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From Hell may not possess the macabre sense of showmanship that made Sleepy Hollow (which also featured Depp as a policeman investigating bizarre murders) such a kinky kick, but on its own terms, it's an effective thriller containing a lot more plot than anyone might have expected (or at least anyone not familiar with the source material). The story spends a good amount of time out on the streets, never flinching from the horrendous circumstances that defined the lives of these poor working girls. These sequences offer a sharp contrast to the ones involving the members of "polite" society, such as the baldly elitist police chief (Ian Richardson) who figures Jack the Ripper must be a foreigner because an Englishman would never commit such horrible crimes (this same character almost chokes when Abberline suggests that the killer is not only English but also upper society).
As Abberline becomes more immersed in his investigation, we become more immersed in the period world that the Hughes and their crew have created. Between the sets constructed by Shakespeare In Love Oscar winner Martin Childs (who built an entire London district just outside of Prague for this film), the costumes designed by Kym Barrett (The Matrix), and the mood-setting cinematography by Peter Deming (whose startling style can also be seen in Mulholland Drive), this exudes authenticity right down to the last cobblestone.
Well, OK: The Marilyn Manson song that plays over the closing credits may not exactly conjure up images of 1888 London, but that's a small concession I'm willing to make.