Cert 15 109mins Stars 3
Get lost in the gothic and grisly gloom of this blood curdling murder mystery.
This pea souper of fact and fiction sees real life Victorian characters mixed up in a fictional serial killer in London’s down market Limehouse district.
With more than a dash of Hammer House of Horror blood splashed about, it all resembles the case of Jack the Ripper as if it were being investigated by an ageing Sherlock Holmes.
With his cadaverous face and grave manner, the venerable Bill Nighy is well cast as Inspector John Kildare, in a role originally pencilled in for Alan Rickman before his sad death.
Wild rumours suggest the mythical Golem is responsible. When the ageing detective is sent to investigate, he stumbles across a second murder case which may be connected.
Former singer and dancer Elizabeth, the prime suspect in the poisoning of her playwright husband.
Oldham born actress Emilia Cooke is fabulous in the role and in a flashback to her stage routine, her incandescent vitality and talent outshines the limelights and is the best reason for watching.
Picking his way though a shroud of intrigue, corruption, exploitation, rape and of course, murder, Kildare is led to the music hall where the famous Dan Leno performs.
The real life drag artist, dancer and comic is played with a suitably theatrical flourish by Douglas Booth.
He’s part of a bawdy repertory of performers and trapeze artists who all have their secrets, allowing for a shoal of red herrings to be scattered.
Cursed with a limited budget which doesn’t stretch stretch to grand spectacle, the money has been spent wisely on the period costumes and interior design.
Filmed on location up north, Leeds and Manchester stand in for the capital and show how sinister they can be at night.
So beware the danger lurking in the shadows when you slip out to see the Limehouse Golem.