The infamous story of Benjamin Barker, AKA Sweeney Todd, who sets up a barber shop down in London which is the basis for a sinister partnership with his fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. Based on the hit Broadway musical.
Helena Bonham Carter,
It is 1888 in London, and the unfortunate poor lead horrifying lives in the city's deadliest slum, Whitechapel. Harassed by gangs and forced to walk the streets for a living, Mary Kelly and her small group of companions trudge on through this daily misery, their only consolation being that things can't get any worse. Yet things somehow do when their friend Ann is kidnapped and 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, Polly, and it becomes apparent that they are being hunted down, one by one. Sinister even by Whitechapel standards, the murder grabs the attention of Inspector Fred Abberline, a brilliant yet troubled man whose police work is often aided by his psychic abilities. Abberline becomes deeply involved with the case, which takes on personal meaning to him when he and Mary begin to fall in love. But as he gets closer to the truth Whitechapel becomes more and ... Written by
The ceremony that the character of Dr. Ferral is partaking in halfway through the movie is a Freemasonic initiation ritual. During this particular ritual, the candidate (Dr. Ferral) is initiated into the very first degree of Freemasonry called "Entered Apprentice".
For this ritual the candidate is stripped of all his clothes except his shirt, and is clothed in a pair of drawers kept in the lodge for the use of candidates. The candidate is then blindfolded - which masons refer to as "hoodwinking" - and a rope called a Cable-tow is hung around is neck. His left foot is bare, his right in a slipper, and his left breast and arm are naked. After a lengthy ritual the candidate is finally ordered to kneel on his left knee, place his right hand on the square and compass, and raise his left hand in the air. He is then ordered to give the solemn oath of secrecy. In every ritual degree of Freemasonry the candidate is required to take an oath and is warned of the hideous and grotesque penalty that awaits him if he dares ever to reveal any of the group's innermost secrets.
In this first degree oath of Freemasonry, as is depicted in the movie, the candidate declares: "...binding myself under no less penalty than that of having my throat cut across, my tongue torn out by its roots, and my body buried in the rough sands of the sea, at low-water mark, where the tide ebbs and flows twice in twenty-four hours, should I ever knowingly violate this my Entered Apprentice obligation." See more »
In one scene, Buckingham Palace is pictured, as it looks today. The eastern wing (being shown in the film) was however built many years later. See more »
I wasn't expecting much from this movie. The critics passed it over rather quickly, saying a few kind words but without a strong recommendation. The couple of people I knew who saw this said that it was "good," but never cared to say much more than that and have never brought it up again. As I sat down to watch it, I thought it looked nice but moved too fast, was a little dumb. But by the end, I was astounded. I think it's one of the best films of 2001. Sure, it's a triumph of style over substance, but I think we need a couple of good films like this every year. I love style.
I would compare From Hell most closely to Alex Proyas' 1997 triumph Dark City, which, like From Hell, made almost nothing at the box office. I hope, like Dark City, that From Hell will win a larger audience on video. It's not as intelligent as Dark City, which was brilliant in nearly every way, but From Hell equals it in visual virtuosity. Its story, while sometimes lapsing into silliness, is enormously gripping. It's also one of the few horror films to succeed at inducing a sense of dread in the audience. A Scotland Yard detective (played well by Johnny Depp) is on the case of Jack the Ripper, who is himself on the trail of a group of five prostitutes. On the way, Depp discovers that the ritualistic murders are part of a larger conspiracy. The film is full of great twists, the biggest one being simply hilarious in its level of audacity. The end is quite unpredictable (although the climax is a little too predictable).
There are several minor flaws in the film. It does go a bit too fast, but its breathless pace ends up paying off well in the end. Many people will be turned off at the level of gore in the film. Seriously, avoid it at all costs if you have a weak stomach. But if you could take it in Silence of the Lambs, Se7en, or Sleepy Hollow, you'll be fine. I actually felt that those three particular films flaunted their gore and were tremendously ineffective in their horror. Yes, even (and perhaps especially) Silence of the Lambs. I don't know why, but I didn't feel that way about From Hell. 10/10.
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