In this new series of short, sharp reviews I’m going to take a look at the horror movies that present Britain in a dark and disturbing way. These are the films that have no desire to show you my ‘green and pleasant land’, they just want to spray it red.
Hollywood has always enjoyed making London seem like a cosy almost mystical place. Who could ever forget Mary Poppins floating over some beautifully created matte paintings of the city, with St Paul’s Cathedral and other landmarks shrouded in magic and chimney smoke.
From Hell silhouettes London against blood red skies and darkness every chance it gets. Never afraid to show the city as the overcrowded, aggressive and disease-ridden Victorian nightmare it actually was at that point in history.
Visually, From Hell is stunning, and you can really tell that the Hughes Brothers put a lot of effort into making each scene look ominous and menacing. I personally think Depp was miscast, and Robbie Coltrane is far too jolly and refreshing for a movie like this … but Ian Holm is magnificent. When the black contact lenses go in and the tone of his voice changes we are left with a truly memorable portrayal of the horrific mystery that is Jack the Ripper.
Ultimately it’s a frustrating movie. Never reaching the potential it had, but never sinking to the point of being terrible. It floats somewhere between the two.
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