02 January 2008

Ripper, letter from hell (2001) review

John Eyres

Kelly Brook
A.J. Cook
Daniella Evangelista
Bruce Payne
Emmanuelle Vaugier

Molly Keller (A.J. Cook) survived a serial killer incident which cost her her parents and nearly all of their insurance money to replace boats. She is now a student of forensic psychology under a famous author in the field. Surprisingly, her ordeal of a few years ago is not over. A Jack the Ripper fan starts hacking teens in her class. In her class of mostly foreign exchange students, the tension runs almost as high as their suspicions of each other in their quest to find the killer.

I feel sorry for Molly Keller. She has stereotypical teenage angst, she gets all the cheesy lines and she has to pretend she is hardcore. I would say the dialogue is the single worst feature of this film.

Another weird aspect is the police officer working on the case. Yes, you read right. There is a serial killer running amok, but the authorities assigned only one police officer to the case. He has to corner off crime scenes, gather evidence and babysit Molly. No wonder they don't catch the guy all that quickly. Plus he looks like Jack the Ripper himself!

Moving on to the positive aspects: the first murder scene is done very well. Buckets of blood, lots of suspense, looks feasible enough for you to think it is one of your own parties gone horribly wrong. Did I mention buckets of blood? Yes, there are buckets of blood, but only in the first killing.

The actors are largely unknown, but most of them did a splendid job with lacking dialogue. Especially the scream queens - remarkable screaming, remarkable panic attacks.

The ending is a little bit inconclusive. This is not a problem, but on a budget like this it is unlikely that there would ever be a sequel. From the unknown actors used, to the blood that looks like paint, to the fake Rammstein and fake White Zombie bands on the soundtrack, everything spells this is your one shot at making a slasher movie. I would rather make one kick-ass slasher flick, even though it is a genre product, rather than try to be arty with open endings.

The intentional gaps in the plot could be forgiven. However, the unintentional gaps in the plot need attention. This is a slasher genre film, and as such is slightly worse than Valentine. Having a Jack the Ripper copycat killer is interesting to begin with, if they stuck with the genre formula, it could have been better. Still entertaining, but not great.


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