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7 reviews, 75 user ratings

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From Hell
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by EricDSnider

"I'm tired of making jokes about movies whose titles are also reviews."
3 stars

Nowadays, we take for granted that serial killers are often intelligent, well-educated men. Not so in 1888, when Jack the Ripper terrorized London. The notion that he might be a surgeon or professor was preposterous; educated men didn’t DO things like that.

I have just spelled out the most interesting idea in “From Hell,” the new Hughes Brothers examination of the Jack the Ripper case: The fact that the investigation was hampered by authorities refusing to believe the killer wasn’t a butcher or blacksmith.

(You might be tempted to think the film’s most interesting idea is the one where the lead investigator is psychic, but you’d be wrong. That’s a cop-out, because it excuses the guy from doing real police work. He just has to sit around smoking opium until a revelation comes.)

Anyway, the movie, all dark and icky, brings up the interesting idea for a minute and then leaves it alone. It focuses its energy instead on being as filthy and wretched as London was in those days, with prostitutes having sex openly in the streets and people drinking to the point of unconsciousness on a regular basis. I’m surprised a guy walking around slashing throats was even considered out of place.

The able and talented Johnny Depp plays Fred Abberline, the detective assigned to the case. His psychic powers are well-known, which is why supervisor Peter Godley (Robbie Coltrane), a rotund, Shakespeare-quoting fellow, chooses him for it.

The victims are prostitutes, who are in a plight already because they owe money to someone named McQueen and his band of bad guys. The leader of the whores is Mary Kelly, played by Heather Graham in what is supposed to be an Irish accent but instead sounds like Heather Graham trying to do an English accent but not trying very hard. One by one the ladies are picked off by the Ripper, who removes organs from them with precise skill.

It’s clear we’re supposed to try to guess who the killer is, because whenever we see him, the Hugheses make an obvious effort not to show his face. Which is why I was so disappointed to have guessed his identity so early on. Oh, well. Maybe I see too many movies.

I definitely see too many movies like this one: great costumes and set designs, solid acting (including Ian Holm as a helpful royal physician), a tense moment or two, and then it all adds up to nothing. The first two-thirds are fairly entertaining (in a macabre, gruesome kind of way) but only because we expect there to be a payoff. When it doesn’t come, we wonder what the point was. Why did we watch this? Even if the announcement of the Ripper’s identity is a surprise to you, I suspect you’ll find the whole thing unsatisfying and the ending unnecessarily grim.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4631&reviewer=247
originally posted: 10/16/01 16:14:31
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User Comments

10/30/16 morris campbell good looking but a bullshit interpretation of the ripper legend they never knew who he was 2 stars
12/04/11 Pamela WhiteGreat adaptation of the Ripper story 4 stars
8/16/10 R.W. Welch Another interpolation of the Ripper mystery, but no more convincing than all the others. 3 stars
8/29/09 CTT Rather blah and familiar 3 stars
1/21/09 Psychotic angel Flawed, it has good Ripper atmosphere, but based on Alan Moore´s comic. 4 stars
10/07/08 Shaun Wallner Great Action!! 5 stars
1/25/07 del Good-looking, but a storyline that drags badly. Rent "Murder by Decree" instead. 3 stars
1/24/07 Ole Man Bourbon Very little to this movie. 3 stars
5/07/06 chienne Where was Walter Sickert in all this? Great film - superbly done. 5 stars
4/17/06 john bale The lurid colour rather defeats the gothic horror of the Ripper's slayings. 4 stars
3/18/06 MP Bartley Satisfyingly grisly and engrossing. Graham is wooden, Depp odd as ever... 4 stars
1/03/06 CrowTRobot Came so close to being great at times, but in the end missed the mark. A shame. 3 stars
8/08/05 Sylvanthunder Quite a good movie ,who cares about the cockney accent, nobody but the British! 5 stars
5/12/05 Indrid Cold Silly and MTVish, but decent entertainment nonetheless. 3 stars
2/06/05 John Bale Inept version of The Ripper, Depp miscast, whole thing looks like an overlit TV Commercial 3 stars
8/01/04 Raf Milis This movie is really creepy, Depp is awesome, but so is the whole setting...Great job!! 5 stars
1/21/04 American Slasher Goddess Not the best Jack the Ripper movie ever made, but still very good. 4 stars
12/13/03 Agent Sands (previously Mr. Hat) A step down from the Hughes brothers. Depp is OK. No good at being scary. 2 stars
12/05/03 john a great Jack the Ripper film - the atomsphere is truly creepy - Depp is great! first rate 5 stars
10/19/03 Ingo Very good adaptation. 4 stars
9/11/03 KING EDWARD anyone who dosen't agree with the great w. gull should be killed like a whitechapel WHORE. 5 stars
7/12/03 George Jung A great movie. Jack Sommersby is queer. Super queer. 5 stars
5/03/03 sleepy learned how to smoke opium. 5 stars
4/17/03 Shadaan Felfeli well made - definately worth the admission ticket 4 stars
11/11/02 Monster W. Kung Dull, dull, dull. 2 stars
9/26/02 John McNew Atmospheric and interesting, but its numerous attempts to be scary are simply unsuccessful. 3 stars
9/01/02 hum non involving 2 stars
9/01/02 y2mckay Depp and Graham have lame accents. Tries to put every ripper theory into one story & fails 3 stars
8/25/02 Jamal First - rate atmospheric thriller 5 stars
8/13/02 Bryan Brooks Grotesque and pointless. 2 stars
7/10/02 James the worst piece of shit 1 stars
7/03/02 KMG There was something about the atmosphere that was missing 4 stars
6/23/02 Baal Don't be fooled - it's awesome. Great atmosphere, great story, great actors. Loved it! 5 stars
6/09/02 davey mac not worth my time or the $4.60 it cost me to rent it!!! 2 stars
5/28/02 Kyle Jesus Christ... you people are fucking insane... I fell asleep during this! 1 stars
5/27/02 Amy Too typical horror movie-ish, but great cinematography 4 stars
5/26/02 Nicole Good story done poorly....turned into a slasher movie making it lose its reality 3 stars
5/18/02 The Conscience Objector Less Jack, More Ripper 3 stars
5/15/02 spyguy2 Depp smokes hash and drinks absinthe, Graham is the worlds prettiest hooker, blah blah blah 3 stars
5/15/02 Butterbean Shot brilliantly.Great theory on the murders.Could have done w/o the half-assed romance. 3 stars
4/15/02 Mark Hortop Great movie with a dark and disturbing psychological edge. Depp and Holm shine. 5 stars
4/02/02 CAT Movie was ok but it was lacking in areas like plot 3 stars
2/27/02 Alan Smithee A complete mess......and Ms. Graham doesn't get naked either. 1 stars
2/21/02 Jimbo only average. that old mason stuff doesn't click anymore 3 stars
2/15/02 Vincent Kennedy What a bleak movie ! ! Warning, Go in depressed, come out suicidal 3 stars
2/14/02 Matthew Smith an ugly, gruesome and uncomfortable experience 3 stars
2/10/02 cookie Depp's bit character talent is wasted on this film. The cause: bad direction+lacking script 3 stars
12/18/01 Monya_t Great Gothic-Thriller..and, J. Depp is FIIIIIINNNNNNEEEEEEE! 5 stars
11/23/01 Axe Murderer good movie...one of the years best releases 5 stars
11/17/01 malcolm depp being in a film is starting to be good enough for me to give any film a shot. 3 stars
11/17/01 brent decent, but not exciting. 3 stars
11/08/01 Darren Shea expertly directed, wonderfully atmospheric, good acting (even from Graham!) 5 stars
11/06/01 Daniel Esparza This a very good movie if you want to be frightened and experience a new type of movie. 5 stars
11/05/01 Bueller A would-be psycho-drama-thriller. Sadly, it's just an interesting twist on an old formula. 3 stars
11/05/01 puckfreak From hell indeed...visuals==great, story==lame & boring 2 stars
11/05/01 RazorDog Good story and visuals, but the ending was rather anticlimactic. 3 stars
11/05/01 Visions of dry,drawn out, and really lacking in some places, tried way too hard to be artsy. 3 stars
11/04/01 Bob Simply Stunning. Fun for all. 5 stars
11/03/01 Nausheen Dadabhoy Great acting, directing and story this film has it all! 5 stars
11/01/01 Gay Tooth Fairy Thought is was a waste of my time. Only my opinion ofcourse. 2 stars
10/29/01 Greg Nixon Great story, Heather Graham is good eye-candy but terrible actress, Depp is great as always 4 stars
10/29/01 John Entertaining, very dark, story could have done more. 3 stars
10/28/01 spaceworm Holm's final drool drop left over from ALIEN? 4 stars
10/26/01 TK Hagar His identity is obvious but still chilling. Depp is great as usual, movie is intelligent 5 stars
10/25/01 derek deems this film would have been much better if it had never reavealed the identity of the killer 2 stars
10/24/01 AARD7ARK uhm... lessee... "from hell" or "glitter"... hmmm..... 4 stars
10/23/01 Blaise Stylish, but too many hollywood liberties. Read the comic instad 3 stars
10/22/01 ZACHARY SMITH tho rollergirl was used effectively, i would have liked more backstory on the elephant man. 4 stars
10/21/01 cactus was this movie stolen from tim burton? 3 stars
10/21/01 Waylon Roundtree Heather Graham is the weak spot, but film is still great and atmospheric. 5 stars
10/19/01 TimmyJ Very stylish film, not for everyone but I liked it 4 stars
10/19/01 TimmyTomorrow By the end of the film, I felt like killing the directors. 1 stars
10/18/01 DRS The reviewers don´t know shit! 5 stars
10/17/01 iampower@pacbell.net Stylish,depressing, but better acted and more payoff than I was expecting! 4 stars
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  19-Oct-2001 (R)



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