Welcome to the Ending Explained for Raven’s Hollow, a new horror film that forms part of the Shudder originals. The streaming service is dedicated to all things horror, and this film certainly qualifies for that. The film tells the story of a young Edgar Allan Poe as he and his companions are drawn to solving a gruesome murder near the village of Raven’s Hollow. There, in the ghostly village, they will discover a secret that will send them on a goose chase as they try to solve the mystery and get out of the village alive.
However, the film lacks punch. The setup uses countless references to Poe’s body of work. If you are a fan, you will spend a lot of the movie uncovering the many Easter Eggs. This is very fun, but it is not a substitute for a great story and characters. The film begins as a detective story, but soon enough, this element is replaced by the supernatural element. In the end, none of these aspects of the film are properly defined or developed, and we end up with a movie that tries many things, but it is one of them completely.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for Raven’s Hollow. Read at your own risk.
What Is Killing People Near Raven’s Hollow?
The film begins by introducing Edgar Allan Poe as a young cadet in the United States Army. He and his companions are exploring a remote place in New York state. The environment is gloomy and hostile, for sure, and it seems like everyone would love to be anywhere else but here. The young cadets then find something on the road. Something horrible. They find a man nailing together to an effigy of wood. It looks like a sacrifice of the worst kind. Human sacrifice. Poe walks closer to the man and finds that he is still alive. Before dying, the man utters just one word. “Raven”.
Against his companions’ wishes, Poe decides they need to take the body home. Everybody else is against the decision, but Poe says so with such confidence that everybody else just decides to do it. They are bound by “honor” to do it, Poe says. The cadets take the body to the nearby village of Raven’s Hollow. There, they explain what they found to the locals, who are having a funeral at that moment. They say that they don’t know the murdered man, but that the soldiers can stay the night in the local boardinghouse.
Poe convinces his companions to stay, and they go to the boardinghouse. There, they meet the young and beautiful Charlotte, her mother, Elizabet, and their attendant, a black man called Usher. They are received well enough by Charlotte, but it is clear that Elizabet doesn’t want anything to do with the cadets. The men drink and eat, and then they go to bed. However, one of the cadets wakes up in the middle of the night and is attacked by a strange dark creature with wings.
The next morning, the men wake up and begin looking for their missing friend. They cannot find him anywhere, but one of the other men says he just left because he was apparently attacked by a dark-winged creature, a raven. While looking for their friend, some cadets are warned to leave the village by Usher. He says they should leave before it is too late. The men don’t pay attention and continue their search. Meanwhile, Poe is also obsessed with solving the murder of the sacrificed man. Things turn for the worse when another of the cadets disappears.
Who Or What Is The Raven Killing At Raven’s Hollow?
Poe sees his investigation come to nothing, and worse, he starts seeing weird things around town. One of these visions leads him to a place where he finds one of his missing companions under the floor torn to pieces. With the help of the village’s doctor, they come to the conclusion that no axe or blade could have done those wounds. Poe was sure that it was Usher who was the killer, but after these revelations, he abandons that line of thinking. He keeps searching for answers. However, their friends don’t want to stay in the village anymore, and they plan to leave with or without Poe.
Poe is warned by Charlotte that the raven his friend said he saw is real. She tells him her story of how she saw the raven herself as a child. She says that when she was a kid, she saw the creature, and it took her twin sister, and she was never seen again. Poe doesn’t believe in it, but then he finds an ally in Clay, a man living in the village. He explains that there is indeed something evil in the town. Clay also reveals that Charlotte never had a sister. The girl taken was Charlotte herself, and she came back months later differently. Clay and Charlotte were in love before she was taken.
Poe concludes that Charlotte is the raven, and they prepare to stop another ritual where another man is about to be sacrificed to appease the raven. However, in one of his visions, Poe sees that it is Elizabet who is the raven. He confronts her and attacks Elizabet who transforms into the dark raven and flees wounded. Before leaving, the creature kills Clay. Charlotte also leaves angry and says she doesn’t want to see Poe ever again. Poe goes to the boardinghouse to find Charlotte.
When he arrives, he finds Usher, and it is revealed that he was indeed the killer of the cadets. He did it to appease the raven’s bloodlust. He loved Elizabet, even knowing she was the raven. Usher is found with Elizabet body on the ground. He explains that when Charlotte came back from her abduction, she brought the raven with her, and since then there have been fewer people missing. Charlotte loves the raven like her real mother. Poe grabs Charlotte and decides to take her from the town.
Charlotte explains that they can leave, and the raven will kill him once they reach the ancient tree at the town’s exit. Out of nowhere, Poe explains that he was deeply in love with Charlotte and wanted to protect her. When they reach the tree, the raven does appear, but it kills Charlotte instead of Poe, who returns home. Poe was later discharged from the army. Later in life, he begins to write short tales, and we see him as he starts writing his legendary poem “The Raven” honoring what happened in the strange village.