FRANKENSTEIN LEGACY. Review by Steve Kirkham

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FRANKENSTEIN LEGACY

3 stars
101 Films. Digital. 4th March

Mary Shelley’s famous novel continues to fascinate filmmakers – with Guillermo del Toro working on his own vision and Maggie Gyllenhaal apparently making a new version of BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. And then we have the film at hand – more an extrapolation than a straight adaptation from director Paul Dudbridge (FEAR THE INVISIBLE MAN, 2023) from a script by Jim Griffin based on a story by him and Dudbridge. This is a low budget outing – probably made for less than the catering bill on del Toro’s movie.

It starts in the Arctic in 1790 – Frankenstein is on a ship, the worse for wear and not long for this world, deliriously speaking of his creature. One of the crewmen rifles through his belongings and steals the diary/notebook he finds which has all about the monster and how it was made.

Down the decades the journal passes through various hands and eventually lands up in London in 1890 in the possession of obsessed scientist Millicent Browning (Juliet Aubrey) – cue the candlelit basement laboratory with jars of pickled creatures and the like. However, she is having little success in her endeavours to imbue life.

Her husband Robert (Philip Martin Brown) has a degenerative disease, although her son William (Matt Barber), who has quite progressive views, thinks he is only suffering because she spends so much time on her research for a cure.

William works at the local asylum, which is financially supported by his Mum – a convenient source for body parts perhaps?

Millicent is determined to restore her other half to full health – no matter what. When tragedy strikes, she has no choice but try and make her experiments work and go full mad scientist … eventually leading to the anticipated creation we are all expecting.

This feels like an old fashioned production, though one could argue it’s appropriate for the story it is telling – obviously restrained money wise, however it makes good us of it’s location, with much of it shot at Hall Bed and Breakfast in North Devon, which adds much needed value to the presentation.

Inevitably the acting is of variable quality, though Aubrey does a good job of capturing Millicent’s fanatical nature. The music is often over dramatic and some of the cinematography has the brightly lit air of a TV production – that being said the scenes in the lab have a gothic feel to them.

Michelle Ryan pops up in not much more than a glorified cameo.

Ultimately this doesn’t do anything particularly new with the basic tenets of a Frankensteinian creation.

Steve Kirkham