Tagline: The only one who can stop a serial killer is the one who inspired him.
The influence of Edgar Allen Poe can’t be understated: his legacy pervades the horror genre, as do films about him. John Cusack plays Poe in this movie with an interesting twist. As a madman begins to commit murders inspired by Poe’s oeuvre, a Baltimore detective (Luke Evans) teams up with the writer in order to try and get inside the killer’s mind so he can be stopped from causing even more mayhem. But matters get closer to home, when Poe’s love (Alice Eve) becomes the next target.
It all sounds rather promising, which is why it’s a letdown to hear that the critics aren’t remotely moved. “Poe’s acidic wit and flair for brevity are both in perilously short supply in this torpid, rackety whodunit set in the week before the writer’s death,” slams the Daily Telegraph. “Poe was one of the most vicious, merciless critics of his age. He would not have let this get past him without skewering its shortcomings with a barbed quill,” concludes Empire. But the Guardian is almost a lone voice of support, noting that “Stephen King’s Misery and Updike’s Bech Noir spring to mind, and it’s a nice touch to give Baltimore a serial killer over a century before Dr Hannibal Lecter was employed by the Johns Hopkins Medical Centre in that city.”