At first, this revamped version of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by the newly revived Hammer studio, with Eddie Izzard as Dr Nina Jekyll, seems intriguing. However, it quickly becomes confusingly slow, heavy, and self-aware. Izzard’s use of his usual quirky monologue-riffing style, which works well in his stand-up comedy, feels out of place in this context.
The humor in the main actor’s performance is unsteady, taking away from the potential for horror in the film. Additionally, the exaggerated musical score and ineffective jump scares also diminish the film’s impact. The two legendary characters in the story are not sufficiently distinct or unique, as they are both heavily influenced by Izzard.
Scott Chambers portrays the character of Rob Stevenson, who has recently been released from prison and is now on parole. To satisfy his parole officer and gain access to his beloved infant daughter, Rob must find employment. Fortunately, his brother helps him secure a position as a live-in caretaker for Dr Nina Jekyll, a wealthy scientist known for her reclusive nature and health problems.
Despite the pursed-lipped disapproval of Dr Jekyll’s Mrs Danvers-y housekeeper (played by Lindsay Duncan), something in Rob’s sweetness and honesty amuses Dr Jekyll and she gives Rob the position, with responsibility for looking after her in her vast secluded mansion and seeing that she gets her meds. But soon things go terribly wrong. There are cameos here from no less than Simon Callow and Jonathan Hyde, and it looks like an interesting experiment, but there is something fundamentally inert here.