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Burke and Hare (2011)


Average Rating: 4.8/10
Reviews Counted: 55
Fresh: 18
Rotten: 37

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Average Rating: 5.2/10
Reviews Counted: 13
Fresh: 4
Rotten: 9

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.


Average Rating: 3/5
User Ratings: 14,895



Movie Info

From John Landis, the director of Animal House and The Blues Brothers, Burke & Hare is adark comedy/thriller staring Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Curry and Isla Fisher as the unfortunate denizens of 19th century Edinburgh, a setting rife with murder, theft, prostitution, corpse snatching, experimental medicine, and of course Shakespeare. -- (C) IFC Films

R (for some sexual content, disturbing images and language)
Art House & International , Mystery & Suspense , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Ernie Bradford , Piers Ashworth , Nick Moorcroft
In Theaters:
Dec 20, 2011
Box Office:
IFC Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Burke and Hare

All Critics (57) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (37) | DVD (1)

Rarely has the ratio of quality talent to dismal returns been as high as in "Burke & Hare,'' a macabre British period piece that's nowhere near as funny as it thinks.

Full Review… | December 1, 2011
Boston Globe
Top Critic

"Burke and Hare" is a waste of a good cast and a better story, as well as a hollow reminder of how John Landis seemingly has lost his touch.

Full Review… | October 27, 2011
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

A droll take on one of the most notorious mass-murder cases of the 19th century.

Full Review… | September 9, 2011
New York Times
Top Critic

It's just scene after scene of two obnoxious people killing various other obnoxious people.

Full Review… | September 9, 2011
Newark Star-Ledger
Top Critic

All of the actors are enjoying themselves, and the movie is stuffed with history, atmosphere and vivid characters. What's in short supply, though, is laughter.

Full Review… | September 9, 2011
New York Post
Top Critic

To call it a black comedy is probably misleading: It's grey at best, and apart from a few scattered chuckles, it dies as quickly and gracelessly as Burke and Hare's victims.

Full Review… | September 8, 2011
Top Critic

Burke And Hare is a damning return for Ealing. It's self conscious and off putting cameos ruin the film. Full of misjudged humour, mixing immature humour with overly mature gore makes this one not funny in the slightest.

Full Review… | November 9, 2013
We Got This Covered

Landis is too out of practice. I'm not sure 1981 Landis would have nailed it, but I know 2011 Landis doesn't.

Full Review… | June 22, 2013

A misfire to be sure, Burke & Hare's comedic timing feels one step off, resulting in a film with solid performances and an amusing story, but not many laughs and not much replay value.

Full Review… | January 29, 2012

Not a first-ranked film, but for fans of horror or even just comedy, BURKE AND HARE is will worth seeing.

Full Review… | December 19, 2011
Mark Leeper's Reviews

'Burke & Hare', it's all a bit Monty Python without enough Monty or Python.

Full Review… | December 2, 2011
Boston Herald

Landis, the master comic talent behind Animal House and An American Werewolf in London, falters with this rusty comeback, his first feature since 1998.

Full Review… | November 29, 2011
Boston Phoenix

...simply too mild - it's neither very scary nor very funny. It's not great.

Full Review… | November 25, 2011
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Expectations can be a bad thing for movies, and Burke And Hare is a good example of this.

Full Review… | September 15, 2011
The Standard

A mildly funny dark comedy with iconic British wit and tongue-in-cheek humor.

Full Review… | September 9, 2011
NYC Movie Guru

John Landis returns with a macabre spoof of Enlightenment Scotland, starring Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis as entrepreneurial serial killers furthering the cause of science...and the arts.

Full Review… | September 9, 2011
Film Journal International

The actors give the whole thing a sense of genial goodwill, but that's not exactly what you want out of a movie about two craven murderers.

Full Review… | September 8, 2011

Flat-footed, tone-deaf and finally cynical, Burke & Hare won't be sending viewers out on a comic high so much as on a wearisome low.

Full Review… | September 7, 2011

Audience Reviews for Burke and Hare


Odd, funny little movie...

Cynthia S.

Super Reviewer



It's supposedly a horror comedy according to the marketing strategy it used. Question is was it scary? No. Was it funny? Sometimes. The fact is it's been panned since release but it's not an entirely bad movie. John Landis who brought us An American Werwolf in London; a hilarious and original horror comedy has the perfect cast at his disposal. But they were far too restrained by the flimsy script to make full use of their comedic talent. When you have Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis and Ronnie Corbet you have to provide them with the best material and often this film doesn't deliver. There's a lot worse out there, it isn't Shaun of the Dead but Burke and Hare gives off frequent chuckles and a couple good laughs but not enough ultimately to sustain it's running time. It's fair at best.

Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Yes, there is a fair bit of comedy thrown into the mix along with some prestigious actors and actresses, for a grim-ish yet relaxing saturday afternoon flick.

Scott Green

Super Reviewer


Cast: Simon Pegg, Andy Serkis, Isla Fisher, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Curry, Ronnie Corbett, Hugh Bonneville, David Schofield, Allan Corduner

Director: John Landis

Summary: Director John Landis rolls out his first feature film in more than a decade with this black comedy based on the true exploits of two 19th-century body snatchers, played by Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis. When Burke and Hare's successful business -- selling corpses to the Edinburgh Medical College for dissection -- is hampered by a supply shortage, the men are forced to take drastic measures.

My Thoughts: "The film had a lot of potential but it fell flat. The acting was on point, the concept was interesting, but it still felt long and boring. I expected much more for this film with the cast it has. It lacked the humor I was hoping for. You will get a laugh or two, but nothing like I'm use to seeing with a Simon Pegg film. Although I did find Jessica Hynes to be best part of the film. She was the one who brought the laughs. Unfortunately this movie just ended up being dull and not worth the hour and half."


Super Reviewer

Burke and Hare Quotes

William Hare:
A man's going to die from the moment he leaves his mother's womb. Their fate's already been determined.All we'd be doing is helping them along a bit.
– Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
Helen McDougal:
And what do you do?
I'm in surgical supplies.
– Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
Doctor Monroe:
And how are your students enjoying your lectures?
Doctor Knox:
Not as much as they are enjoying your wife, sir!
– Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
Now when the demand for a certain commodity exceeds the supply, it creates a business opportunity just waiting for the right kind of clever entrepreneurs to step in.
– Submitted by Frances H (21 months ago)
I had confidence in a fart once, and I shat all over myself.
– Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
We no money to speak of, no plan.
– Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

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