Learn more Download now Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Best of 2017 Shop now Shop now

TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 May 2017
Dark, funny, well-scripted, sublimely acted, an unexpected treat. I had not heard of the movie when I stumbled across it, and the lure of Curry, Lee, Pegg, Serkis and, of course, Landis directing reeled me in. I'm glad it did, as my partner and I really enjoyed this one. I agree with the Marmite comment though, there is going to be precious little critical middle ground here; you either get it or you don't.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 25 August 2017
Don't be put off that it's based on a true story, which it is only very loosely, it's a laugh out loud funny movie with a great cast, Ronnie Corbett is a scream in a sort of cameo as the stern captain of the militia like something out of The Nutcracker, they push Paul Whitehouse downstairs so they can sell his corpse and he bounces off every single step like a ping pong ball, puts his top hat back on and carries on singing at the top of his voice he's so drunk, buy, you won't regret
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 17 January 2012
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. And any film in which a certain annoying insurance salesman is treated in such a fashion is worth a look.

I would recommend a look at Flesh & The Fiends [DVD] [1959] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] for a somewhat different take on the legend.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 3 March 2012
19th century Edinburgh grave robbers Burke & Hare have been the subject of at least 4 films prior to this one (5 if you count Val Lewton's THE BODY SNATCHER (1945) which has the same setting and plotline but only one grave robber). 1) THE GREED OF WILLIAM HART aka HORROR MANIACS (1948) with the legendary Tod Slaughter which had tremendous censorship and legal difficulties as a relative of Hare's threatened to sue, 2) THE FLESH & THE FIENDS (1959) with Peter Cushing, Donald Pleasance, and George Rose which after 50 years is still the best version, 3) BURKE & HARE (1971) a poor combination of broad comedy and peepshow melodrama that capitalizes on the then new lack of censorship with lots of gratuitous nudity. It also has a dreadful, totally inappropriate soundtrack, and 4) THE DOCTOR & THE DEVILS (1985) with Jonathan Pryce, Stephen Rea, Timothy Dalton and based on a screenplay by Dylan Thomas written in 1953 which changes the characters' names for probably the same reason as GREED OF WILLIAM HART. That film, directed by horror veteran Freddie Francis, is a totally lacklustre affair which, considering the talent involved, should have been much better than it was. That bring us to this new, eagerly awaited version which was directed by John Landis. The results are definitely a mixed bag.

It's as if Landis took the previous versions and borrowed bits and pieces from them. Like THE DOCTOR & THE DEVILS, the settings and the period costumes are superb. The squalor of 19th century Edinburgh (most notably the crowd scenes) is beautifully captured just as in THE FLESH & THE FIENDS. Tom Wilkinson's Doctor Knox is as over the top as anything Tod Slaughter ever did and the comedy bits and undistinguished soundtrack recall the 1971 film whose main setting was a bordello. Unfortunately this BURKE & HARE can't make up its mind as to what it wants to be. Not that it's totally without merit. Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis make a fine Burke & Hare. Serkis, in particular, is given a chance to shine as an actor not just a CGI creation like in LORD OF THE RINGS or RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. It's certainly possible to mix black comedy and horror. Landis himself did it brilliantly 30 years ago in AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON but here I'm afraid lightning failed to strike twice. BURKE & HARE is definitely worth seeing especially if you're fans of Serkis & Pegg and it has odd moments that stay with you like the burning of the photographs or the final shot of the real Burke's skeleton. I didn't hate the film but I was definitely disappointed with it. Any film that manages to restrain Tim Curry has definitely got problems
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
VINE VOICEon 7 July 2011
This is black comedy at its darkest. The story is supposed to be a comedic take on the real life body snatchers/murders Burke and Hare and it is the first time anyone has tried to portray those events as comical. I liked the movie, but I didn't love it. There were plenty of blood thirsty moments and shockers that had me closing my eyes. Sadly however even the brilliance of Andy Serkis could not save this movie although he was undoubtedly the best thing in it. Simon Pegg seems a little lacklustre without his usual comedy buddy Nick Frost. I am a big fan of Hot Fuzz and Shawn of the dead and those two just gel well together on screen.

Nice little cameos from lots of famous people. I thought the actress who played Hare's wife Lucky was amusing as was their sex scene together when they were talking business. Burke and Hare took the very modern saying "It's just business, nothing personal" to the full extreme when dispatching their victims. Not really historically correct, but not really trying to be and going for the laughs, some hit the mark and some falling flat. Entertaining enough for a rental rather than a buy.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 25 April 2011
This film starts out & ends with hangman (Bill Baily) telling us the about the opening & closing of the story, which follows William Burke (Simon Pegg - Shaun of the Dead) & William Hare (Andy Serkis - Golum from LOTR's) as two 19th century con men who stumble across a lucrative business, of providing cadavers for an Edinburgh medical school run by Dr Robert Knox (Tom Wilkinson - The Full Monty). Pegg & Surkis start out as lowly con men who cant....well, con anybody really, just happen to stumble across a lucrative way to make a fortune, due to a change in laws about the bodies of those criminals who have been Hung, being used for scientific research.

From a first come first served basis of selling the bodies, to all of them being taken to a Dr Monro(Tim Curry -The Rocky Horror Picture Show). Mix this in with the fact that the King has offered a lucrative prize for whom ever has made the most outstanding discovery in medical science to date, means Dr Knox is desperate for fresh....specimens, and will pay double the normal price. In step....well stumble really, Burke & Hare, who by pure chance due to the death of one of Hare's residents, his wife Lucky (Jessica Hynes- Shaun of The Dead) runs a B&B, and the light bulb soon appears as the good life beckons. They get a taste of it with fine cloths & food, however anyone who's anyone notices as they rise from pauper to noble mans lifestyle in a short space of time, & eventually it's not long until others want a piece of their pie, but can they keep it hush hush from the law(Ronnie Corbett) ?

Personally i was really excited to watch this film, but sadly it ended up being a little bit of a disappointment from my initial high expectations. Although i thought it was funny in places, there weren't really any laugh out loud moments, it was more subtle humor, although at least the story was decent enough to follow & enjoy. Nothing to shout from the rooftops about, but still makes an enjoyable enough film to watch. There are a lot of dead bodies as you'd expect, with the odd open chest, severed leg etc...here & there, fine if your a regular CSI viewer, a little gory, nothing extreme. Just in case your a bit squeamish ;-) Worth a watch.
0Comment| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 15 February 2012
Seen on Sky Movies.
Landis gets to grips with the English - in Scotland. A great cast and good performances cannot quite transmorgify (pun intended), the film from pleasant time elapser to something more.
Not enough laughs. Nor enough detail to get to grips and the emphasis on a sweet love story?.... This is not even an American Teenwolf in Edinburgh. Sorry that' too cruel - but from all the talent involved I was hoping for more. B
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 15 October 2013
Being fond of Simon pegg films I expected this to be of his normal calibre but was massively disappointed, to be honest the story never went anywhere Isla fisher was terrible in it, and Simon pegg just never roused any laughs I fell asleep near the end as it just wasn't funny!!!! wait till it comes out on t.v its not worth any amount of money massively disappointing.
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 10 March 2016
A comic retelling of the infamous West Port murders, William Burke (Simon Pegg) and William Hare (Andy Serkis) are down on their luck Irish immigrants who find a means to make quick cash in selling the dead to medical schools in 1820s Edinburgh. Of course, when people aren't dying fast enough, they decide to 'help them along'...

Despite atmospheric direction and a very game cast of British talent, John Landis' comeback after a decade of relative inactivity never amounts to much. It romanticizes the real life murders into a dark comedy, which may be an issue to some but hardly a cardinal sin or impossible to may work, except the jokes never make much use of the ghoulish premise or time period, and instead rely almost entirely on lame slapstick and toilet gags, such as when our leads literally get dumped on given the lack of 'lavatories' at the time. This material never feels as cheeky as Landis' past works, and it feels very paint by numbers and safe, which seems at odds with the premise.

And similar lack of care has gone towards the characters, most being one note cartoons outside of Burke and Hare themselves, recast as underdogs and with Hare being almost a loveable sap as he tries to help a struggling actress (Isla Fisher) launch her all female version of Macbeth. It's tacky, generic and once more, feels out of sync with a concept as ballsy as making these two psychos the 'heroes' of their own tale, but the film plays like any other lower tier underdog comedy that never really asks hard questions about its subject, nor offers any sort of satire or commentary on the original events or how they influenced today's medical practices.

A pity as there are good elements: Pegg and Serkis make for a decent team, and the cast, including Tom Wilkinson, Tim Curry, Bill Bailey, Hugh Bonneville and even Christopher Lee, are enjoying themselves. Plus, Landis' love of old school British cinema is on show, with direction and production values reminiscent of Hammer as we go through the dark and seedy streets of night time Edinburgh. However, it just can't salvage a film as toothless as this, and were it not for its obvious comedic slant, would give 'For Greater Glory' or 'Patch Adams' a run for its money in terms of 'Bad Historicals'.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 17 December 2016
In 1828 Edinburgh, William Burke (SIMON PEGG) and William Hare (ANDY SERKIS) are down on their luck – and dead broke! Yet when Hare's alcoholic wife Lucky (JESSICA HYNES) informs them that a tenant has died without paying his due rent, this gives them a great idea. They sell the fresh corpse to local Doctor Knox (TOM WILKINSON) who is planning to map out the Human body to gain the upper hand over his bitter rival Doctor Munro (TIM CURRY).

Knox is delighted and employs the two rogues to bring him fresh cadavers at every opportunity. Believing this is a fool-proof way to become rich, Burke and Hare unscrupulously begin a savage killing spree and the richer they become, the more money they flaunt and the more attention they unwittingly draw upon themselves. Their endeavours come to the knowledge of local crime lord Danny McTavish (DAVID HAYMAN) and his equally thuggish henchman Fergus (DAVID SCHOFIELD), who offer the duo protection from prying eyes – such as bungling militia Captain Tam McLintoch (RONNIE CORBETT) – for a stake of their profits.

Burke has also become involved with the beautiful Ginny Hawkins (ISLA FISHER), a budding actress who is attempting to raise money for an all-female version of Macbeth and sees the smitten Burke as a major sponsor. With expensive tastes, Ginny and Lucky's demands on their menfolk lead to them having to step up their game, and indeed the body count, until impossible strains are inevitably placed upon their long friendship.

Veteran Director JOHN LANDIS made one of my favourite horror comedies, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, and although he tries a similar approach with BURKE & HARE he is not always successful. For instance, some of the comedic moments seem a little forced and are not quite as subtle as they should be.

However, much fun can be had from spotting the many cameo roles – everyone from horror legend CHRISTOPHER LEE and stop-motion wizard RAY HARRYHAUSEN to comedians BILLY BAILEY and PAUL WHITEHOUSE – while fans of his 1981 Werewolf classic will be thrilled to see some of its cast members reunited in this film too!

Special Features include 11 interviews with cast and crew (1 hour), 10 deleted and extended scenes (11 minutes) and a series of out-takes running to 150 seconds. While these are okay in their own way, I would have perhaps liked to have seen some items on the real Burke and Hare, plus information on the gruesome and often dangerous trade they employed.

At 91 minutes the film is not over-long and there are things to enjoy here, but I do not believe it will endear people to their hearts in years to come like AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON did!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)