Raven’s Hollow: Origin Of The Classic Poem Makes Startling Watch

Raven's Hollow still of man tied to two crossing trees

Raven’s Hollow, directed by Christopher Hatton and written by Christopher Hatton and Chuck Reeves, follows Edgar Allen Poe (William Moseley) as a cadet on a training exercise. Poe and four others encounter a gruesome scene. Poe convinces the others they need to investigate, leading them to a small town called Raven’s Hollow. The film mixes many others, from Sleepy Hollow to Jeepers Creepers. Raven’s Hollow delivers an entertaining slice of horror with great tension and some frights despite plot holes and a less-than-chilling monster. 

Raven’s Hollow Is Not A Place I’d Stay 

Raven's Hollow of Charlotte (Melanie Zanetti) and Poe (William Moseley) talking
Raven’s Hollow – Photo Credit: Shudder

Do not be this town. When they bring a dead body there—after the victim’s last word was “raven”—the townsfolks claim they do not know him but look guilty. They are as guilty as a child claiming they did not eat with chocolate smeared on their face. Then a young woman, Charlotte Ingram (Melanie Zanetti), suggests the cadets rest at her and her mom, Elizabet’s (Kate Dickie) inn. There seem to be opposing attitudes between mother and daughter. Elizabet wants the cadets gone, but her daughter invites them to stay. Everyone here screams suspect.

Creepy towns like this remind me too much of that “good eating” town from The Monster Club. Cadet Poe is similar to Ichabod in the movie Sleepy Hollow, sans the scientific gadgets. But Poe, like Ichabod, demands they unravel the mystery, believing the culprit is not paranormal. The scary part of Raven’s Hollow is the feeling that you are not only outnumbered but also missing vital information that can save your life. 

Confusing Plot Points And Racial Tension

Raven's Hollow still of one man holding a scalpel to another man's throat
Raven’s Hollow – Photo Credit: Shudder

There are plot holes. Points of conflict between secondary characters go unexplained. But the film does not lack entertainment. As the story unfolds, some parts feel unclear and confusing at times. The story tries to focus on aspects of love, but there is not enough present in the film to make the direction sensible. I do not mind plot holes. If the film entertains regardless, I am on board. Raven’s Hollow thankfully does that.

When Usher (Oberon K.A. Adjepong), a Black man who works at the inn, warns a couple of cadets that they should leave in the middle of the night, you know where it is going. So, of course, when one of the cadets disappear in the middle of the night, the immediate suspect is Usher, the only Black person in the town. They are certain they have found their killer. While the reasoning makes sense, it still grated having the one Black man on screen accused. The cadets and Poe stay clueless until Poe finally sees the monster they call “Raven.” Hence the dead man’s last words. By the end, I thought, “of course, that happens to Usher.”  

Fascinating Monster But Not Terrifying

Raven's Hollow still of Usher (Oberon K.A. Adjepong) looking at someone off-camera and Poe (William Moseley) kneeling down behind him.
Raven’s Hollow – Photo Credit: Shudder

The monster is a mix between The Creep in Jeepers Creepers and the old plague garbs with the mask and long beak. I found myself less scared each time I saw the creature. That is why the former half of the film builds tension better with the Raven unseen. Let audiences see the havoc Raven wreaks instead throughout Raven’s Hollow .Or just gives glimpses—like the creepy feet or show it from afar. Raven’s Hollow‘s ending is dreadful in the best way, both for the connection to Poe’s work and the question mark lurking for the rest of Poe’s life. A haunting ending stays with you.

Raven’s Hollow‘s buildup sets up the perfect environment for supernatural horror. Unknown corpse? Check. Creepy town with suspicious townsfolk? Check. The film is worth a view when it drops on Shudder—if you are a horror fanatic like me, get Shudder. Although monster does not work for me, that could be because less and less scares me thanks to years of horror films. Still, the movie builds up tension, and Edgar Allen Poe’s works were the first classic book I read as a kid. If you want an origin story for Poe’s most well-known work, watch Raven’s Hollow.

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