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Burke and Hare [DVD] [2010]

144 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Isla Fisher, Tom Wilkinson, Jessica Hynes
  • Directors: John Landis
  • Format: PAL, Anamorphic, Widescreen, Dolby, Digital Sound
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Entertainment in Video
  • DVD Release Date: 21 Feb. 2011
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004E10JGQ
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,995 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

John Landis directs this British black-comedy horror based on the real-life exploits of Irish murderers William Burke and William Hare. In the early 19th century, Burke (Simon Pegg) and Hare (Andy Serkis) decide to exploit a lucrative gap in the market by providing Edinburgh's world-renowned medical school with fresh cadavers for its research. Their methods of procuring the bodies, however, are unconventional to say the least. Christopher Lee, Isla Fisher, Tom Wilkinson and Jenny Agutter co-star.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 11 Dec. 2011
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
John Landis' Burke and Hare takes us back to Edinburgh in 1828, where life is cheap but the price skyrockets when you die. As Bill Bailey's genial hangman breezily fills us in on the historical background while he's preparing to execute an elderly and decrepit whore, it's the time of the Scottish Enlightenment and the city has become the medical capital of the world, but the path of scientific progress is hindered by the lack of fresh bodies to dissect. Things get even worse when Dr Alexander Monroe (Tim Curry) gets the monopoly on the bodies of the hanged, forcing Dr Robert Knox (Tom Wilkinson) to more drastic measures. Enter genial lowlife conmen Burke and Hare (Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis, both sporting credible Irish brogues) who, after failing miserably at grave robbing, decide to take a more hands on approach to the supply-and-demand problem...

The subject of many a horror film, Landis and the revived Ealing Studios take their lead more from the studio's classic black comedies like Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Ladykillers than Hammer (though Landis is enough of a buff to more than just doff his cap in their direction), updated with plenty of talk of business models and swipes at society's hypocrisy as our evil Laurel and Hardy ply their trade. Burke's romance with Isla Fisher's actress/working girl looking for a backer for her all-female version of MacBeth doesn't really add much to the mix beyond giving him the opportunity to fob off her queries about where he gets his money from with "I'm in surgical supplies," but the film is brisk and breezy enough to never outstay its welcome and manages to pull off turning a pair of `Irish psychopaths' into romantic heroes of a sort in a feelgood comedy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Victor HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 17 Jan. 2012
Format: DVD
This is an enjoyable romp detailing the adventurers of two Irish rogues who would go on to be two of the most infamous murderers in Scottish history, the body snatchers Burke and Hare. This is, from the off, a comedy, so don't expect any grim realities. Burke and Hare have been reimagined from the evil low life of reality into Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis's loveable Irish rogues out to make a living and being sucked into the easy money to be made supplying corpses to eminent surgeon Dr. Knox.

On paper the film should be great - 2 talented leads, a good idea to base the film around and a host of cameos from well known faces old and new (including Ronnie Corbett and Christopher Lee, not names you often see alongside each other!) which provide pleasing links to the great horror and comedy films of the past. The use of the real life Edinburgh locations where the two real villains would have lurked is a nice touch, as are the little details such as an appearance from Greyfriars Bobby. But while the whole thing is ok, it never really seems to really take off.

Some of the jokes are a bit laboured, and some of the performances lacklustre (especially, and it pains me to say this about someone whose work I have enjoyed so much in the past, Tim Curry). The romantic subplot, which is necessary to give the film its noble ending, never really gets off the ground due to a lack of chemistry between Pegg and Fisher. The film does often take off and provide genuine laughs, and some scenes are hilarious. But it just isn't consistent, so 3 stars only. It's worth seeing, and enjoyable enough, but not a classic.

The guest appearance from the real William Burke was a great touch, and shows some real imagination on the part of the film makers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sam Tyler on 22 Aug. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I'm afraid that I am one of those Brit geeks who will watch anything that features Simon Pegg, his film career has not only been a surprising one, but full of cult classics. `Burke and Hare' is not going to grace the best of list alongside the likes of `Sean of the Dead' and `Star Trek', but it certainly has merit. Directed by John Landis, this is the first film he has tackled in over 10 years, and it feels like it. `Burke and Hare' has an old fashioned (if 80s movie making can now be considered old fashioned) feel to it, as this bizarre buddy-cum-murderer comedy could come straight out of 1985.

Burke and Hare were two real life murderers from 19th century Edinburgh, they came to infamy when they were found to be killing homeless people to sell to the local medical practitioners. The morally bankrupt nature of the characters is brushed to one side in Landis' film and instead it paints a very dark comedy. As the titular Burke and Hare, Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis are a great double act, playing off one another well. They easily carry a film that is otherwise slightly confused. The storyline is all over the place and Isla Fisher's role as the `actress' is misplaced. Not all the cameos fail; it is fellow `Spaced' alumni Jessica Hynes who comes out of the film best, stealing some of the funniest moments in the film.

With a standout British cast there is a lot to enjoy with `Burke and Hare'. However, there is no doubting that the film itself is a bit of a mess. The budget cannot quite cope with recreating olde Edinburgh and Landis' humour does feel a little dated. Still worth watching for fans of Pegg and British comedy, just don't expect too much.
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