A fan fiction of Edgar Allan Poe’s dark poem “The Raven” and a mind-bending thriller based on the gothic horror backdrop, “Raven’s Hollow” is a fairly decent attempt at horror storytelling by Christopher Hatton. Similarly, the film follows Cadet Poe’s journey to find some answers, like in his poetic horror world, where he questions a raven that enters his room. The core of the movie is the gruesome presentation of how Cadet Poe (William Moseley) and his partners encounter death after death on their journey from a murder investigation in the ruined town of “Raven’s Hollow,” carrying the omen of a surreal myth. So, let’s see how Edgar Allan Poe got his inspiration for the timeless poem, which is shown in this movie in a fictional way.
How Did Edgar Poe Reach Raven’s Hollow?
The story carries an appalling mood right from the start, as it begins in a thick, dark forest with a narrow path crowded with fallen leaves as a little girl returns to her home, but something follows her that forces the girl to leave quickly. She looks back and sees a bunch of leaves following her like a whirlwind. The scared girl runs to her house, but the bunch of leaves enters her mouth like a flock of birds, penetrating her, leaving through the chimney, and blending into the sky.
The scene then shifts to that same haunted forest where Cadet Edgar Poe and his four companions from the US Military Academy stumble upon a scarecrow tied to a tree trunk that appears to be a horribly wounded man. This man is believed to have been injured badly and his guts are opened, which rouses Poe’s curiosity. As he approaches the half-dead man (Toms Treinis) and questions him, he utters his last words, saying that he is in that condition because of the Raven. Poe is eager to investigate, despite the reluctance of his companions, so he takes the body to Raven’s Hollow, a desolate and ruined town where a small population is holding a ritual among themselves. The dead man’s last words suggest to Poe that the secret of his death is hidden somewhere in Raven’s Hollow. He asks the community if they know about this person, to which they reply he is a stranger. Elizabet and her daughter Charlotte, the leader of this gothic community, seem highly suspicious. It seems that they are somehow avoiding both this person and his death.
In front of all, Charlotte (Melanie Zanetti) comes forward, with her beautiful face and cunning look, as if she can charm everyone. Perhaps Edgar and his companions are also enamored, so at Charlotte’s invitation, they take refuge at an inn where she inscribes their names one by one in her register. Meanwhile, Elizabet (Kate Dickie) is reluctant and scared from the beginning due to her reticent nature. She does not entertain incoming guests but is more interested in seeing them off. Poe meets Garrett (David Hayman), a physician present with Elizabet, who is interested in the study of corpses, so he wants to help Poe, but the old man’s strange smile and gaze make him suspicious. Eventually, we are introduced to Usher (Oberon K. A. Adjepong), another faithful servant who will take care of Poe and his companions’ horses.
Raven’s Hunt: How Is Thomas Killed?
Elizabet offers her guests a drink until they are done cooking, and she takes her daughter Charlotte into the kitchen to avoid the incoming questions. At night, as the dinner is being held, Poe learns of yet another death in the settlement. It was the girl we see dying in the first scene, whose name was Mary Keen.
At night, on a walk, two of Poe’s companions, Lutz (Mathis Landwehr) and Thomas (Michael Guest), were warned by Usher. He eerily warns them that the Raven is not only a bird but an evil entity that will hunt them down soon if they do not leave by tonight. Charlotte, meanwhile, has a conversation with Poe in which she wants to know about the murder, but Poe doesn’t want to reveal it. At nightfall, when Poe draws Charlotte’s face in his notebook in the room, it can be assumed that Edgar Poe is in love with her or is somehow attracted to her. Even in the dark of night, Poe sees Charlotte outside her window, dressed in white. But at that moment, a bigger incident happens: Thomas is attacked by an evil spirit that pulls his body to the jungle and penetrates it by a big sharp nail. The very next morning, the commotion begins to find Thomas. To locate where Thomas has been lost, Poe and his companions try to reach him here and there but find no trace of him. Meanwhile, when Poe arrives at the church, Dr. Garrett informs him that they will take responsibility for burying the previous dead man, but Poe cannot think clearly for his lost friend Thomas. Eventually, they conclude that the blame should be shifted onto Usher as he was the one who had warned them about the Raven last night. They get hold of Usher in the stable and supervise him while two of the cadets run towards the forest in search of Thomas. But instead of finding Thomas alive, they find his chopped body buried in a wooden house, guarded by a black wolf who happens to eat the hands of the dead. Meanwhile, Poe meets another shady character named Clay (Callum McGowan), who acquaints him with his traumatized father, who once was attacked by a raven but managed to escape somehow. While Poe wants to talk to the father, he murmurs strangely, and Clay clarifies that his father is waiting for his death as the Raven would come to hunt him again.
Raven’s Disguise: How Does Poe Become The Only Survivor?
Along with the two of his friends, Poe finds Thomas’ body, which he believes to have been hacked with an axe. Since Usher has the axe, suspicion falls on him. But Garrett’s examination tells him that if it was the work of a human, his skin and tissue would have abrasion marks which aren’t there. Poe is shocked, and on the street, in the dark, he meets Charlotte, who pleads with him to release Usher. In this regard, Charlotte tells the lore of Raven, which happens to be the truth of her life. She tells us that when they went on a picnic with the family at a very young age, this Raven hunted her sister Lenore. Her father died from the pain of losing his daughter, and Elizabet was so traumatized that she has not recovered since. In this situation, Usher only took care of her as his child. So, Charlotte asks Poe to release Usher. This story seems so convenient to Poe that he frees Usher despite the prohibition of his friends. At this juncture, Raven attacks one of their friends, Will (Callum Woodhouse), which is witnessed by Poe with his own eyes. He ends up having only Will’s heart, which he brings back inside the inn. Poe and his two remaining friends begin to believe that there really is a beast named Raven that is hunting people, but they don’t understand how only Poe survives when Raven has every opportunity to attack him. At this, Garrett very strangely tells Poe that Raven is playing with him. Poe puts Will’s severed heart in a box while his two companions, Lutz and Bishop, decide to get out to get some help. However, the end is not saved; these two companions are lost in the forest’s directionless darkness and die. Another characteristic of Raven is that it can assume any form whenever it wants. The Bishop, who accompanies Lutz on the forest road, is not a human but a raven, who hunts Lutz. Maybe it had killed Bishop a long time ago, and taking his form, he killed Lutz as well. The exact same thing happened with Poe. When Poe gets the news from Clay that Bishop has already died at the church, he returns home and sees Lutz standing there, whom he hints is not his friend Lutz but Raven. Somehow, Poe survives the illusion and fear of death. When he arrives at Clay’s house, he finds an even more gruesome death, that of Clay’s father. Clay tells him that his father was eventually killed by Raven. But not only that, Clay tells Poe something more that opens his eyes.
According to Clay, the previously deceased Reverend and his sister, Mary Keen, were both victims of Raven. The Reverend was a young man who was conflicted about Raven. He believed that Raven was a demon, so he created new prayers and rituals to suppress it, but instead, the two of them were killed by an enraged Raven. Poe enlists the help of Clay to finish off Raven, who agrees to help him despite his fear. Poe mixes opium with his drink to keep his brain on the right track and find the demon, but right after that, his illusion begins, when Clay confronts him with another truth. He learns that Charlotte didn’t actually have a twin sister. Elizabet’s daughter, Charlotte, was attacked by Raven’s claw, but after some time, she strangely returned completely changed. Clay reveals that he used to have feelings for Charlotte as a child, but that changed after her attack. He speculates that Charlotte may also have affectionate feelings for Poe, for which he only repeatedly survives, despite all his other companions getting killed. From Clay, Poe understands that the real Raven is Charlotte herself, so he takes one last sip of the opium-laced drink and enters Raven’s Hollow.
Raven’s Love: How is Edgar Poe Able to Survive The Raven’s Attack?
Poe’s delusions take over him just as he enters Raven’s Hollow, and instead of Charlotte, he sees Raven in Elizabet. When he tells Clay about it, he doesn’t notice anything like that. Finally, when Poe draws his gun and shoots Elizabet in Raven’s guise, Raven takes its form and flies away, hitting Clay. Clay loses his life and Charlotte hits Poe, knocking him unconscious. Poe finally regains consciousness when he finds himself tied to Usher’s cart. He realizes that their earlier suspicions were completely correct, as Usher now confesses to him of all the murders. He tells them that he had warned them many times to leave, but they didn’t, so he was obliged to take Thomas away and cut up his body to bury it. He even tied the Reverend to a tree like a scarecrow. The reason for all his activities was to save Charlotte. Because Charlotte and Raven’s fates are intertwined, they love each other. Charlotte, however, was fond of Poe, so with her permission, Raven did not hurt him. But now that Poe knows everything, Usher is forced to abandon him to Raven. He ties Poe to a tree and flees the place with all his belongings.
Poe’s hallucinations increase and he often sees Charlotte’s white-clothed body in front of his eyes. At the next moment, he even hallucinates Raven, but it is actually his horse that comes to free him from the shackles. Finally, the unbound Poe rides his horse into Raven’s Hollow. Inside the inn, he witnesses a horrific scene where Usher, drinking Poe’s opium-laced wine, behaves like a lunatic and murders his beloved Elizabet. When Poe comes to stop him, he regains consciousness and commits suicide, unable to bear the death of his beloved by his own hands. Charlotte witnesses everything, but Poe wants to rescue her from this hell. He takes her far away on his horse. But Charlotte, madly in love with Raven, or trapped in Raven’s trance, continues to profess her love. She questions Poe’s understanding of the concept of love because Raven’s passion for her is so intense that if Poe hurts her, Raven will end his life. Poe contradicts Charlotte by saying that Raven can’t love her because she doesn’t understand what love is. Even Charlotte doesn’t know, either. Only Poe can understand true love, as he fell in love the moment, he had seen Charlotte, but she already belonged to someone else, so he bid her farewell with one last kiss. The winged Raven took Charlotte into the sky and vanished into the distance. The final scene shows Cadet Edgar Allen Poe being discharged from the military academy due to the horror of the incident. We see him rise from being an army cadet to a poet, where he begins to write his classic poem, “The Raven,” while sipping on a glass of wine.
‘Raven’s Hollow’ Ending Explained: Where Does Raven Exist? In Raven’s Hollow or Edgar Poe’s Head?
Raven’s Hollow can be many things besides being a whole nothingness. Edgar Allen Poe’s poem “The Raven,” which depicts his conversation with a raven who appears as a stranger in his dark life, inspired Christopher Hatton’s fictional world in his cinematic angle. We find many easter eggs of poetry in this movie, like ‘Lost Lenore.’ Just as the poet’s “Lost Lenore” in the poem had a sense of what he wanted to find, Charlotte’s imaginary story in the movie also hints at her losing herself, which she named “Lenore.” Even when Poe hallucinates Elizabet as the Raven after taking an opium drink, he hears from her, “Nevermore,” which only Poe can hear. So, it can be said, in the darkness of life bound by the rules of Cadet, Raven may be a character born from Edgar Poe’s brain, and maybe there was no entity called Raven in that settlement. Instead, Charlotte herself might be the one who was conducting a ritual of a demonic cult there (as Raven’s wings and its appearance are widely presented as Lucifer), which was interrupted by the Reverend, so she was bound to kill him and his sister Mary Keen and all the other friends of Poe. However, as she had feelings for Poe, she could not kill him, but rather wanted to spend the rest of her life with him. But Poe broke out of this love trance and either abandoned her or killed her, leading to his discharge from the academy. Otherwise, it could be a complete contradiction as Charlotte might be the one who was trapped or possessed by the Raven, who might be a real entity (like Lucifer or any other demon), and she was bound to fall in love with it. So, even after falling for Edgar Poe, she had to return to the Raven as she had no choice left.
“Raven’s Hollow” is a good horror movie, bursting with gorgeous visuals and a beautiful storyline that gives the essence of Edgar Poe’s life as well as a fresh new story. However, Garrett suddenly disappears from the last half of the movie, which is beyond any analysis for us. Maybe he somehow falls victim to Raven. All in all, it is a beautiful experience and can be presented as an inspiration for original content writing and going beyond the stereotype of horror.
“Raven’s Hollow” is a 2022 Drama Thriller film directed by Christopher Hatton.