Victor Frankenstein breathes new life into Mary Shelley’s classic monster tale



By Steve Newton

Horror fans who suffered through last year’s abysmal I, Frankenstein—not to mention Dracula Untold, Godzilla, and WolfCop—could be forgiven for giving up on old-school movie monsters. But Victor Frankenstein makes up for all of those, breathing new life into Mary Shelley’s classic tale of mortal man overreaching his bounds.

Daniel Radcliffe stars as a tormented and abused clown with a humpback who’s been raised in a circus from hell. When beautiful acrobat Lorelei (Jessica Brown Findlay) tumbles from her trapeze, the smitten hunchback helps save her life, wowing the assisting Dr. Frankenstein (James McAvoy) with his medical know-how. In need of a skilled assistant, Frankenstein helps the clown—soon to be christened Igor—make a daring escape from his cruel keepers.

After enthusiastically ridding Igor of his hump—which turned out to be one helluva nasty abscess—the mad genius declares him his partner and gives him the run of his elaborate laboratory. After a thrilling sequence where they reanimate a gruesome monkey-thing that runs amok during a demonstration, the financially strapped pair get unlimited funding from super-wealthy weasel Finnegan (Freddie Fox). Hot on their trail is Scotland Yard’s Insp. Turpin (Spectre’s Andrew Scott), a self-righteous dick obsessed with curtailing their “ungodly” experiments.

The witty, infectious interplay between Frankenstein and Igor—scripted by Max Landis, of Chronicle fame—propels the film along at a sharp pace, the stellar visual effects, cinematography, and production design handsomely framing the human drama.

By the time Frankenstein’s monster shows up to raise holy hell in the last act, you’re not even that interested, because its lumbering violence is just no match for the intriguing story of its makers.

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