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From Hell

Starring: Johnny Depp, Heather Graham, Ian Holm, Paul Rhys, Katrin Cartlidge, and Joanna Page
Directed by: Albert Hughes & Allen Hughes
Rated: R


No expense was spared in recreating Jack The Ripper's London circa 1888. The details were perfect like Coppola's Dracula a few years back, you got that warm fuzzy feeling of thankfulness you were born in this day and age. What a cesspool. Yechy poo-poo. Though the producers seemed to have asked Johnny Depp to take his garment ensemble from Sleepy Hollow out of storage as I swear it was the same friggin' frock...But From Hell is probably the most honest, and bluntly accusing, Jack The Ripper tale since Jack The Ripper (1988 Michael Caine version). It comes right out and says who dunnit and why. Since most every person in the audience knows the story the suspense and scare factor was at a lower level than say the first time we met Hannibal Lecter and Buffalo Bill, but it's a scrumtiously good film anyway!

From Hell is based on the letters the inspectors on the Ripper case and the paper's received, one which had a madman's p.s.simply scribed...from hell. If there is one, Jack's a bonafide voter's registration card holding citizen to be sure!

Inspector Abberline (Johnny -- he'll always be Edward to me -- Depp) is an opium addict that has "visions" of the macabre. It's a nice twist to the oh-so-told-tale. He's "chasing the dragon" when his fellow inspector retrieves him for the Whitechapel murder of a streetwalker. At first they think the Nichol's Street gang is simply enforcing their territory -- you know the pimps old-tried and true policy of slicing one up one real good and the rest will behave themselves.

There's a circle of girls involved and none are too anxious to talk to the coppers. Why should they really? Down in this seedy little hamlet talking is the fastest way to meet your maker.

The "unfortunates" are kind of lead by Mary Kelly (Heather Graham done in redhead), a feisty Irish girl that besides making her living letting the local hog washed fellows get a go, has a heart of gold. Inspector Abberline knows she knows, and she knows he knows she knows...They start to meet in secret and discuss the case.

The force is acting as if Abberline has an Othello complex...suspicious of all; especially his royal heir, Edward Albert. "Albert" likes the sweet and tangy tarts of the Whitechapel district in particular, heck he's even bred with one...

As the murders continue it's obvious no layman is performing these dissections on the girls. The Ripper has a surgeon's precision eye, steady hand and a expert knowledge of the human anatomy. Abberline goes over the head of his superiors and starts his own little side investigation. He's about to find out precisely who The Ripper is when...

I wouldn't do that to you dear reader. From Hell is a great Ripper story. It's dark and filled with just enough gore for the festive Halloween season around the corner.

Depp's good at whatever role he takes on and he's scrumptious in these period pieces that force him to dress in frilly Adam Ant garb. Depp's a man with actor's depth. He's becoming a Sheppard's Pie of a chap, each role we get more delicious than his last. Layers of talent and manly beauty...I must wipe my brow excuse me...His natural lanky, sullen, features went well with the Inspector Abberline's opium cravings.

Heather Graham is just as beautiful as a fiery redhead as in blonde highlights. Her Mary Kelly role is not so much the center of attention, but she lights up the screen when she appears just the same. Girls use her as bait to get your fella to see From Hell so you can drink in Johnny-- just a tip.

Veteran Indie actress Katrin Cartlidge plays one of Jack's girls. It was nice to see her again, though not the center of attentions the performance was exact.

Sure, it's the same old rip and tear scarefest, but with Johnny Depp at the head of the ride what have you got to lose? It's October and open season on goosebumps so get to every scary movie Hollywood can muster up and alleviate some of the everyday stresses we are all facing. Enjoy!

Snack Recommedation: Anything but bloody grapes!

Read about Jack The Ripper's case online


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