Doctor Jekyll: release date and cast of Eddie Izzard horror film, is it true to the book, what do reviews say?

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Eddie Izzard’s gender flipped Doctor Jekyll gothic horror adaptation revives the Hammer brand

Comedian Eddie Izzard stars in a Doctor Jekyll, a modern retelling of the classic horror tale, with a gender flipped twist. Instead of Henry Jekyll and Edward Hyde, Izzard - who uses she/her pronouns - plays Nina Jekyll and Rachel Hyde.

The film is directed by Joe Stephenson, who previously helmed TV movie Agatha and the Midnight Murders, and several episodes of Ackley Bridge.

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Doctor Jekyll marks the first new Hammer Film in years - the studio was synonymous with the horror genre from the late 1930s through to the 1960s, before declining and going into liquidation in 1979.

The Hammer name was resurrected in 2007 and several popular horror films including The Woman in Black, and The Quiet Ones have been released by the studio. Doctor Jekyll is the first Hammer film since The Lodge in 2019. 

Unfortunately the fresh take on the 130 year old story hasn’t endeared the film to the critics, and it could be another nail in the coffin of Hammer horror.

Eddie Izzard stars in new Hammer horror film Doctor JekyllEddie Izzard stars in new Hammer horror film Doctor Jekyll
Eddie Izzard stars in new Hammer horror film Doctor Jekyll | Hammer Films

Who is in the cast of Doctor Jekyll?

  • Eddie Izzard as Dr. Nina Jekyll and Rachel Hyde
  • Scott Chambers as Rob
  • Lindsay Duncan
  • Robyn Cara as Maeve
  • Jonathan Hyde
  • Morgan Watkins as Ewan
  • Simon Callow
  • Tony Jayawardena as Malcolm
  • Isabella Inchbald as Nina's Mother

Is Doctor Jekyll based on a book?

Doctor Jekyll is based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella, Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. 

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The original story follows a legal practitioner who investigates the case of mysterious serial killer Hyde and a possible connection between the murders and his old friend Dr Jekyll.

The book is now better known for its shock twist than any other aspect, and more people likely know the ending that have ever read the story. For those who don’t know - spoiler alert - it turns out that Jekyll and Hyde are one and the same, and the doctor created and drank a serum that transformed him into the demented killer.

In the case of this latest adaptation, several major changes have been made - the main roles have been gender swapped, and the iconic Victorian setting has been updated to the modern day.

Hammer horror film Doctor Jekyll has received poor reviews from the criticsHammer horror film Doctor Jekyll has received poor reviews from the critics
Hammer horror film Doctor Jekyll has received poor reviews from the critics | Hammer Films

What do the Doctor Jekyll reviews say?

The Times was positive about Izzard’s presence in the movie, praising her screen charisma, but thought that director Joe Stephenson relied on her performance too much in an otherwise ‘flimsy’ film.

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The Guardian was more scathing, giving the film two stars and calling it ‘bafflingly laborious, leaden and self-conscious’ whilst also arguing that Izzard didn’t do much to differentiate her performances as Jekyll and Hyde.

The Spectator’s review wasn’t glowing either, claiming that Doctor Jekyll isn’t as camp or fun as the classic Hammer films of yore, and that this latest release was lacking in actual horror.

Empire was considerably more positive, praising Izzard as great value in the slow burn flick, but qualified its review by suggesting it could do with ‘more primal rampage’.

Is there a trailer for Doctor Jekyll?

Yes there is, and you can watch it right here:

When is Doctor Jekyll in cinemas?

Doctor Jekyll opened in cinemas in the UK on Friday 27 October.

Is Doctor Jekyll on Netflix?

No, Doctor Jekyll is not currently slated for a release on any streaming service in the UK, and is exclusively in cinemas.

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