***THERE WILL BE SPOILERS***
I liked it. Yes it was formulaic and mediocre, I will not deny that, not one bit. But it was also enjoyable. I thought Cusack's performance was really good and only limited by the script itself. I guessed the villain well before it was obvious for even the most unawares viewer. These are my negatives of the film. Now allow me to highlight the positives.
John Cusack did a great job, as did Luke Evans and the rest of the supporting cast. The plot, as I've already stated, was formulaic, but what gave it a boost, was the incorporation of Poe's stories. And not all his most known stories either, which I found quite refreshing. They didn't use those most popular stories as the crutch of the whole movie. Yes they did use those to lean on, but it wasn't just The Telltale Heart nor The Raven, nor The Pit and the Pendulum, nor The Masque of the Red Death. No, it had also incorporated The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Mystery of Marie Roget. Now some of you may scoff and say, "I've heard of the Rue Morgue Jason!" Indeed I am sure you have. But how many of you can tell me who the murderer is in that particular story without looking it up? I'd be impressed with those that can, and that's not condescending, I truly would be b/c the murderer is so far from the obvious, (it was an Ourang-Outang). No, that is not a joke, read the story. The Mystery of Marie Roget, was a nice touch (which by-the-by is a sequel, or continuation, however you choose to perceive it, to Rue Morgue). I was however hoping that when Poe's house was set ablaze, in the movie, it would have some elements of 'The Black Cat', but alas it did not. At any rate, I enjoyed the debauchery of Poe, as was true to his character, but it did seem forced. His true life demise was entrenched in mystery as any of his stories he wrote, and to this day, still unsolved. In the movie he dies right after finding Emily, but in real life, he went missing for 6-days only to be found on a park bench, raving (delicious pun intended) incoherently, wearing another man's clothes. This could've been incorporated in the movie, but they would've had to go a different route with some of the plot. I know some may have issues with the fact that this wasn't a biopic, per se, but I loved the mixture of fact and fiction. There are several "historical fiction" books out there that do this very thing, and weave a pretty impressive and intriguing story. The Raven could have been utterly amazing and unique in its premise, and to a small extent, it was, but it went for the safe formulaic plot that those not familiar with Poe would enjoy, or at least in the minds of the film makers, the viewers would enjoy. I relate it to Sleepy Hollow and Sherlock Holmes (movies), the former I enjoyed, the latter not-so-much. Though those were more "inspired" by the actual books, as opposed to historical ficion.
I also did not think the gore was over the top. The scene from The Pit and the Pendulum was gruesome to be sure, but it could've been much worse (refer to Saw pt.500, guts and intestines were shown in that shoddy rip off of Poe's masterpiece). Bottom line, is this movie worth seeing, yes. Do you need to see it in the movie theatre, not necessarily, but I do not regret having done so. It was enjoyable and allowed me to,for a moment, suspend belief and enjoy a unique look at a deliciously wonderful "what-if", "alternate universe" of Poe and his works of art. I give it X1/2-XX's out of 3 XXX's on my Sexxy movie rating scale. Stay Entertained! Happy Viewing!