Reviewed by Alicia Glass
Inspector Abberline and Scotland Yard, supported by a bevy of saucy women of the night, probe the killings of Jack the Ripper as he terrorizes London!
There are several completely inescapable facts about this movie, and it helps that I happen to be a fan of all of them. To begin with, we have Johnny Depp as Abberline himself, chasing the dragon (that’s a euphemism for drug use folks) to help bring him visions of the killings. I do like the irony. Then there’s the fact that the movie was done by the Hughes brothers, famous for such films as Menace 2 Society and The Book of Eli. Heather Graham, all dolled up in red hair, plays love interest and spunky whore Mary Kelly. And don’t forget the last fun fact – that the true purported bad guy of the film is played by Ian Holm, of so much fame it’s hard to know where to begin, but the best parallel between that character and this one has to be Lord of the Rings, the first one. And Robbie Coltrane is Abberline’s helpful partner, Sergeant Peter Godley, which is an interesting name choice.
So, the streets of London are cold and dark, the whores have to fend for themselves against “protection rackets” and men who mean them harm, and don’t forget, Jack the Ripper is now out there too, with his grapes and his knives. Watching Abberline follow the trail left behind is made much more interesting with the dreamy scenes of opium aid, which was probably the point. Jack’s madness, when Abberline finally comes across him towards the end, is clearly demonstrated in his fanaticism of anatomy and supposed aid to his fellow physician. Or is it? The film presents an interesting twist on the whole idea of Jack the Ripper – it’s generally acknowledged that the crimes were never technically solved, but rather Jack terrorized the London streets and disappeared into the eerie fog. There are more than a few theories about who he was, and the film presents one or two of them, finally settling on a Master Freemason and fellow physician who apparently only has the best interest of a certain Prince in mind. Done like a real life murder mystery, set in a very dark gothic Victorian London and starring a very fine cast, From Hell certainly has, as they say in the movie, the address right!