Monday, September 19, 2022

Raven's Hollow (2022)

Streaming Service: Shudder
Movie Name/Year: Raven’s Hollow (2022)
Genre: Horror, Thriller, Mystery
Length: 1h 38min
Rating: Unrated
Production/Distribution: 828 Media Capital, Cinevilla Studio, Creativity Capital, Raven's Hollow, Planeta Inform Film Distribution, Shudder
Director: Christopher Hatton
Writers: Christopher Hatton, Chuck Reeves
Actors: Callum McGowan, Callum Woodhouse, David Hayman, Kate Dickie, Kyle Rowe, Mathis Landwehr, Melanie Zanetti, Michael Guest, Oberon K.A. Adjepong, William Moseley
IMDb Blurb: West Point cadet Edgar Allan Poe and four other cadets on a training exercise in upstate New York are drawn by a gruesome discovery into a forgotten community.

Cat’s Point of View:
I was hooked the minute we watched the trailer for Raven’s Hollow leading into September’s Top 20 list. There really was no question in my mind that this movie would make the cut, it was merely a decision of where to place it in the order of selected productions. When you tell me you’re offering a plausible origin story for one of the classical masters of the horror genre, it’s honestly a shut up and take my money situation. In this case, the AMC Network group has already done that because Raven’s Hollow is set to be released on Shudder. I’ll come back to those details. Let’s talk movie.
As I mentioned in the Top 20 article, I wasn’t entirely familiar with the works of the writing and directing team for Raven’s Hollow. The production team was really onto something with this story concept, though, so I am curious about their projects moving forward.

The raven imagery is something that is practically synonymous with the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Raven’s Hollow took that and ran with it in a spectacularly gruesome and intriguing direction. If nothing else, this film played out as a love letter to some of the most memorable of Poe’s works with a smattering of veritable Easter eggs throughout the themes, dialogue, imagery, and even the audio of the movie.
I think they really nailed the atmosphere of Gothic horror that Poe was known for. The muted tones, grey skies, mysterious woods, funeral atmosphere, town aesthetic, and shady characters all came together quite well to immerse viewers in the nightmare that unfolded on the screen.
While Poe is one of my favorite authors, I admit that it’s been quite a while since I studied his background information in any detail. It wasn’t until after I’d watched Raven’s Hollow that I was inspired to dig around and see how much of this story could have fit with the master of macabre’s history. The answers I found only brought me to appreciate this tale of terror even more.

Raven’s Hollow showed a young Poe with his group of West Point cadets out in field training when they stumbled across the titular hamlet and the horrific mystery contained within its borders. It is factual that Poe was, indeed, a military man. He served as an enlisted in the Army for a couple of years and advanced as far as he could for a non-commissioned officer before he opted to attend West Point to upgrade his officer status. He ultimately chose his passion for the written word over a military career, however, and intentionally got himself court-martialed and discharged by failing to attend required activities like formations, classes, and church.
With that in mind, the story here has that kernel of plausibility that all good works of historical fiction origin stories require.
I was sucked right into this grisly who-done-it with its suspense and supernatural shenanigans. Words such as gruesome and grisly are quite literal for this production, as there is quite a lot of gore depicted on the screen. There’s one scene, in particular, that was so disturbingly graphic that my brain really didn’t want to make sense of it for a moment. Raven’s Hollow was not a gratuitous splatter-fest, however. The blood and body bits that appear on-screen have a purpose and are woven into the story well. Needless to say, this movie would not be for children or the squeamish.

William Moseley (Friend Request, The Royals, Saving Paradise) delivered a compelling performance as cadet Poe. The on-screen chemistry of the cast worked really well together. I couldn’t really point out any particular flaws in performance or dialogue.
Fans of Poe's work would likely get quite a lot from the tale of the cursed township of Raven’s Hollow. I will likely be watching this again soon to try and see just how many Poe references I can pick out along the way.
Raven’s Hollow will release for streaming on Shudder on Thursday, September 22nd.

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – None
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – None
Metascore – None
Metacritic User Score – None
IMDB Score – 7.0/10
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5
Trust the Dice: Parental Advisory Rating – R
Movie Trailer:

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