From Hell is a 2001 American-British crime horror mystery feature film directed by the Hughes brothers and loosely based on the comic book series of the same name by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell about the Jack the Ripper murders.
In 1888, Mary Kelly (Heather Graham) and her small group of London prostitutes trudge through unrelenting daily misery. When their friend Ann Crook is kidnapped, they are drawn into a conspiracy with links higher up than they could possibly imagine.
The kidnapping is soon followed by the gruesome murder of another woman, Martha Tabram (Samantha Spiro), and it becomes apparent that they are being hunted down, one by one as various prostitutes are murdered and mutilated post mortem.
The murder of Martha and her companions grabs the attention of Whitechapel Police Inspector Frederick Abberline (Johnny Depp), a brilliant yet troubled man whose police work is often aided by his psychic “visions.” Abberline’s investigations reveal that the murders, while gruesome, imply that an educated person is responsible due to the precise and almost surgical method used.
Ann is found a few days later in an asylum having been lobotomised after officials and doctors supposedly found her to be insane. It is implied this was done to silence her. Abberline consults Sir William Gull (Ian Holm), a physician to the Royal Family, drawing on his experience and knowledge of medicine. These findings, coupled with his superiors impeding his investigations, point to a darker and organized conspiracy.
“The acting is generally solid, and overall I really like the cast. Depp is great in what may have been his last great pre-Jack Sparrow role. The only person I would’ve cast differently is Heather Graham. Though she may fill a bustier quite nicely, her cockney accent is nowhere close to being convincing. At times, it gets high-school-version-of-A-Christmas-Carol bad.” Oh, the Horror!
Cast and characters:
- Johnny Depp as Inspector Frederick Abberline, the visionary and sympathetic police officer who has to investigate the murder series. The consumption of drugs makes him dream scenes from the murders, but he conducts the investigation on a conclusive line of thought.
- Heather Graham as Mary Kelly, a young prostitute or “bangtail” who builds up a relationship to Abberline and eventually falls in love with him.
- Ian Holm as Sir William Gull, a fine gentleman, retired surgeon and physician ordinary to Queen Victoria, now teaching at the Royal London Hospital. Because of his expertise in anatomy and the soul, he becomes the scientific adviser of Abberline.
- Robbie Coltrane as Sergeant Peter Godley, the humorous and literary-minded subordinate assistant and friend of Abberline. The character is based on Sgt. George Godley.
- Ian Richardson as Sir Charles Warren, a stiff bureaucrat and Abberline’s superior.
- Jason Flemyng as Netley, the coachman and stooge of the murderer.
- Katrin Cartlidge as Annie Chapman, aka Dark Annie, a prostitute and gullible 3rd victim of the murderer.
- Terence Harvey as Ben Kidney, the head of the Special Branch of the Metropolitan Police.
- Susan Lynch as Liz Stride, the spirited prostitute and 4th victim that “wasn’t finished”.
- Paul Rhys as Doctor Ferral, an ambitious young doctor and specialist in the treatment of dementia.
- Lesley Sharp as Kate Eddowes, the mothering prostitute and 5th victim.
- Estelle Skornik as Ada, the old friend of Liz from Bruxelles, 6th victim of the murderer.