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The Raven | 2012 | R | - 2.8.5

Edgar Allen Poe (John Cusack) helps a police detective (Luke Evans) track down a serial killer that is using Poe's stories to stage killings; plus, he has kidnapped Poe's fiancée (Alice Eve) as his next victim. Also with Brendan Gleeson, Sam Hazeldine and Oliver Jackson-Cohen. Directed by James McTeigue. [1:50]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - A man and a woman kiss briefly in four scenes.
 Many women wear low-cut 1800s dresses and gowns that reveal cleavage. A server in a tavern wears a very tight-fitting outfit of thin material that clings to her breasts and buttocks. A shirtless man is shown wearing a vest and trousers and we see tattoos on his bare arms his bare chest. A man's bare chest and arms are seen as a doctor examines a gunshot wound to his shoulder.


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VIOLENCE/GORE 8 - A man is cut in half by a swinging pendulum with a sharp blade that whistles through the air and he screams several times as blood flies everywhere in the room and he dies; a sheet placed over him is soaked with blood and an investigator looks at his face and finds it completely bloody, with eyes staring. A man jumps off a church roof and slices open the throat of a police officer and we see a lot of gushing blood. A detective is shot in the shoulder and grimaces. A man says he killed his own father with poison and hands a glass of poisoned liquid to a second man, who drinks it under threat of his fiancée being murdered.
 Throughout the film, we see bloody and grisly murder scenes in dark rooms: We see one female child, four women and four men left dead, with their throats slit by knives or necks cut open by strangulation ropes, and we see bright red and dried brown blood on all of their faces and necks, with more blood having run out of their mouths to cover their chests and hands (one female corpse is covered in what turns out to be stage blood). An arm and a hand slip down from a chimney to be visible in a fireplace and blood drips off the fingers. A newspaper editor says several times that people love blood and murder; later, he sits dead at his desk, with his mouth, throat, arms and hands covered in blood. A man cuts open a human heart he picked up from a morgue, looks at it, and gives it to his pet raccoon, which eats part of it. In a medical classroom, students open a coffin with a cadaver in it and a raven flies out; we see that the corpse's face is bloody from the raven's pecking. A man finds a severed human tongue in a wooden box at the theater, dripping blood; an investigator later opens a corpse's mouth and finds the tongue gone, replaced with a large pocket watch that is bloody. A corpse dressed in woman's attire is dug out of a brick wall and we see some blood on the neck.
 A dozen scenes show a woman buried alive in a wooden coffin and she struggles to break out; her fingers become bloody as she finally punches out of the coffin, crawls out of the dirt and a cloaked man grabs her, drags her off-screen and we see her back in the coffin, screaming; another man digs her out and police officers take her away in an ambulance.
 A cloaked man on a horse rides into a ballroom party and is shot; he falls from the horse to the floor. A detective fires a pistol and misses a man dressed in black, and he climbs a ladder and falls back down, but is uninjured. A police inspector fires a pistol at a man entering the inspector's carriage, but we do not see the results of the shot as the scene ends abruptly. Two scenes show a man lean back on a park bench and die as a raven flies over him.
 Three ravens peck at the body of a mashed rat. A detective shoots at a suspect and misses. In a wooded area, a murder suspect is shot at and shoots back, but only a raven is struck and the bird dies on the ground.
 Looking for a murderer in a room, a police officer shoots into an empty closet and we see bullets flying toward the audience. Police officers point pistols at several people without shooting. We hear gunfire from off screen in a theater, but no one is injured. We see blood on a child's face but the child is not injured.
 A man falls off a catwalk in a theater, but is unharmed. A man finds his house burning to the ground with many large flames as the fire department throws buckets of water on it. Some costume partygoers are shown dressed as devils and skeletons.
 We hear numerous men and women screaming in voiceover and see a flashback of a woman being strangled with her mouth open and gasping. We see several close-ups of men's mouths screaming. Two scenes occur in dark tunnels under a city and police officers shout the name of a missing woman into the tunnels. A man in a bar shouts and argues with the bartender and patrons; one patron threatens to split his head open and three other men carry him outside off-screen as the scene ends. A man shouts and argues with police officers several times about a murder he is investigating and he is punched in the mouth by an older man (we see some blood in his mouth). A man argues with a murder suspect and fires a gun past his ear as he threatens to shoot the suspect. A man's adult daughter is kidnapped and the man shouts several times in anger about this.
 We hear that many people have died in the arms of one man and that someone died after several rounds of bloody coughing and disease. A murderer sends notes and letters to the police and a writer, taunting them that he will continue to kill more people (the notes are written in red ink, resembling blood).


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LANGUAGE 5 - About 2 F-words, 5 scatological references, 12 mild obscenities, name-calling (mouth-breather, mad, nuts, buffoon, slops, philistines, hack, fish wrap, twat, mental oyster, tripe, whore, viper, atheist, alcoholic, beast, animal, pervert, hoodlum, coward), stereotypical references to women, men, killers, alcoholics, the Irish, the wealthy, police officers, actors, writers, 4 religious profanities, 6 religious exclamations.


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SUBSTANCE USE - A man often carries a bottle of whiskey and drinks from it or from a flask of alcohol, a man drinks wine and sherry at home and at work and at a masked ball, a man's boss tells him alcohol is rotting his brain and he should stop drinking, men drink tankards of beer in a bar, a man tastes a wine and orders six cases of it for a party, and whiskey is used to sterilize instruments before removing a bullet from a shoulder wound and the rest of the bottle is given to the wounded man to drink to numb the pain.


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DISCUSSION TOPICS - Alcoholism, death, murder, mental illness, stalkers, justice.

MESSAGE - Victims are not responsible for a stalker's behaviors.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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