The Limehouse Golem (15)
Directed by Juan Carlos Medina
NOW that Jack the Ripper’s been done to death in cinema and on TV, what’s next for shock-film addicts seeking out mass-murder gore fests set in the sinister past?
Presumably producers Stephen Woolley, Elizabeth Karlsen, Joanna Laurie figured this overripe Ripper rip-off, ill-adapted by executive producer Jane Goldman from Peter Ackroyd’s novel, would satisfy the cravings of filmgoers.
Sadly, The Limehouse Golem doesn’t.
The overwrought melodrama finds Victorian London being terrified by a sadistic serial killer — The Limehouse Golem — who writes cryptic notes in his victims’ blood.
During this overlong farrago of mock-Hammer horror — actually more ham than Hammer given the mostly over-the-top performances — Scotland Yard inspector Kildare (Bill Nighy) states: “I’ll wager, there’s a tale being told.”
He’s quite right. There is a story, centred on the well-recreated music hall run by Victorian music hall maestro Dan Leno (played embarrassingly badly by Douglas Booth). But it’s not that well told by director Juan Carlos Medina, who oversees too many over-the-top portrayals, notably by Nighy who creates a Scotland Yard inspector who comes across like a tight-lipped Sherlock Homes suffering from chronic constipation.
The film’s pluses are a memorable performance from Olivia Cooke as Lizzie Cree, who ends up on trial for her husband’s murder, and a stunning recreation of 19th-century London, thanks to cinematographer Simon Dennis and production designer Grant Montgomery.
Resolute genre completists may like this. Others are advised to wait for the download and the fast-forward function should the odour get a bit too ripe.
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