I, Frankenstein

I, Frankenstein
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Director: Stuart Beattie
Cert: 12A
Genre: Horror
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy, Yvonne Strahovski, Miranda Otto
Running Time: 1 hr 32 mins

Well, it's nice to have got this out of the way early. If a worse film than I, Frankenstein crawls from the murk in 2014, then it should be stuffed and mounted as permanent reminder of the evil that commerce and misguided creativity can bring to the world. If two worse films emerge, then we may as well give up on civilisation and return to the caves.

To say that this is the weakest ever Frankenstein film – in so far as it is satisfies the definition –is to say no insignificant thing. Neither Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter nor Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster have reputations to compare with the best work of Ingmar Bergman. But I, Frankenstein has a sort of poisonous laziness that really sets it aside. It's not fun-bad. It's bad-bad.

The story is, more or less, the story of Underworld and a dozen other recent action horrors. (Pub-quiz pedants will already have guessed that the title of the film should really be I, Frankenstein's Creature.) For two centuries, the patched-together pseudo-human (Aaron Eckhart) has been helping a race of "gargoyles" fight a race of "demons".

This is biblical horror of the silliest stripe – angels versus fallen angels, essentially – but the film does, at least, meet all that genre's legal requirements. Honouring Regulation 12B of the Horror Hokum Statute, the film-makers have ensured that Bill Nighy plays the top baddy and that everybody dresses like they're auditioning for a Fields of the Nephilim tribute band.


One would like to report that it's carried off with tolerable efficiency. This is not really the case. The Creature is, of course, traditionally fashioned from little bits of various human beings, but this version looks as if he's been fashioned from one big bit of prime Aaron Eckhart. The computer-generated effects are of the standard one expects from a TV advertisement for a Mullingar white goods supplier. The dialogue is never remarkable enough to qualify as camp.

Immolation by massed torch-bearing mob would be too a kind a fate. Die and rise no more.

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, a contributor to The Irish Times, is Chief Film Correspondent and a regular columnist