Edgar Allan Poe (John Cusack) helps investigate a series of murders patterned on his own macabre stories. The idea has promise (even though it was swiped, slightly altered, from Se7en), but director James McTeigue, a decent cast (Luke Evans, Alice Eve, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Hazeldine) and a good production design (Roger Ford) contend in vain against one of the most moronically stupid screenplays since the advent of talking pictures—for example, the movie says Poe’s last days are a mystery (true), then has his every move plastered on the front pages of Baltimore newspapers (invented). The perpetrators of this anachronism-riddled mess are actor-turned-writer Ben Livingston (turn back, Ben, turn back!) and someone named, no kidding, Hannah Shakespeare. (What’s in a name? In this case, absolutely nothing.).