Doctor Jekyll (2024)

Director: Joe Stephenson

Running Time: 89 Minutes

Certification: 15

Starring: Eddie Izzard, Scott Chambers, Lindsay Duncan, Robyn Cara, Jonathan Hyde, Morgan Watkins, Simon Callow

There was a point in the 2010's where, with releases such as Let Me In, The Woman In Black, and The Lodge, it looked like Hammer were back. The studio has since resurfaced after a quiet period with a new work that brings back classic elements, such as an isolated mansion, a mysterious locked room, and a mad doctor. For this modern reimagining of Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novella The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, director Joe Stephenson crafts a story centered around an ex-convict grasping onto his second chance at life.

After being released from prison, Rob (Scott Chambers) is intent on finding a job so that he can turn his life around and finally see his daughter that was born during his sentence. As luck would have it, he is hired as a carer for reclusive doctor Nina Jekyll (Eddie Izzard), although he does not realize the devious plans set in motion for him by Nina's alter-ego, Rachel Hyde.

Key to the film are the tremendous performances that each bring alive their roles in captivating ways. Chambers puts an endearing performance into Rob, the happy-go-lucky chap who just wishes to do a good job and rise above his troubled past. Issues arise when he crosses paths with his ex, who begs Rob to help pull one last job to satisfy her drug addiction. It is all part of the small-town location where nothing stays secret for long, and past relationships mean little in regards to present troubles.

In the titular role, Izzard brings alive the doctor with such magnetism to ensure viewers are captivated by her performance. She captures the playful side of this recluse who is fascinated by Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, while also treating life like a chessboard as she intends to stay two steps ahead of her competition. It is all part of this interesting take on well-trodden ground, as Stephenson and screenwriter Dan Kelly-Mulhern bring a fresh take onto a source material that has been adapted numerous times. While it may feel familiar in places and offer few surprises, the playfulness and beating gothic heart ensures that Doctor Jekyll is a terrific addition to Hammer's back-catalogue. Let us hope that this is a sign the studio are back with a blood-soaked vengeance.

Doctor Jekyll is available on Digital Download now