The Limehouse Golem

4 out of 5 stars
2 out of 5 stars
(5user reviews)
The Limehouse Golem

Bill Nighy stars in an entertaining adaptation set in the music halls of Victorian London

A series of gruesome slayings in the Victorian East End is attributed to a ghoulish mythological figure in this adaptation of Peter Ackroyd’s novel ‘Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem’. Dogged Scotland Yard detective Bill Nighy decides a notorious Thomas De Quincey essay borrowed from the British Library is a vital clue to the mystery: suddenly, cross-dressing  music hall star Dan Leno (a revelatory Douglas Booth) is in the frame, along with socially aware novelist George Gissing and a certain emigré political theorist called Karl Marx. 

This classier-than-average shocker leaves you with renewed appreciation of east London as a historical melting-pot, but ‘Kick-Ass’ screenwriter Jane Goldman also underlines the suffering endured by the likes of Olivia Cooke’s music hall performer, for whom the footlights help blank out grim memories of childhood poverty. 

With so many threads to unpack, Juan Carlos Medina’s modestly budgeted affair occasionally labours to get through everything, but the dizzying plot always intrigues. Nighy gives another suave masterclass, and the whole thing positively burns with passionate advocacy for the artists, free-thinkers and social outsiders who’ve been the making of modern London.

By: Trevor Johnston


Release details

Release date:
Friday September 1 2017
109 mins

Cast and crew

Juan Carlos Medina
Bill Nighy
Eddie Marsan
Olivia Cooke
Douglas Booth

Average User Rating

2.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

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1 of 1 found helpful

Three very fine actors (Bill Nighy, Daniel Mays & Eddie Marsan), are unable to save this turkey.

It's a variation of the Jack the Ripper yarn.It is just too laboured, it has a awful script, and it drags on & on. Even when it gets to the end, it refuses to finish & gives you an extra unnecessary scene. 

Not being a particular fan of Victorian set movies I was open to this due to the appearance of Bill Nighy…but what a let down Bill!

Don’t go and see this movie if you want to stay awake long enough to eat your popcorn.  I was expecting twists and turns in the plot but it was very flat.  The ‘who dunnit’ mantra was the only thing keeping this afloat and even then I’m not sure I cared for the truth, with unrealistic and non-gory bodies and dodgy London accents.

A terrible mix between Moulin Rouge and Sweeney Todd, I’d much rather pay to see them again than this waste of 2 hours.

Sorry Bill.

This is an appalling piece of film making.A complete mess.Everyone is mis-cast making for rather poor acting.Each scene is about 30 seconds short and any narrative has music in the background.The story line gets sillier and sillier as the film progresses.Scenes with Marx and Gissing are ludicrous.It is at times Victorian gothic and at other times a Brian Rix farce through to a Carry On film..Not for the discerning,one purely for the masses.2 stars


Early September is the perfect release date for this film - helping us transition from some of the summer's popcorn movies into serious awards season. It provides exactly what the plot summary and the trailer promise - a Gothic thriller, told with suspense and some laughs, excellent performances from all the cast and great setting & costumes. Two hours worth of pretty well-told escapism. 


An intriguing but inconsistent Victorian gothic thriller very much inspired by the Jack the Ripper mystery. I was encouraged that the gore was kept to a minimum, which is unusual for this type of British film. As such the focus was more on the central characters of the detective Bill Nighy and those involved in the Victorian theatre that pivots the majority of the plot.

There are effective twists and turns and decent central performances but it’s overly long and my attention waned quite a bit in the middle third. It's worth watching on TV but doesn’t really need to be caught on the big screen.