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.
Written and directed by Christopher Hatton and starring the talents of Melanie Zanetti (Charlotte Ingram), William Moseley (Edgar Allan Poe), Kate Dickie (Elizabet Ingram), and Callum Woodhouse (Will Taylor), Raven’s hollow is a mystery horror set in the Autumn of 1830.
The film is styled as something of a period horror and is an incredibly enjoyable watch, though I do need to address the obvious bias on my part. As you have probably guessed by looking at the name of our website, I am a huge Poe fan and even have a picture of him sitting above me on a shelf. That fact aside, period horrors and creature features are two of my personal favourites when it comes to horror genres, so it was going to be hard for me to not like this film; they really would have had to mess this one up to disappoint and they absolutely did not.
Okay, with those admissions out of the way, let us get back to business. Raven’s Hollow is a fun horror film that—albeit very predictable and full of tropes—makes for a great evening’s entertainment. We get a spooky, ritualistic murder mystery set in old-timey, upstate New York. There are obviously supernatural elements at play and the film seems to be an origin story or at least the inspiration for the infamous Poe poem, The Raven.
The film takes obvious liberties and is a fictional interpretation of Poe’s early life while at West Point as a cadet. He and four other cadets come across a near-dead man strapped to some horrific, winged torture device while patrolling. Investigating the grim sacrifice, they catch the man’s last utterance before he passes: “Raven.” The troupe then find themselves in the town of Raven’s Hollow (Which is intentionally very Sleepy Hollow) and their investigations begin.
The tone is very gothic horror, with imagery and a score to match. The acting is great and the setting, costumes, and characters are all on point. Honestly, there was very little to criticize except for perhaps the CGI in the latter half of the film, which did feel a little cheap. There was also an “old ones” vibe when it came to the creature itself but I am not going to dive into that as it’ll give too much of the story away.
This is a niche horror film and is not going to be up everyone’s alley. I find that most horror enthusiasts are either drawn towards Scream or Halloween-style slashers or The Conjuring-like ghost stories and hauntings. Weirdly, I like those genres the least. Raven’s Hollow checks all the boxes in what I look for in a horror film and although it will probably enrage any “Poe purists,” I was able to enjoy it despite its understandable inaccuracies; it’s meant to be a fun reimagining and it does just that.
Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Raven’s Hollow will be streaming on AMC’s Shudder starting September 22nd. In the meanwhile, I have included the artwork and the trailer below just to get your feathers ruffled.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.