not wanting to find out who the killer is, you find yourself trying to remember where you parked so you can make it home.
To bad too, because Cusack deserves much better than this.