Popkorn Junkie

Movie review for the film From Hell starring Johnny Depp and Heather Graham.
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Note: This film has an R rating.

Junkie Rating:

This film received 2 pops out of 4 pops.This film received 2 pops out of 4 pops.This film received 2 pops out of 4 pops.This film received 2 pops out of 4 pops.


Cast and Credits

Albert Hughes (Director) 
Allen Hughes (Director)
Johnny Depp (Inspector Frederick Abberline) 
Heather Graham (Mary Kelly) 
Ian Holm (Sir William Gull) 

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      "From Hell" is another film take on the Jack the Ripper murders which took place in London in 1888.  Evidently, this film is based on a book which has it's own theories on the methods and motivations of the murders.

      The movie starts out of course with the first of several murders of prostitutes who work the streets of London.  In comes Johnny Depp, an inspector who evidently can solve murders by seeing them in visions, while under a drug-induced state.  Depp's character is sort of a nineteenth century profiler.  Joining him in the search for the killer is prostitute Heather Graham, who not only soon becomes romantically involved with Depp, but also a prime target for Jack the Ripper.  The gruesome murders provide some clues and soon Depp slowly begins to understand the reasons behind the murders.

      This movie was a major disappointment to me even though there is lots of good stuff in this movie.  The acting is good even though Heather Graham looks like a model in comparison to the other prostitutes she works with.  But the best thing about the film is the cinematography and the look of the film.  The streets are dark and menacing with rain pouring down with all sorts of low lifes walking around.

      However, the film ultimately fails because there is no sense of suspense and no true feeling of terror.  These crucial aspects to any Jack the Ripper movie has been replaced by numerous scenes and visuals of really gruesome and gory stuff.  You don't feel scared while watching the film, you just sort of watch the events unfold waiting for the next gruesome shot to appear.  Most filmmakers just don't understand that showing less gore and leaving it to the audience's imagination will be creepier and scarier than showing everything.   They need to study the films by Hitchcock in order to learn how to convey suspense and terror to a story that involves mutilations and murders.

      There have been much better films and TV mini-series about Jack the Ripper and I would recommend checking these out instead of seeing this film.   While being amazed by the photography, I was ultimately bored with the film.

Mike ( 1 out of 4 pops )


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Other Junkie's opinions.....
      Billy Ray ( 3 1/2 out of 4 pops )

      I guess the reason most people went to see "From Hell" was because they thought it was going to be an action-packed, terrifying, and somewhat fictional account of the killings.  Evidently, those people wouldn't know a good movie if it bit them in the butt.  "From Hell" is exceptionally good, even though I doubt many critics will agree.  The cinematography is so dark and so creepy that we could just look at the settings and still be scared.  The tension and suspense are perfectly timed, and Johnny Depp has perfected his ability to play oddball characters.  It is true that Heather Graham looks more like a super model than the other prostitutes, but not all prostitutes are fat and ugly--there are some attractive ones I am sure.  The murder scenes are inventive and creepy, and the Hughes Brothers are quickly becoming some of the premiere directors in Hollywood.  "From Hell" is a perfect Halloween movie and a pretty good historical retelling of the crimes that Jack the Ripper himself says, "Gave birth to the twentieth century".  This movie is incredible.

      Liz ( 1 1/2 out of 4 pops )

      If beginning with a perfect four pops, we must deduct one full pop for the sheer back-lot quality to this film-- it's all weather machines and dimmer switches.  ("Okay, just push that nifty carriage in front of the camera and everyone will forget about the Hollywood sign practically looming in the background.")  Left with three pops, we can subtract another full pop for the lack of suspense in crucial scenes plus the light of udder stupidity shed on the ripper's victims and those chasing the ripper.  We must take away one half of a pop for what this must've done to Johnny Depp's head.  He must have alternately cried at how cheesy this film would turn out despite his best effort and laughed at how silly it renders a unique history.  So, one and a half pops go to this one-- and that's only because I'm tired of thinking about its problems.

      Patsy ( 3 out of 4 pops )

      I rented "The Others", "13 Ghosts", and "From Hell" one weekend and the guy at Blockbuster said to me-- "You've got the good, the bad, and the ugly."  I had assumed that "From Hell" was the ugly-- not quite knowing why-- was it a bad movie?  I didn't think so (but "13 Ghosts" was definitely the BAD).  Also, Blockbuster guy told me that this movie was very predictable....not a good sign.  So, needless to say, I didn't expect much from and in the end I was surprised at how much the film didn't stink (funny eh? cheers to low expectations).  There were a few problems with the movie but I found the plot to be adequate and not predictable at all.  Halfway through the person I watched it with was like, "Oh, it's so obvious who Jack the Ripper is."...but in the end he was wrong.  Anyway, on to the good things...Heather Graham has a small part and hardly any lines, there is lots of gore, and the story is interesting and historically accurate (or so  I've been told).  If you want to see a good gory horror mystery then "From Hell" is for you.