From Hell (2001)

from hell poster 2001 movie
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good looking

Alters the story too much and hurts the original tale

Movie Info

Movie Name:  From Hell

Studio:  20th Century Fox

Genre(s):  Horror/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  October 19, 2001

MPAA Rating:  R


A psycho’s work is never done…

A secret wedding leads to a group of prostitutes being targeted by a killer.  As Inspector Frederick Abberline (Johnny Depp) and his assistant Peter Godley (Robbie Coltrane) seek out Jack the Ripper, the real truth behind the murders might be more shocking.  The Ripper has a mission…he not only intends to kill the girls, he intends to become a legend.  As Abberline tries to convince the leader of the prostitutes Mary Kelly (Heather Graham) to protect herself, the Ripper is getting closer to his goal.


Smile for the camera!

Directed by Albert and Allen Hughes, From Hell adapts the Alan Moore award winning comic book series based on the non-fiction book Jack the Ripper:  The Final Solution by Stephen Knight.  Opposed to the comic book, From Hell took a mystery approach to the story.  The movie was met with mixed reviews.

I loved the graphic novel From Hell and found it an interesting “historical” piece though the history behind it was very unlikely to have happened.  Regardless, the comic book was deep, informative, and an interesting and researched look into living conditions at the time of killings.  The movie however decided to ramp up the horror and make it a mystery (which was incredibly weak).  Due to the nature of the changes, *****Spoiler Alert***** warning is on for the remainder of the review.


Love, marriage, and madmen

The movie really fails by the changes it made to the story.  I never thought Moore’s work could be encapsulated into a film, and it couldn’t.  The film managed to tell the basic story of the movie, but really hurts the “vision” of William Gull by making him an unknown killer.  It also suffers from the “he’s the obvious” killer syndrome in how the film is put together…it is a real waste.

The second bad decision in the film is Johnny Depp.  Johnny Depp is really hit or miss.  He makes for a memorable character but often steals the show.  The story combines Abberline with a secondary character named Robert James Lees who was a psychic and really neuters him in the process.  They try to set up a romance with Mary Kelly and though I know this is fiction, I find it odd when historical figures are tampered with for plot devices.


My precious!!!

Depp is helped by a nice supporting cast.  Heather Graham is pretty attractive for a prostitute living on the edge of poverty, but holds up in the acting scenes (I think some of her fellow actors’ prostitutes are better).  Coltrane provides some good and needed comic relief and Ian Holm just isn’t opposing enough as Gull (it was originally meant for Nigel Hawthorne…who I don’t know would be much better).

The movie does have some rather nice and strong visuals.  The darkness of the East End of London is captured nicely and having been there, it still has a bit of seediness to it in some of the areas portrayed in the film.  I wish the film had a better plot however.

From Hell is a bit disappointing.  It isn’t the worst film ever, but it also doesn’t live up to the source material.  If you have a real interest in Jack the Ripper, read one of the multiple books and skip this film…you can do better.

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From Hell

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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