Review: Limehouse Golem (2016) wanted to be Jack the Ripper without having to deal with 'facts' or 'history'

by Banned Library in


Can you call a movie historical fiction if it deals with nothing historical? I struggle to name this type of movie beyond "genre period piece." Works like "From Hell" and "300" fall in here as the might be based on something but mostly want to look cool. Enter The Limehouse Golem.

    When a bunch of people in Limehouse in old London-town get murdered, the coppers call in Bill Nighy to be the fall guy when they can't find out who's doing all the murder. While investigating Not Jack the Ripper, Nighy stumbles across the murder of some rich guy and must interview the rich guy's wife, a former dance hall act who has a hell of a good history. Was the rich guy the murderer Nighy is looking for or was it one of the the rich guy and his wife's many actor friends?

    "Who done it" stories are hard to talk about because you really want to talk about who done it, you know? The whole story, if it works, is based around the reveal of the killer. In this case, it's really all it has going for it. This is BBC level horror, with everyone looking super good in their period clothing and walking into rooms saying, "oh my," and slowly closing the door again. That's not a bad thing, as the acting really is pretty fun, but it's the end that matters.

    Okay, look, if what I've said so far intrigues you, find this one. It's fun and kinda dumb, but enjoyable. Otherwise, read on.

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It's the rich guy's wife. She's been telling the story all along, her story, so when she turns on Bill Nighy and with a manic grin gives him what he wants, the name of the Limehouse Golem, man it's really cathartic. Pigeon-eyed watchers will notice early on that "a lot of people seem to die around her" but if, like me, you are just enjoying the ride, her reveal is pretty fun. Also, not often you see a female villain as the killer. Not since the days of Urban Legend...