Limehouse Golem, The (2017)

The Limehouse GolemStarring Bill Nighy, Olivia Cooke, Douglas Booth, Eddie Marsan

Directed by Juan Carlos Medina

The Limehouse Golem is a gruesome Gothic murder mystery set in London’s dangerous Limehouse district in 1880, as even the seediest side of the city is held in a viselike grip of fear. Not unlike Jack the Ripper, the mysterious Golem disembowels his victims and leaves taunting messages to the police. With shaky leads and increasing public pressure, Scotland Yard assigns the case to Inspector Kildare (Bill Nighy, Underworld) – a seasoned sleuth with a troubled past and a suspicion he’s being set up to fail because of rumors that he not “the marrying kind.” Given a long list of suspects, including flamboyant music hall star Dan Leno (Douglas Booth, Pride, Prejudice and Zombies), Kildare must get help from Lizzie Cree (Olivia Cooke, “Bates Motel”), a witness who has troubles of her own.

As you can see, the cast has quite a genre pedigree. Based on the novel Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem, the film was written by Jane Goldman (The Woman in Black), directed by Juan Carlos Medina (Painless) and produced by Stephen Woolley (Interview with the Vampire). These folks really know what they’re doing when it comes to period horror, and luckily The Limehouse Golem is not the exception in their careers. However… in spite of no sparing of blood and gore, it’s more staid than one might hope for. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why that is, but it feels more like an episode of, say, “Sherlock Holmes” than “Penny Dreadful.”

Thanks to the cast – and some sneaky last-minute twists – The Limehouse Golem is well worth a watch. Nighy in particular is a treat as Detective Kildare in his Victorian suits, his elegant carriage and demeanor, and of course that twinkle in his eye and flair he has for being believable in even the most absurd situations. (Who can ever forget his performance in Shaun of the Dead?) Booth is a delightful spectacle as the haughty headliner; and Cooke, playing the damsel in distress, adds depth and gravitas to Lizzie. She’s sympathetic, yet strong; and as her story unfolds, you come to admire all that she’s overcome.

The writing is sharp (especially the dialogue), and the cinematography shows off period London from its most opulent architecture to its barest basements. The music and sound design also have moments to shine – there’s some clever stuff that makes even quill-to-paper writing sequences seem suspenseful.

At nearly 2 hours long and with several plot treads, the movie starts to sag toward the end. There are also far too many flashbacks and recaps. But don’t give up – The Limehouse Golem and its larger-than-life theatrical performers have a couple of tricks up their sleeves. Also, if you enjoy Gothic horror and are into stories of O.G. killers like Jack the Ripper, Lizzie Borden, and Willy Waddell, you’ll want to believe The Limehouse Golem is real.

Powered by WP Review
Get this site 100% Ad Free Support Us on Patreon!

Staci Layne Wilson

Get Your Box of Dread Now
*US Residents Only .