From Hell


Only the legend will survive.


Jurassic Mark

SCORE: 2 Stars

From Hell is a real downer. That's not my main criticism. In ways I can't go into without spoiling the plot, From Hell is an interesting contrast of a gory exploitation picture, keenly aware of its social message. Aside from that, it's a huge cluster fuck.


  • The direction of the Hughes brothers who manage to get an acceptable performance from the beautiful and questionably talented Heather Graham. Thankfully, Graham is not the next Melanie Griffith. 

  • Johnny Depp (who can be commended upon his choice of roles alone). A potential Hollywood "pretty boy," Depp routinely accepts unconventional roles and seldom disappoints. Truly one of my all-time favorites. 

  • Robbie Coltrane. He's a great sidekick to Depp. 

  • Ian Holm (credentials too long to list).

  • Cinematographer Peter Deming and Art Director Mark Raggett. 1880's London looks amazing. 

  • Costume designer Kym Barrett.


  • The screenplay from Terry Hayes and Rafael Yglesias. What a convoluted, preposterous, unbelievable piece of shit. Since I don't know how much of the screenplay was actually based on the graphic novel written by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, I can't really blame the source. 

  • A laughable conspiracy. Blame the screenwriters and/or the novelists.

  • All references to our hero's psychic abilities through the use of opium. Blame the screenwriters and/or novelists. 

  • Any reference to the Masons and their secret society. Been there, done that. Blame the screenwriters and/or novelists. 

  • Repetitious murder scenes that are not suspenseful (we know exactly which prostitute is going to be killed next). The murders are, however, psychologically disturbing. I didn't care too much for the Dolby digital sound of Jack the Ripper sawing through bone and flesh to extract an organ from one of his victims.

There are basically two kinds of horror movies that work. From Hell is neither. One approach is to understand that suspense and character development are the true source of a good scary movie. Examples include The Shining, Rosemary's Baby and The Silence of the Lambs. The second kind of horror movie is the "fun," bad guy jumps out of the closet and scares you variety: Scream, Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, etc.

From Hell tries to be the next Silence of the Lambs. But, it falls drastically short due to its incredibly inept screenplay. And, while I don't have a problem with the ending, it makes me think the Hughes brothers wasted their social message on an undeserving movie.