‘Burke & Hare’ DVD Review


Loosely based on real events, this grotesque period comedy doesn’t entertain as a comedy, a horror or an insight into the famous crimes. Although well cast, the leads lack any of the chemistry that’s made Simon Pegg comedies successful in the past and none of the characters are well defined enough to be convincing. Even his reunion with Jessica Hynes, his co-star in the sitcom ‘Spaced’, in uninteresting. Isla Fisher, as the token love interest, seems content to let her breasts fill in for her acting.

None of the characters have any motivation for their actions, they only do what needs to happen to move the script along, making events uninteresting. Burke and Hare make the jump from con-men to grave-robbers to murderers in the space of a few short scenes, then spend more time talking about the deed than actually performing it. The movie is also riddled with cameos from everyone from a mumbling Christopher Lee to a a smirking Tim Curry with plenty of TV stars in between. None of them, however serve any purpose other than extending the credits out another few seconds.

The narrative is sloppy at best, with a new plot thread introduced every ten minutes, most of which fail to find resolution before the brief running time clocks out. Mobsters, rivalries between doctors, police investigations and an all-female production of ‘Macbeth’ are all used to pad out the thin plot to little avail.

Worst of all, none of the jokes are funny. Everyone’s comedic timing has taken a holiday and the slapstick routines feel better suited to a family movie than this. Landis delivered biting satire in ‘An American Werewolf in London’, but all he’s got here is a toothless series of pratfalls. His direction is stodgy and cheap looking and the story is a mess – using Bill Bailey to bookend the film as a narrator to explain what’s been happening is testament to that.

TWO outta TEN