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Raven's Hollow

Directed by Christopher Hatton
A Shudder Original

A group of US army cadets discover a mutilated, dying man tied to a tree whilst out on a training exercise. With the man whispering a single word “Raven” before succumbing to his injuries, they take his body to the nearest town they think he’s from, a place called Raven’s Hollow. Upon their arrival, the cadets find the residents of Raven’s Hollow a little unwelcoming and after they deny all knowledge of the murder victim, the suspicious soldiers, led by Edgar Poe, decide to stick around for a bit in order to get to the truth. As Poe and his men investigate the mystery man’s murder, they begin to unearth some dark secrets of Raven’s Hollow that will put all their lives in jeopardy.

Atmospheric gothic chiller RAVEN’S HOLLOW embraces the supernatural in this captivating tale, centred around a young Edgar Allan Poe during his time serving as a West Point cadet in the Autumn of 1830.

The film wastes no time in settling the viewer into the story, with the soldiers at odds with the creepy community they’ve stumbled upon. Right from the off, you can tell that something isn’t right about the people there and, judging from the opening scenes, it seems something malevolent is at work in Raven’s Hollow that the residents are keen to keep quiet about. But secrets usually have a way of getting out.

British actor William Moseley takes the charge as young Edgar Allan Poe, a cadet who’s conviction to seek justice has him getting on the wrong side of the local community. Poe seems quite assertive and easily takes the lead of the group of cadets, though he sometimes finds he butts heads with a few of the men over varying opinion. He comes across quite fair and analytical, determined to seek the truth no matter what. With the mystery of the dead body on his hands, he has a feeling that the answer lies somewhere within Raven’s Hollow but can he trust anything that comes out the mouth of the townsfolk, even if they are as pretty as local girl, Charlotte Ingram?

Fellow Brits, Kate Dickie and David Hayman, also star, with Dickie retaining her native Scottish accent as Charlotte’s mother, Elizabet, a woman who’s sinister glare could strike you down where you stand. However, it’s David Hayman’s eccentric Dr Garrett who steals every scene that he’s in, thanks to his passionate demeanour and wild hair.

For me, story-driven movies are the best kind of horrors, the ones that prefer to pull you deeper into the story as it unfolds and RAVEN’S HOLLOW certainly ticks that box. The movie has been brilliantly put together, with such effort put into the costumes, locations and set design to create an environment that completely immerses you in its story. The period features, coupled with the unease created by the eerie woodland community, sets the viewer on edge, ready to receive the supernatural events that are always on the peripheral. When these horrors are delivered, they are executed with wonderful precision to chill and unnerve, and make you wonder just what or who is responsible. The film’s mysterious antagonist is always kept a little out of view, the filmmakers preferring to tease the audience until the final scenes and this works to great effect with the film playing out like a murder mystery/inspector drama that fans of Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow will likely enjoy.

A supernatural thriller that beautifully reflects the chilling essence of Poe’s work, RAVEN’S HOLLOW is a gothic tale of terror that will surely delight.

Rating: ★★★★★★★½☆☆

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About Bat 4389 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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