Sherlock: The Abominable Bride

Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
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Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson find themselves in 1890s London in this holiday special.

Title:Sherlock: The Abominable Bride
Release Date:January 1, 2016
MPAA Rating:PG
Genres:Crime, Drama, Mystery
Production Co.:British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
Production Countries:United Kingdom
Director:Douglas Mackinnon
Casts:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Plot Keywords:bride, sherlock holmes
Alternative Titles:
  • The Abominable Bride - [GB]
  • A Noiva Abominável - [PT]
  • Шерлок: Огидна наречена - [UA]
  • Přízračná nevěsta - [CZ]

Sherlock: The Abominable Bride Reviews

  • Playing those mind games forever
    by jc-osms on 1 January 2016

    97 out of 137 people found the following review useful:

    The BBC has been trailing the return of three (okay, four) of its most popular detective heroes in a clever advertisement showing Stella Gibson from "The Fall", John Luther and Sherlock (and Dr Watson). "The Fall" re-starts next week although it is my least anticipated of the three, while "Luther's" comeback was very good but this dazzlingly brilliant episode was the best thing I've watched this Christmas.

    The writing really was terrific with a plot that had more ups and downs than a mountain range, more ins and outs than Hampton Court Maze and more twists and turns than a dozen corkscrews, in short it was a triumph. Starting with a Victorian-era impossible murder with an even more impossible murderer, guest appearances by all the previous supporting cast including a massively-bloated Mycroft, surely a homage to Sydney Greenstreet and the return of the master-criminal we've all missed, a premonition of another husband-slaying in a big old house after dark, a recreation of the real Reichenbach Fall climax of yore, an ingenious denouement anticipating female suffrage years later but perhaps the best thing of all was the promise of a new series to come.

    As ever, the technical aspects of the production were great, I'm a sucker for the multiple camera-angle, 360 degrees perspective, time-freezing, computer graphics and microscopic zoom shots employed. There was humour a-plenty and hosts of references to the Conan-Doyle original, including, if I'm not mistaken, the first time this Sherlock has ever said "Elementary my dear Watson".

    The playing by Cumberbatch, Freeman and Andrew Scott as the three main protagonists was never better. I'm sure there will be Sherlock-oligists who can pick apart the complexities of the plot, which for sure seemed at times like a read-across from Moffat and Gatiss's other re-creation Dr Who, but let them, they won't spoil it for me. This was the best "Sherlock" I've yet seen and sets an almost impossibly high standard for what may come after this.

    Doesn't matter if they don't however, this one was so good it really was the perfect after-Christmas present.

  • A brilliant, madcap Gothic adventure.
    by Paul Evans on 1 January 2016

    52 out of 78 people found the following review useful:

    Sherlock and Watson land in the late Nineteenth Century to solve the case of Emelia Ricoletti, a bride that killed herself, and then later manages to shoot her husband and bring about the death of Lord Carmichael. The duo must uncover how this devious crime was carried out.

    I must admit I have been hugely looking forward to this, possibly because I was keen to see how the altered setting would work. Series 3 had been somewhat of a disappointment, a little too self satisfied I suppose, so I'm glad they did something different to refresh it, it was certainly different.

    A few minor quibbles, a little contrived at times, and as is the nature of the show it did seem a little wrapped up in its own smuggness at times, but I was utterly enveloped in the story, it had me wrapped from start to finish. Beautiful cinematography, great direction, awesome production values. It managed to feel fresh and exhilarating once again.

    Cumberbatch was definitely on fine form, I loved the altered appearance, suited him, I noticed a few Jeremy Brettisms, not sure if anyone else did, maybe the hair and some of the body language. The scenes between Holmes and Moriarty once again were simply amazing, Andrew Scott is just unbelievable, he is such a charismatic performer.

    Crazy, fun, Gothic, energetic, waited a long time, and it was worth the wait. 9/10

  • I hated it...then I loved it!
    by jess-01645 on 3 January 2016

    51 out of 81 people found the following review useful:

    I did not fully get it the first time but when I watched it again, it all started making some sense to me. It may be difficult for those who are not devoted fans of this series to fully grasp the craziness of this episode, but once you open your eyes to the genius of the writers' intent on what they were trying to achieve here, I could not keep my eyes off the show and found myself watching it over and over again. If the writers of series simply made this an one-off episode to truly stick to the original storyline, then there would be numerous critical remarks about how the writers settled for the comfort of predictability and made the whole plot so ordinary and boring. Before shooting at the TV screen and calling it 'stupid', one may want to watch it one more time and there will be that "a-ha" moment!

  • Not at its best but just enough to remind us how brilliant the show is
    by Akhil on 6 January 2016

    25 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

    Almost the perfect episode until the last 20 minutes. They didn't have to make it so complicated. The story was great , the setting was perfect and the acting as always was impeccable. Not going to go on about the story but just lightly summarize the drawbacks and the SHERLOCK moments. The episode as it stands I feel didn't need to be connected to where we left in season 3. The story and the setting was good enough for it to be stand alone episode. Though I did enjoy the subtle scene references from the main Sherlock. More importantly the episode for god sake just needed have a good solid ending. I am sure most of the viewers would complain about how the makers tried too hard to pull off a "SHERLOCK" ending. It just needed to be enough to quench the beaming desire of the fans for another year as they wait to see their favorite detective on his adventures.

    What I did enjoy about the episode is as is the case with every sherlock episode is the dialogs. They take a moment to seep in and when they do: wow. The references to the main series are also enjoyable. For the first 1hr the episode hits the high standards it has set since its inception, but where it does falter is in the last 30 minutes where just needs to wrap it up in good solid way.

    No matter for that, Sherlock fans will definitely enjoy it. To sum up, the episode as Moriarty would say if he was to represent the whole series: MISS ME

  • Disappointing
    by ashleymarsh-88381 on 6 January 2016

    29 out of 46 people found the following review useful:

    I was really disappointed in this episode of the BBC series Sherlock Holmes. I am a fan of the series, and I love the quirky modern take to the traditional Sherlock Holmes.

    The Abdominable Bride was awful. The opening threw me completely off-kilter and didn't tie into the previous episode until about 20 minutes in. Then it proceeded to jump back and forth between modern Sherlock and Victorian Era Sherlock, which was incredibly painful.

    Further, it had so much "borrowed" and re-used content from the series I felt completely cheated. There were no new Sherlock moments to enjoy or appreciate, it was all rehashed content with a slight Victorian Era twist. Really really frustrating.

    I would also argue that there was no new depth or character added to anyone until perhaps the last 5 minutes, and even then I question whether this will even truly matter for future episodes. I question whether this will be like the first episode of Star Wars. No need to watch it to understand anything going forward.

  • A spoiler-free review of the "Sherlock" Christmas special (2016).
    by ericrnolan on 2 January 2016

    20 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

    What can I say about the "Sherlock" Christmas special, "The Abominable Bride?" Extremely little, for fear of spoilers.

    I will say that I loved it — I'd rate it a perfect 10, as I would just about any episode of this amazing TV show. Also, as good as the trailer was … I can say that it offers much more in its story than you'd expect.

    I'd also say that it strongly, strongly parallels a movie that I happen to love — right down to its surprise plot device, key character interactions, and a symbolic act by the main protagonist in the climactic scene. The similarities are just too much for this to be a coincidence — it's just got to be a well done (and a damn fun) homage. It's unexpected, too, as the film I'm thinking off probably appeals to a different fan base. "The Abominable Bride" also cheerfully skewers another excellent recent film and the twist employed there.

    There's some terrific acting, especially between Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and our main villain. And the dialogue is as sly and superbly delivered as always. I don't think I've ever watched a new episode of "Sherlock" and not laughed out loud at least once. The stronger, more assertive John Watson (Martin Freeman) that we see is damn terrific. (There's a compelling and sensible reason why this iteration of Watson seems a little different than our usual mild anti-hero, but I just can't say why.)

    My quibbles were wholly forgivable. I thought that the Victorian versions of Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey) and Mycroft Holmes (Mark Gatiss) were just so cartoonish that they seemed right out of a "Saturday Night Live" sketch. It "took me out of the movie," and hampered my willing suspension of disbelief. It felt more like farce and silly sight-gags, instead of the dry, dialogue- and character-driven humor that the show is known for.

    I also though that the climactic scene occurring among three primary characters, felt a little … off. Was it just not staged right? Was the pacing off? Maybe I got the sense that I was looking at a soundstage? I'm not sure.

    Finally, I am an inveterate horror movie fan, and I might have liked to have seen the director and screenwriters play up the horror story elements just a little bit more here. The mystery for this episode was a jewel of an opportunity — a garish, fearsome "ghost bride" that assassinates men. It could have been just a little scarier, given that story. I know that "Sherlock" is not a horror show, but its creators did just fine in making their adaptation of "The Hound of the Baskervilles" both a bit frightening and a proper mystery.

    But, again, those are just forgivable quibbles. This show remains the best thing on television!

  • Inception-esque Murder Mystery with a Few Twists!
    by tlfirth on 1 January 2016

    32 out of 56 people found the following review useful:

    We were promised something entirely different, and that's what filled our television screens tonight. A fast-paced, highly complex thread of events that all culminate to one simple conclusion - Moriarty is most certainly dead, but he will strike again. This episode has Moffat's fingerprints all over it.

    Firstly, the setup is great, paralleling itself with modern Sherlock to great lengths, almost playing out as a recap for us all to catch up on the story and reinforce our knowledge. But this soon changes into an entirely new case where the main feature is bride who's returned from the dead. Some parts of this are genuinely scary, especially scenes in the mansion where everything seems to make a sharp turn into the unimaginable. The final conclusion is that these murders were orchestrated by a group of women hell bent on making a stand for their rights. It's never clear whether this is the absolute finality of the case, despite solving all the possible alternatives for a ghostly bride - but it's great to see many of the familiar faces in their ranks.

    This entire storyline, however, is concocted by none other than Sherlock himself, in his mind palace, soon after his phone call with Mycroft on the plane. Cleverly, the writers have decided to metaphorically allow Sherlock to determine whether or not Moriarty's death was elementary or not, concluding that an alternative is most definitely impossible. But, as shown, Moriarty will always live on in Sherlock's mind, constantly challenging him to verbal duels. Such as the one on side of the Reichenbach Fall - a nostalgic nod to Arthur Conan Doyle's original depiction.

    What's most pleasurable about the episode is its concentration on character development and how Watson is perceived in Sherlock's mind. He understands the doctor's distress at times, and even goes to the point of confessing (albeit privately) that he believes John knows things that he does not. Nevertheless, it's also amusing to see him envision his brother in such a deplorable manner - having seen him in a previous episode trying to combat his weight on a running machine.

    The only downfall of the episode, similar to Moffat's Last Christmas for Doctor Who, is that all we gain in progressive storytelling is the knowledge that Moriarty is dead, and that's pretty much the whole of it. But, I'm inclined to like this for its complex way of telling us so, by accessing Sherlock's mind palace and giving us a whole new (old-fashioned) adventure - even it is all considered null and void.

    The final question is, however, what is real and what is not? Could Series 3 in its entirety have been a long game played inside Sherlock's mind. If so, Moffat has a lot to answer for.

  • Tried to do too much!!
    by Tom Green on 3 January 2016

    34 out of 60 people found the following review useful:

    This episode attempts to cram too many story lines in over the top of each other. In the end we ended up with an hour and a half of disjointed television that told us absolutely nothing. I think there was a basis for a very good episode in there however it was just over-complicated and had a lot of unnecessary scenes thrown in probably to pad the episode out to the 90 minute mark, not to mention the disappointment that we are still in exactly the same place at the end of this episode than we were at the end of last season.

    Was probably the most anticipated TV over the Christmas period for myself and was thoroughly disappointed with what was produced. Hope that they will get back to their usual high quality of writing for the upcoming season.

  • Elementary it wasn't
    by alex (doorsscorpywag) on 3 January 2016

    25 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

    Sherlock the series has been brilliant so far. The two leads have been outstanding and the supporting cast has been extraordinarily good. This New Year special was too clever for it's own good and was nothing more than typical Moffat smoke and mirrors mess that went nowhere to end up somewhere that did not matter and state the obvious.

    We wondered why we were in Victorian times investigating the mystery of how the Bride could rise from the dead after shooting herself through the head. And the answer was Sherlock who is obviously half Vulcan had retreated into the past in his mind to solve the mystery as to how Moriarty had returned.

    How could he still be alive and the answer was simple. He had fired another invisible gun at the floor whilst holding a gun to his head and a coven of hooded women had replaced his 'body' with that of a dead lookalike. All as Sherlock stood there and watched.

    But of course that could not have happened so what was the point of Sherlock solving a period mystery that had nothing to do with his modern one?

    After solving the Bride mystery and digging up her modern grave Sherlock had an imaginary conversation with Moriarty at the famous Falls and then Watson, who had appeared out of nowhere, pushed him to his 'death'.

    There were elements of the period story that were good but as soon as it was revealed why we were there all that was forgotten. In the end Sherlock stated that Moriarty was indeed dead but he now knew what his next move was. As with Dr Who a pointless far too clever story that did not work and will hopefully be forgotten soon enough when the new series begins.

    Like Elementary I really enjoy Sherlock. Both series are smart and refreshingly original whilst using elements of the Conan Doyle stories. The whole point of Sherlock is it's a 21st century twist on the tales. The 19th century jaunt did not work at all and was both awful and pointless. Even though it began well and was superbly acted it soon nose dived into a well of mind boggling crap, which was not as clever as it thought, that hopefully we will not ever see again.

  • Most people will think they are wasting their time watching this
    by Graham Cox on 3 January 2016

    33 out of 59 people found the following review useful:

    Just short of awful because the first part of the story set in Victorian times was OK although even that was damaged by a crudely rude lines for Sherlock Holmes out of character for the times .

    The mix f and bouncing between the characters now and in Victorian times was just absurd and made maddening by the mixing of it with the effects of drugs.

    Frankly anyone taking so much in the ways of drugs could not perform the mental feats of Sherlock Holmes or sort reality from non.

    The Moriarty fantasy in his head were pointless.

    A Klu Kux Klan of suffragettes who murdered men was wrong on every level and misogynistic .

    They tricked us by using the same face for every bride murderer despite the fact that they were supposed to be women taking it in turn and we could see later on that they had very different faces.

    The writers are clearly desperate to write a horror movie but presumably know there is less money in it.

    They are like jazz musicians. They take an existing form and extemporise to destruction.

    I will not watch the forthcoming series if they are writing it .

    The BBC has made a big mistake . I would guess 25% at least turned off before the finish as we did.

    Very wrong for Christmas.

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