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Indie Movie Review – Frankenstein: Legacy

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I’m sure there must be a term for a story that is an extension of an earlier story. Extended narrative perhaps? Whatever…I’m sure someone could tell me in the comments. Anyway, Frankenstein: Legacy is set in a shared universe with the original Mary Shelley novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Basically, it takes up the story a hundred years after the end of the original. Victor Frankenstein’s notes have made their way around the world and have ended up in the hands of Millicent Browning (Juliet Aubrey). The group who are trying to get the diary so that they can destroy it are led by Lady Charlotte (Michelle Ryan).

Unfortunately, the diaries did not have an easy journey to Millicent. People were shot, stabbed, burnt, and frozen along the way. To make matters worse there are others after the information contained within the covers; some want to use it, some want to sell it, others want to destroy it. Millicent uses the notes to bring a rat back to life but Ratty seems a little peeved and bites her. Millicent takes swift and brutal revenge with a shovel before going off to breakfast with her husband, Robert (Philip Martin Brown), daughter, Clara (Katie Sheridan), and son, William (Matt Barber).

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Later on a group of people break into their house, well, mansion, in the search for the Frankenstein diaries. During the attempted robbery Colonel Browning gets badly beaten and, before much longer, he dies. Millicent goes back to her laboratory and, seeing the notes, remembers that she brought a rat back to life and the next step is to use them to try and revive her husband. If you remember the old Frankenstein films the creature was made up of bits and pieces of a variety of people. As Mr Browning Sr lost a leg to gangrene there is a fair amount of body snatching going on which, I understand, was commonplace at the time the film is set.

One of the advantages of working in the United Kingdom when shooting a film set in the 19th century is that there are plenty of appropriate locations to shoot in and around. My own house was built around 1895 and that’s not considered to be particularly old. Get into the countryside and the centuries fall away and you can find properties built during the Roman Empire and, occasionally, earlier. Frankenstein: Legacy was filmed on location in the South West of England mainly around Devon, Bristol, Bath, and Gloucester. Hall in Bishop’s Tawton, Devon is the location for the Browning house and is delightfully sprawling and Gothic.

Let The Bodies Pile High

As well as the locations there are some excellent supporting cast. Alexandra Afryea is entertaining as the nurse Liza. Entertaining in the sense that she has the majority of the funny lines. She is quite amusing when given the opportunity. Those opportunities are fairly few and far between because, let’s face it, this is a modern day take on the gothic horror genre and it leans into that aesthetic hard. The guys who are providing the muscle do look as though central casting went through the file index cards and picked out all the ones with “thug” or “ruffian” on their resumes. But the shining star is, without doubt, Juliet Aubrey who manages to be the mad scientist and the caring wife with total ease.

Ultimately Frankenstein: Legacy is quite a clever take on an older story. It’s not a sequel as such and it’s not an adaptation like 10 Things I Hate About You or My Fair Lady which take their themes from Shakespeare or Shaw. It uses an aspect of a well known story which can be summed up in a few minutes because everyone knows the basic premise of Mary Shelley’s novel; it’s been around since 1st January 1818 and made into over two hundred films. Poor Things being nominated in eleven Oscar categories is proof that it is still a strong  story.

Frankenstein: Legacy gets a digital release on 4th March 2024.

Movie Grade: B

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