Film Review | From Hell

More than the legend will survive

From Hell (2001)

Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes

Starring: Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Ian Holm

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Plot: In Victorian-era London, a troubled clairvoyant police detective (Depp) investigates the murders of Jack the Ripper.

Based on a novel by Alan Moore, From Hell takes all we know about Jack the Ripper and weaves together a story involving a drug-addicted police officer, a conspiracy that involves the royal family and an anti-semitic cover-up, all coming at a time when any Johnny Depp film wasn’t just rehashing Captain Jack Sparrow in all his films and Heather Graham was still a leading lady, producing a film that’s two parts period drama and one part Tim Burtons Sleepy Hollow.

If this combination sounds good to you then From Hell is ideal for you, I, however, do have few problems with the film that stopped me for enjoying it as much as Sleepy Hollow, firstly and most importantly being overly complicated plot and although I understand that we are dealing with an unsolved crime and anyone could have been the killer, the film spent a large portion of the film making every male that appeared on screen the potential killer, leading to a long succession of forgettable candidates rather than narrowing it down and giving us someone more memorable and thus giving the twist ending more weight.

Another of the aspects of From Hell that I found took away from the overall enjoyment factor was the constant switching between serious and comedic. One minute the characters are discussing a brutal murder and the next you have a scene that wouldn’t feel out of place in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen making it difficult to work out what kind of film the Hughes Brothers were trying to make.

This doesn’t mean that there isn’t pleasure to be found in the movie, once you get past the changing tone of the film, the plot does it’s jobs as an intriguing mystery, while the great visuals/set design that still holds up in HD to this day.

The acting from Depp and Graham is also a strong point, which both committing to their roles and producing entertaining throughout, including some clever and dark nightmarish scenes that border on horror.

3 Panda

If you liked: Sleepy Hollow, Dracula Untold, The Mummy

16 comments

  1. This is one of my favorite movies. The twist of who the Ripper is really surprised me. Great, great film.

  2. I recall watching this film a while back and remembering liking it. Thanks for the review, as I’ll have to rewatch it – since we have a little more time on our hands 🙂

  3. Johnny depp to me… is a good actor I think
    but there’s something off from him that somehow I can’t appreciate any movie that he was in
    I would love it much more had leopard is playing the role instead 🙂 – Knycx journeying

  4. I’ll watch anything with Depp in it but the time it’s placed in I find intriguing as well.

  5. Ah, this movie that I watch so many times. Love how they twisted that plot. Johnny Depp is awesome.

  6. I am pretty sure I saw this many years ago, but I can’t remember. I will have to check it out again.

  7. before I took a Jack the Ripper walking tour, I watched FROM HELL. I remember thinking the gore was a bit much but that the story of why the first girl (w/ the baby) was kidnapped was a very interesting explanation for what happened.

  8. From Hell is one of my all-time favorites and the ending leaves you in awe. I believe it is up there with the horror movie Bram Strokers Dracula! I will re-watch it this week.

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