Fox has done it once again! From Hell is not the greatest of films, but this DVD release makes this film a must own.
“FROM HELL is a gory detective film cloaked in Victorian-era mystique. The movie shows how the serial killer Jack the Ripper stalked the dark streets of 1888 London, slaying prostitutes and crudely dissecting their bodies. Based on the graphic novel written by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell, this moody chiller is directed by twin brothers Albert and…Allen Hughes (MENACE II SOCIETY, AMERICAN PIMP). Johnny Depp stars as Inspector Frederick Abberline, who smokes heavy doses of opium and drowns himself in absinthe to evoke hallucinatory visions that are his clues to catching the Ripper. Heather Graham costars as the prettiest of the floozies, who wins the muted affections of the Inspector.With plenty of atmosphere and spooky effects, FROM HELL borrows scenery, filming tricks, and sequence construction from a host of popular movies, resulting in a visually interesting–if inconsistent–style. Haunting nighttime shots of the London skyline (actually Prague) bleed into shadowy Tim Burton-like prowls through the damp cobblestone streets; aerial camerawork contrasts with crowded ground-level focuses; and the camera peeks around corners and into foggy windows with stealthy curiosity. What may stand out most in viewers minds after the carnage is through, is the exaggerated use of surround sound, which brings a dreadful sense of reality to the film’s gore, making FROM HELL all the juicier.” – Fox
You cannot ask for a better audio track. Both the DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks are absolutely amazing. The sound fills the soundstage completely… with great separation and surround presents. The base is extremely deep and clean, and the vocals are all very clear and focused.
This DVD looks as good as it sounds. This is an extremely dark film… and Fox has come through with a very impressive transfer. The aforementioned darks are all very detailed and clean, and the rare color is quite natural. The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is free from defects… Fox should be commended.
Extras and Special Features
I must start with the menus for From Hell. Fox is known for their wonderful animated menus (Abyss, Independence Day, Die Hard, Cast Away, etc.), and From Hell is no exception to this rule. The menus are all amazingly animated with 3D graphic and feature full audio. Sure, the text is quite tough to read, but the coolness factor over-rules that flaw.
Located on disc one is the commentary track that features Albert and Allen Hughes (Director’s), Rafael Yglesias (Screenwriter), Peter Deming (Cinematographer), and Robbie Coltrane (Actor). The commentary is very good, and works as a nice tool to uncover the steps taken to get this film made. The Hughes brothers state in this commentary that they did not want to do this track; in the end, they decided to as an aid to aspiring filmmakers.
The deleted scenes, also located on disc one, are very good as well. Fox has used a technique in which all deleted scenes (and extended scenes) are all positioned within the existing constructs of the film. They do this by including the scenes that bookend the deleted sequence, and differentiate that content by showing the existing material in black & white, and the added or extended content is in color. Another great thing about these deleted scene is the fact that they are finished versions of the sequences… meaning that they look very good (unlike most deleted scenes that are unfinished and look very raw).
Disc two is full of featurettes. There is a HBO featurette entitled “A View From Hell”, a “Tour of the Murder Sites” hosted by the Hughes Brothers, a Making-Of featurette, and an “Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder” featurette. All of these featurettes teach the story of From Hell, and also educate on how the film was made. Lastly, this disc includes graphic Novel-to-Film comparisons, trailers, and an interactive investigation entitled “Jack the Ripper: 6 Degrees of Seperation”.
Everyone should own this DVD. I was not a huge fan of the film, but this DVD is so good, I would not want anyone to miss out on it. The quality is very high, and the supplements are worth while. This disc will make a nice addition to every DVD collection.
Special Features List
- HBO Special :”A View From Hell”
- 23 deleted scenes w/alternate ending
- “Jack The Ripper – Six Degrees of Separation”
- Storyboard comparisons
- HBO Featurette
- Making-Of Featurette
- Audio Commentary
- Image gallery
- 3D Animated Menus