Jekyll + Hyde (2006)

Using such strong source material as Robert Louis Stephenson’s famed novel Jekyll And Hyde and building upon it should make it nearly impossible to produce a bad film, but that’s exactly what Nick Stillwell has done. It would be very easy to write 2006’s Jekyll + Hyde off as nothing more than style over substance but sadly there’s very little style present either.

Jekyll + Hyde takes the basis of the original story and gives it a modern twist. Five medical students, as part of their studies, theorise about the possible effects of using recreational drugs in order to enhance their personalities. Two of the group; shy and nerdy Henry Jekyll (’J’ to his friends) and Mary, decide to take it one step further and actually start to use themselves as willing test subjects for their theories. When Mary dies suddenly as the result of an overdose, the only clue to her death being a post-it note in her locker featuring a phone number and the name ‘Hyde‘, ‘J’ starts to unravel and begins taking regular doses of the chemically altered ecstasy. It soon turns him from the mild mannered nerd that his friends know and love into a misogynistic womaniser with murderous tendencies. With little to no knowledge of his sinister alter-ego once the effects wear off, ‘J’ continues to increase the dose of the dangerous drug and the body count rises.

Bryan Fisher tries his best in the dual roles of Jekyll and Hyde and for the most part, there is nothing wrong with his performance(s). He’s a decent actor and a handsome bloke. The trouble is that the for the film to function as a horror, it relies on him to be convincing as a man who is thoroughly troubled by both his close friends death and the unnerving new persona on which he is becoming increasingly dependant. Therein lies the problem. Unfortunately, despite Fisher convincingly swaggering, shagging and violently murdering his way through the duration of the movie, the fact remains that he possesses all the menace of a High School Musical cast member.

It’s telling that the main point of focus on the DVD cover is the fact that the movie features music by Kasabian. The makers can’t have had much faith in their accomplishments for them to bizarrely trumpet that facet of the films soundtrack over anything they produced themselves.

Another major failing is that the movie begins at the end. For the audience to immediately be armed with the knowledge of the films climax, the intervening material has to be interesting and arresting enough for us to want to find out how it all came to be. Regrettably, the events that unfold don’t interest or arrest and so the whole thing seems like a wasted opportunity. As much as I wanted to enjoy Jekyll + Hyde, I can’t help but think that Stephenson would be spinning in his grave at the denigration of his beloved tale of the exploration of the monster within us all.

Rating: ★★½☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

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