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From Hell is a 2001 American slasher film directed by the Hughes brothers and loosely based on the graphic novel From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell about the Jack the Ripper murders.

From Hell
From Hell film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byThe Hughes Brothers
Produced byDon Murphy
Jane Hamsher
Screenplay byTerry Hayes
Rafael Yglesias
Based onFrom Hell
by Alan Moore
Eddie Campbell
StarringJohnny Depp
Heather Graham
Ian Holm
Robbie Coltrane
Ian Richardson
Jason Flemyng
Music byTrevor Jones
CinematographyPeter Deming
Edited byGeorge Bowers
Dan Lebental
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
  • October 19, 2001 (2001-10-19)
Running time
122 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$35 million
Box office$75 million[1]



In 1888, Mary Kelly and a small group of London prostitutes trudge through unrelenting daily misery. When their friend Ann Crook is kidnapped, they are drawn into a conspiracy with links to high society. The kidnapping is followed by the gruesome murder of another woman, Martha Tabram; and it becomes apparent that they are being hunted down one by one as prostitutes are murdered and mutilated post-mortem.

The murder of Martha and her companions grabs the attention of Whitechapel Police Inspector Frederick Abberline, a brilliant, yet troubled, man whose police work is often aided by his psychic "visions." His colleague, Sergeant Peter Godley, tries to grasp his friend's wild theories. Abberline's investigations reveal that the murders, while gruesome, imply that an educated person is responsible due to the precise and almost surgical method used. Ann is found a few days later in a workhouse having been lobotomized after officials and doctors supposedly found her to be insane, though it is implied this was done to silence her.

Abberline consults Sir William Gull, a physician to the Royal Family, drawing on his experience and knowledge of medicine. During this meeting, it is revealed Abberline is struggling with opium addiction. Gull's findings, coupled with his superiors impeding his investigations, point Abberline to a darker and more organized conspiracy than he originally thought. Abberline becomes deeply involved with the case, which takes on personal meaning to him when he and Mary begin to fall in love.

Abberline deduces that Freemason influence is definitely present in these crimes. His superior, a high ranking Freemason himself, then makes direct intervention and suspends Abberline. It is then revealed that Gull is the killer. He has been killing the witnesses to painter Albert Sickert's forbidden Catholic marriage to Crook, who bore his legitimate daughter, Alice. Sickert is actually Prince Albert, grandson of reigning Queen Victoria, and therefore Alice is heiress to the British throne. Gull tells Abberline that "mankind will remember him for giving birth to the 20th century." Abberline draws his gun, vowing that Gull will never see the 20th century, but before he is able to shoot Gull, he is knocked out by Ben Kidney, another Freemason.

The Freemasons try to have Abberline eliminated without leaving any witnesses, but Abberline fights back and kills two of the assassins by overturning a carriage. Gull himself is a Freemason and his increasingly sinister behavior lends an insight into his murderous, but calculated, mind. Rather than publicly charge Gull, the Freemasons decide to lobotomize him to protect themselves and the Royal Family from the scandal. Gull defiantly states he has no equal among men, remaining unrepentant up to his lobotomy, resulting in him becoming invalid just as Ann had been.

Abberline tries to save Mary, but arrives too late, and blames his superior for not helping him or Godley on the cases. Abberline does nothing but watch Mary's mutilated body being taken away. Abberline receives a mysterious letter, which he soon realizes is from Mary, but he decides not to look for her as a way to offer her protection, as the Freemasons may be watching his every move. Abberline decides to burn the letter, knowing that he can never have a normal life.

Mary Kelly was not killed; Gull mistook Ada, whom Liz said was from France, for Mary and he killed her instead. Mary lives with Alice as her daughter in a cottage on a cliff by the sea. Abberline is found dead of an opium overdose, knowing he can never see Mary again without endangering her. Sergeant Godley comes to pay his respects for the Inspector.



The character 'Peter Godley' played by Robbie Coltrane was based on George Godley.[2] The part of Sir William Gull was originally going to be played by Nigel Hawthorne,[3] but when his cancer prevented him from working on the film he was replaced by Ian Holm.[citation needed] The disparity in height between Hawthorne and the much shorter Holm led to some of the scenes being changed.[citation needed]


The film received mixed reviews from critics. Ebert and Roeper gave the film a "two-thumbs up". It currently holds a 57% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 151 reviews, the critic consensus states "Visually impressive, but this latest Ripper tale is dull and far from scary."[4] E! Online stated it is "two hours of gory murders, non-sequitur scenes, and an undeveloped romance" and gave the film a C-. The New York Post called it a "gripping and stylish thriller". Leonard Maltin gave the film three stars, calling it "colorful and entertaining; an impressive showing for the Hughes Brothers”.[5]

Empire's Kim Newman gave the film four out of five stars, praising the "range of squirmingly superior British acting talent" although noting that "the script can't quite sell its Jack as at once a purposeful assassin and a mad killer."[6] Philip French was impressed by the film, praising Depp's "very good" performance alongside those of the actresses who played the Ripper's victims. French also praised the production design and cinematography which evoked representations of London by the artists Whistler and John Atkinson Grimshaw.[7]

Criticism by writer MooreEdit

The original comic's writer, Alan Moore, criticized the replacement of his "gruff" version of Frederick Abberline with an "absinthe-swilling dandy".[8]

Box officeEdit

The film grossed $31,602,566 in the United States and $74,558,115 worldwide.[1]

Home VideoEdit

The film was released by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment on DVD on May 14, 2002.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "From Hell (2010)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 27, 2019.
  2. ^ From Hell on the Internet Movie Database
  3. ^ "Allen Hughes - Interview". Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  4. ^ From Hell Movie Reviews, Pictures. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  5. ^ Maltin, Leonard (2009), p. 501. Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. ISBN 1-101-10660-3. Signet Books. Accessed May 9, 2012
  6. ^ Newman, Kim (January 1, 2000). "From Hell Review". Empire Online. Retrieved 11 July 2017.
  7. ^ French, Philip (10 February 2002). "Jack the knife" – via The Guardian.
  8. ^ "Shared - Movies - Interviews - M - Moore Alan 060315". 2006-03-09. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  9. ^ Rivero, Enrique (April 11, 2002). "Fox Planning More Limited Edition DVDs". Archived from the original on April 20, 2002. Retrieved September 10, 2019.

External linksEdit