Dir: Joe Stephenson | Cast: Eddie Izzard, Scott Chambers, Lindsay Duncan, Robyn Cara | UK Horror 90′
Following on from last week’s The Exorcist: Believer comes yet another version of a classic that bears no relation to any of its predecessors; although at least Doctor Jekyll retains its original author’s name in the credits.
This modern interpretation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’, Doctor Jekyll centres on one Dr. Nina Jekyll, a recluse who finds friendship with her newly hired help, Rob, played by emerging actor Scott Chambers. They must work together to prevent Hyde from destroying her life.
As the titular Nina Jekyll Eddie Izzard never looks like other than Eddie Izzard in drag (and serves to remind one of what a fine female impersonator Dick Emery was). What little narrative the horror outing has falls on the charmingly slender shoulders of Scott Chambers. But as a whole there’s far too much talk – punctuated by the frequent use of sledgehammer music cues – and it actually gets wordier as it gets gorier.
According to the publicity blurb, the release of Doctor Jekyll heralds a new era for Hammer, founded in 1934 and now owned by British theatre producer John Gore. As well as significant investment, Gore’s new vision for the company, fuelled by a lifelong love of all things Hammer, will lead to a string of new films bearing the iconic Hammer name, and Doctor Jekyll is, apparently, only the beginning. @RichardChatten