From Hell offers a new take on the widely-known story of Jack the Ripper.
The film follows Inspector Frederick Abberline (Johnny Depp) as he attempts to track down the killer in a series of murders in London, England, during the winter of 1888.
The only clue that Abberline has to go on in the beginning of the case is the fact that all the victims have been prostitutes. Abberline does have one thing going for him in these mysterious murders: he has psychic premonitions that help him solve cases, though his visions can seem somewhat muddled while he visits the opium dens of which he is a frequent customer.
While investigating the murders the inspector meets a prostitute named Mary Kelly (Heather Graham), with whom he falls in love. The only problem is that Mary appears in his premonitions as one of the victims.
Through a combination of deductive reasoning and premonitions, Abberline is able to discern the identity of the killer, but the question of whether he can stop the murders remains.
This film manages to be thoroughly entertaining without being spectacular in any way. One is never bored during the film, but then again one is never on edge in anticipation of the next scene.
The performances amount to little more than adequate between the film's two main performers.
Depp doesn't have to dig deep into his repertoire in order to play either a detective or a drug addict, both of which he has played in the films Sleepy Hollow and in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, respectively.
Graham plays a whore, a role to which she is not unfamiliar after playing Rollergirl in Boogie Nights with decent believability. But one question plagues the viewer throughout the film: why is it that while all of the other prostitutes in the film are frequently dirty from lack of regular bathing her character is always clean?
All in all the film gives the audience a good two hours of entertainment but leaves little lasting impression.
Rating: B-