The Raven Review

I was pleasantly surprised by how good this film was. To be honest I really had low expectations for it. With that name you’re a little worried about the characters having to fight an actual Raven which would be no good and it just had the look of an old horror film that wouldn’t withstand the test of time. Instead it actually ended up being a really solid experience and had a little humor to balance things out too. For a minute there I even thought some of the dialogue was fake and added after the fact but that’s just how fun the series could be when it really tried.

The movie starts by introducing us to Craven who hasn’t been having a good time of things. His wife Lenore died a while back and yet he has not been able to recover. One day a sorcerer named Bedlo shows up after having been turned into a Raven by the notorious Scarabus. That guy is the most powerful sorcerer in the world and you absolutely do not want to get on his bad side. Craven wants nothing to do with him but Bedlo claims that he saw Lenore there. Craven knows that this is impossible and yet he wants to be sure so they head on over. Will this end up being a fatal journey for the crew or will they overcome all obstacles?

Craven does have magical abilities of his own but he’s just not sure about taking a foe like this on. He is far more powerful than Bedlo but at the same time you feel like that isn’t really saying a whole lot! It’s always best not to pick a fight when you can help it and Craven was a fun character the whole time. His own lair is quite mysterious as well the whole time. His dead father seems to still be alive to an extent with how his eyes glow and Craven seems to have a lot of resources for someone who considers himself to be a fairly meager mage.

As the film goes on we learn more about Craven and it helps him continue to improve as a character the whole time. He does great during the climax and was a determined fighter. He is polite but won’t let anyone walk all over him. If you stay on Craven’s good side then you’ll be okay but if you try anything funny then you will be in for a real shock. There is a whole lot of depth to Craven’s character and it would have been fun to see him return in a sequel or something. The world of magic introduced in this film is very interesting. Craven also just has that natural confident demeanor that makes him very likable.

Meanwhile Bedlo is more on the annoying side. He’s supremely weak and yet he is constantly mouthing off and picking fights. You’d think he would have learned his lesson the first time but the guy is blinded by his own arrogance. He’s impressed with Craven performing spells with a wand which is apparently a basic skill and he thought he could beat the most powerful sorcerer on the planet? Yeah the guy isn’t very smart at all and it really shows. You’re not rooting for him to win at all as the film goes on. Just let him be defeated already and everyone will be happy.

As for Scarabus, well he’s an interesting villain. The guy is fairly calm and doesn’t seem like someone who typically picks fights. If you show up before him then you are fair game though. The guy is still a full villain even if he’s not going around targeting people. He was fully ready to destroy Craven and friends in the end. The guy earned his reputation so you can be sure this wasn’t the first time as well. His powers were also the real deal so this made him a good adversary.

Part of what sets the film apart is the solid magical fight scenes here. Not just any film can deliver a really fun magical battle but this one pulled it off. It’s even more impressive when you remember how old the film is because the effects have absolutely aged very well. It was a creative way to show what they can do and the bright colors probably shocked the audience back in the day. Yes this was a good way to close out the film and it exceeded my original idea of how it would all turn out.

Additionally the humor was always very clever. Strange things happen and Craven always responds to them in a super calm way himself. That’s part of the charm and then other times something funny will happen really quickly while you are still processing what is going on. When Bedlo first starts talking as the Crow it’s really surreal since you just weren’t expecting that. The film had seemed so serious at the start which made the payoff for this scene so good. After that it has fun with the dry wit.

The movie’s fairly short too so it all moves at a really brisk pace. Something is happening in every scene and even before they arrive at the villain’s base you’re already off on the right foot. As for whether Lenore is a ghost or not I’ll let you decide but the way things play out is satisfying. I won’t say that everyone gets a happy ending but everyone does have a conclusive one.

Overall, The Raven is a fun film and a must watch for all horror fans. It’s not every day that you get to watch a horror with comedic elements like this after all. Vincent Price always does well as the lead and this movie is no exception to that. No matter what opponent or challenge gets in his way he will conquer it and keep it moving. I don’t think any other adaptions of Poe’s story could possibly ever beat this one.

Overall 7/10


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