The Unexpected

Raven Hallow
Stars: William Moseley, Melanie Zanetti, Elizabeth Kate Dickie, David Hayman, Callum Woodhouse, Lawrence Kyle Rowe, Mathis Landwehr and Oberon K. A. Adjepong
Director: Christopher Hatton
Scriptwriters: Christopher Hatton and Chuck Reeves
Composer: Robert Ellis-Geiger
Cinematographer: Michael Rizzi
Cinevilla Studio/Shudder
Rating: PG 13 for violence and themed material
Running Length: 100 minutes 

The name Edgar Allan Poe rings through American history as a story teller and poet. The era of Washington Irving had brought forth, in the 1820’s, the “Sleepy Hollow” with Ichabod Crane as the teacher who rides into a nightmare. Poe, in the 1840’s, is a young man and in the Academy as a military cadet. It is during one of his tours of duty that his group of cadets -  Callum Woodhouse, Mathis Landwehr, Kyle Rowe and Michael Guest,  come upon an alarming village and the adventure begins. William Moseley (“The Royals”) plays the curious Poe and thus begins a detective investigation before detective investigations became known to the public, as such. No fingerprints or DNA this time, though, as the scenario progresses, those modes of research would be helpful. Director Christopher Hatton, along with co-scriptwriter Chuck Reeves,” weave a solemn tale of intrigue in an unexpected place and a what-in-the-world-is-going-on attitude. 

We have Poe and Company getting lost while on a training exercise. Then, we seeing a younger girl in mid-air with petals in her mouth, and it goes to Poe and Company seeing what they think is a scarecrow in a field. Alas, it is not what it seems, but a man, insides chopped, barely alive, but able to say “Raven.” The Cadets don’t quite know what to do, but they take the body to the nearest town – which could be called Dreary Town. No one seems to take much notice of their appearance, and since it is getting toward evening, a lady and her daughter (Kate Dickie from “Annika” and Melanie Zanetti from “Bluey.”) let the Cadets spend the night at their Inn.  People are missing, and Poe is curious about what is happening.  He notices things others do not. Is something closing in on them? Everyone is curiously silent including the town physician, Dr. Garrett (David Hayman from “Landscapers”) All of this and the mystique of forest and fog. 

There was an earlier short film in 2011 also called “Raven’s Hollow” that concerned a cornfield and a farmer. Cinematography in the current “Raven’s Hollow,” is by Michael Rizzi and music by Robert Ellis-Geiger that add to the ambience of gray terror that creeps around the village. Acting can be rather stilted at times, but then, this adds to the fright of the situation. William Moseley plays Poe as a man who uses opium to help him think. Unfortunately, as we know, in later life, Poe had a drug  habit. 

In all of the horror films that come between September and the middle of November each year, only a few stand out. This “Raven Hollow” is one of them and brings depth to the character of Edgar Allen Poe as a young man and what he can use from his experiences that carries through to later years when he is a serious writer. “The Raven” poem, being one of them. 


Copyright 2022  Marie Asner