Jekyll + Hyde
jekyll + hyde | nick stillwell | david t. reilly | bryan fisher | bree turner | jeff roop | based on | novel | robert louis stevenson | remake | dr. jekyll and mr. hyde | mad scientist | sci fi | sci-fi | united states | canada | maria del mar | zachary bennett
Film: Jekyll + Hyde
Director: Nick Stillwell
Writer: David T. Reilly and Nick Stillwell
Starring: Bryan Fisher, Bree Turner and Jeff Roop
This was a film that I really didn’t know much about, but I did pick up a copy of it on DVD a few years ago. That would be probably right after college when I was seeking out all of the versions of this classic tale from Robert Louis Stevenson to see how they all differed. Other than that, I knew very little. The synopsis here is Henry Jekyll (Bryan Fisher) is a young science student who along with his friend Mary (Katrina Matthews), experiments with various drugs and compounds in order to create a personality-enhancing drug.
Now that synopsis pretty much gets recapped in some opening text before we get into the movie. Henry ‘J’ Jekyll wakes up in his place and goes into the bathroom. It is there that he discovers a girl in his bathtub. He’s not sure how she got there, but there’s blood all over. To make matters worse, a fellow student Martha Utterson (Bree Turner) shows up to his apartment. He hasn’t been to class all week so she’s bringing him notes. He tries to rush her off, but not before she notices the blood on his clothes. She didn’t see him strangle the girl in his bathtub before exiting.
The movie then informs us that we’re going to go 2 weeks into the past. J is much different and quite nerdy from the looks. His group of friends includes Martha, Lanyon (Jeff Roop), Dan (Zachery Bennett) and Mary. Lanyon is kind of a douche if I’m going to be honest. He along with Mary, are really into recreational drugs. During this scene we get an odd interaction between J, Jack (Landy Cannon) and Martha. J gets bullied by Jack. This plays into the experiment that he wants to conduct in order to earn a grant.
Things take a turn though when Mary dies of an overdose. J’s professor, Jane Poole (Maria del Mar) tries to sway him away from what he wants to do to something that is legal and more safe. He refuses though. He also starts to test what he has created on himself.
Before Mary passed away, she had a note in her locker for Hyde and what looked like a phone number. This is the persona that J is taking on while he uses this new drug he created. He keeps upping and upping the dose, until he’s not sure who he is anymore. He is plagued by nightmares that he’s starting to think are memories of what his alter ego is doing. The problem is, he likes being Hyde too much to stop.
I’m going to try my hardest here to not compare this version to some of the other ones that I’ve been watching recently. To start off with the positives here, I do like that this is one is taking the idea from the original novel and forming into a cautionary tale of addiction. I also think this an interesting aspect that he’s documenting his experiment by doing video blogs. It is an easy way to show/tell us the information while giving us some different images on the screen. Incorporating the idea of recreational drug use, especially with college students makes sense.
The problem though that I did have with this movie is that it is too slow. It runs just under 90 minutes, but it felt like it went on for 2 hours. Something I think is the problem there is that pretty much all of the deaths are done off-screen and I have no idea why that was the route they decided to take. It almost feels like the story they’re trying to tell they thought was strong enough to carry it and I hate to say is really not the case. It also keeps going back to this door. We see there’s something off about the hallway to it. It goes to this shot a few times, getting closer and closer. The problem though is that the reveal there didn’t amount to much either.
What also couldn’t carry this was the acting. Fisher’s performance was J was weak to me. He lacks the emotion to pull off what he’s trying to do, but I thought he made for a solid Hyde if I’m going to be honest. Turner is probably the most famous person here and I recognize her as a supporting actress in quite a few things. She was fine in this movie, but she didn’t blow me away. The rest of the cast was all right, but no one really stood out and the performances were pretty mediocre to be honest.
That will take me over to the effects which to be honest, aren’t that bad. The real problem is that they didn’t do more with them. I was wondering if they didn’t due to budget or not making them look real. The blood, wounds and gunshots that are used look pretty real as they were done practically. There wasn’t much in the way of CGI aside from a few times we see J taking the drug and it is showing it go into his blood stream. That really wasn’t that bad, but also not really needed. The cinematography was also fine in my opinion.
Now with that said, this one does do a bit different take on the classic tale, but the problem is that they really don’t develop enough around it to really stand apart. I like changing the idea from a monster to someone who is addicted to a drug, as that is still a core idea of the novel in a sense. The movie though ultimately was boring. I didn’t really care about any of the characters. The effects in the movie were really good, but we just don’t get a lot of them and not seeing more of the attacks or the deaths really hurts the product overall. The soundtrack didn’t really stand out to me, but it also wasn’t anything that really hurt it either. I’d say that this is below average to me unfortunately and can’t really recommend it. It’s a shame that a few different changes could have brought this up quite a bit in my opinion.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 10