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  • Writer's pictureAdam Williams

A Hooked On Horror Review: Dr. Jekyll

When I first heard of this film, I’ll admit I was excited. I mean this is the first release since 2019’s The Lodge and of course, the first since the studio was taken over by the John Gore Organisation (primarily known as a producer of blockbuster Broadway and West End theatre shows) in 2023. Doctor Jekyll is a strong start that will hopefully mark a new beginning for the infamous ‘Hammer Horror’ films.


Doctor Jekyll Poster

The film is a modern re-imagining of the infamous Dr. Jekyll from Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Dr. Nina Jekyll made herself a fortune in the pharmaceutical industry, rubbing shoulders with the elite and becoming a household name. But her success came at a cost, and after scandal forced her out of the spotlight she now lives in seclusion with her demons. In need of an assistant, Jekyll hires Rob - an ex-con straight out of rehab, trying to get back on his feet. However, it soon becomes clear that there are evil forces at play, and Rob's wits are tested in a game of cat and mouse with a mysterious and manipulative entity.

 

I enjoyed this one a lot more than I expected to. This is after all a story that has been told many times on television and film, but this was an intriguing, unique and tragic adaptation that I would recommend taking the time to watch. It is a slow burn, but it’s an atmospheric throwback to those old school Hammer Horror films. It’s beautifully shot with some great cinematography, aesthetically this is just perfect- you know you’re watching a Hammer film.

 

Eddie Izzard as Dr. Nina Jekyll

The cast were great. Scott Chambers made for a very relatable and likeable character. I mean I really found myself rooting for him! I enjoyed the fact they fleshed his character out more and took the time to give us more of a backstory, added a lot more depth and upped the tension whilst watching it. I did find myself on the edge of my seat a few times several times throughout film. Robyn Cara- I will take my hat off to her. She did a fantastic job; not a lot gets to me in films but she really wound me up. I was pretty satisfied with the outcome of her character (watch it and you’ll get what I mean). I mean it was justified shall we say.

 

Eddie Izzard was phenomenal, and the polar opposite of what to expect. I purposely didn’t watch the trailer for this as I wanted to see what she would bring to the role, especially as she’s known for her more comedic, light-hearted roles. Whilst she did bring comedic moments (crunchy-nutty cornflakes gave me a chuckle) and elements to the role, there were always dark undertones there that kept me on the edge of my seat.


There was always something off about Nina Jekyll, but you can never really put your finger on what. Izzard’s performance gives you so much whilst keeping a significant amount of mystery around the character. The ruthless and sudden unpredictability makes for a disturbing and interesting watch to say the least. The subtle shifts between Jekyll and Hyde were masterfully done. Izzard was a presence on screen that, for me, carried the film through some of the slower moments.

 

Scott Chambers as Rob

I would say he dominated the screen in every scene, but Chambers gives an equally impressive performance. The chemistry between the two was an absolute pleasure to watch. That end sequence when it all comes out was the pinnacle of the film for me- my only complaint is I wish we saw more of Hyde losing her shit. Whilst the film did waiver and slow a few times, I wouldn’t say I ever lost interest. It was a slow, tense and erratic build that I was fully invested in; and I’d say the climactic finish of the film was worth the wait. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you’re expecting a happy ‘Disney’ ending you’re going to be disappointed.

 

Overall, this is a great film. Almost a performance piece in parts, think the stage version of The Woman in Black- it has been stripped back to its bare bones to give you a dose of classic horror. I would love to see more of these two together again, but we’ll see. Don't really think a sequel would work. This has got me eager to see what Hammer come out with next. Is this the start of a new era for ‘Hammer Horror’? I bloody hope so!


Doctor Jekyll is currently available on digital.


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