From Hell

Fom Hell, or Jack the Ripper revisited, raises huge expectations: The directors are Albert and Allen Hughes, the Detroit-born twins who made a strong 1993 debut with Menace II Society. The source is the acclaimed graphic novel by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell. The star is the reliably subtle Johnny Depp, who plays Fred Abberline, the psychic, opium-smoking Cockney cop out to stop the Ripper from carving up London prostitutes, notably, Mary Kelly (Heather Graham). Peter Deming's atmospheric camerawork suggests that the 1888 story will set up a timeless ghetto conflict between the working and ruling classes. But the Hughes boys blow it by burying a fine cast — Robbie Coltrane as a cop and Ian Holm as a royal sawbones are standouts — in stock scares, sappy romance and clich —that really are from hell.

From The Archives Issue 416: March 1, 1984