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Before Tom Cruise battled it out with Universal's latest Mummy, James McAvoy was Victor Frankenstein in this 2015 Frankenstein reboot. The film was a flop and another failed attempt at building some kind of new monster movie franchise or universe.

Daniel Radcliffe plays a hunchbacked circus clown (need I say more?) who suddenly develops a passion for medicine (don't ask) and becomes mad genius Victor Frankenstein's colleague under the name Igor. They first attempt to make a living being out of various dead animal parts then move on to bigger, and more familiar endeavours. There's something consistently unclear about this movie: is it a prequel to the original classic or is it a prequel to a reboot Frankenstein movie that doesn't and will never exist? Of course it's the latter but the film's early claims that we all know Frankenstein's story along with various references to the iconic original constantly clash with the new interpretation of these events and, by the end, none of it gels particularly well. James McAvoy's Victor Frankenstein is manic and unhinged from the get-go, Igor stands upright for most of the film and we're shown an early attempt at creating the Monster despite the fact that none of that happens in the 1931 film.

These inconsistencies build up to a flashy yet needlessly convoluted ending that really doesn't make much sense when you realise that Frankenstein and Igor didn't even think of giving their first creation a brain even though... he clearly had a brain. Also, the idea that they will one day try to perfect this experiment is ludicrous as the whole point of this initial test's failure is that Frankenstein realised it was an inherently bad idea. Furthermore, the romantic subplot could have easily been excised as it doesn't lead to anything all that interesting even if it admittedly helps give some depth to Igor's character. Despite all that, believe it or not, Victor Frankenstein is actually a decent monster movie: McAvoy and Radcliffe are both excellent with the latter surprisingly effective in a nutty, against-type role, the cinematography is stylish and appealingly gothic, the mood throughout is appropriately gloomy and the whole thing leaves you curious to see more films set in that universe.

Ultimately, Victor Frankenstein is an entertaining, good-looking old-fashioned horror movie in the vein of Hammer's 70's output. There's a really cool reboot in there somewhere, it's just a shame that the script loses its grip by the third act and is never clear about what it wants this movie to be.

Messy but fun.

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