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The Limehouse Golem Review

Written by Louie Fecou

Fans of Penny Dreadful should rush for tickets to The Limehouse Golem, a lurid tale of terror from director Juan Carlos Medina. The tale, set in London in 1880, has all the hallmarks of a Ripper-esque drama complete with bloody murders and mysterious unknown killers.

Olivia Cooke plays Lizzie Cree, arrested for poisoning her husband, and intent on being a serious actress after carving a career in the showy pantomime of the London theater scene. Bill Nighy is the detective assigned to solve the spate of murders in the city, that are so grizzly the public believe it to be the work of a monstrous Golem. The two stories weave together into a mystery that is fun and exciting, and should keep you guessing till the end, although I must admit I did figure it out in the second act. If you enjoy these kind of stories, you are in for a treat.


London has never been more “rippery”, the sets and costumes are great, the murders gruesome and over the top and the cast are all on good form. Director Medina uses a very clever cinematic trick, of showing us all the suspects in this murder mystery, in the role as the killer, leading the audience down plenty of alleyways that lead to red herrings. When the killer is finally revealed in a similar flashback, the technique comes full circle in a very fulfilling way.

The double act of Bill Nighy and Daniel Mays, works well, almost like holmes and Watson but in a much more understated way. Olivia Cooke is superb as our female protagonist and delivers a tight and measured performance that makes her a delight. When she appears for the first few times on stage in the bawdy London theater, you believe she is both excited and nervous, it’s a great performance and one that I can’t imagine anyone else doing just as well. When they make the movie of the story of Queen, they really should give the role to Douglas Booth, who plays Dan Leno here. Whenever he was on screen, he really looked like he was channeling Freddy Mercury.


The film is a 15, and has plenty of violence and blood, so be prepared, and there is a dark and dismal tone running through the thread of the entire screenplay. Jane Goldman, who wrote the screenplay based on the novel Dan Leno and The Limehouse Golem by Peter Aykroyd, brings everything together very nicely, and nothing is wasted or thrown away. All in all this is a solid satisfying horror flick that will pass the night and keep you entertained.

Rating: 8 out of 10