From Hell

  • 18
  • Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes (2001)
  • US
  • 117 min
From Hell
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

Given the intricacy of Alan Moore's graphic novel From Hell, it's no surprise that Menace II Society directors Allen and Albert Hughes have focused solely on the elements concerning Jack the Ripper for this celluloid adaptation of the book. After all, Victorian London's most infamous denizen continues to morbidly fascinate the serial killer-obsessed public, particularly as he was never caught. Despite the gruesome nature of the Ripper's crimes, the Hughes Brothers resist the temptation to produce merely a blood-drenched whodunnit; this is a meticulous, gripping chiller that captivates on many levels. On the one hand, it's painstakingly crafted social history that captures the grime, grit and prejudices of a thoroughly hypocritical era. On the other, it's a grisly and horribly believable tale of greed, revenge and lunacy in which gore is only part of the pervading horror. Ultimately, and refreshingly, the plot is strong enough to contextualise the violence. Combined with the hypnotic camerawork and inspired performances (particularly from Johnny Depp as the policeman on the trail of the Ripper and Ian Holm as respected physician Sir William Gull), this ensures that the movie is both visually and intellectually engaging. The one flaw is in the casting of Heather Graham as potential victim Mary Kelly, whose unblemished beauty and ever-changing accent strike the only hollow notes.

Plot Summary

Period horror based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, starring Johnny Depp, Heather Graham and Ian Holm. London, 1888: the lives of prostitutes struggling for survival on the East End streets are literally torn apart when, one by one, they become the victims of a serial killer known as "Jack the Ripper". Assigned to the case, police inspector Fred Abberline falls in love with Irish streetwalker Mary Kelly, which intensifies his desperation to unmask the murderer.

Cast and crew

Cast

Inspector Frederick "Fred" Abberline
Johnny Depp
Mary Kelly
Heather Graham
Sir William Gull
Ian Holm
Sgt Peter Godley
Robbie Coltrane
Sir Charles Warren
Ian Richardson
John Netley
Jason Flemyng
"Dark Annie" Chapman
Katrin Cartlidge
Kate Eddowes
Lesley Sharp
Liz Stride
Susan Lynch
Ben Kidney
Terence Harvey
Polly
Annabelle Apsion
Ada
Estelle Skornik

Crew

Director
Albert Hughes
Director
Allen Hughes

Other Information

Language: 
English
Colour
Theatrical distributor: 
20th Century Fox
Guidance: 
Violence, drug abuse, sex scenes and nudity.
Available on video, DVD and BluRay
Released 8 Feb 2002
Certificate 18
Categories
Drama