Here is a fascinating re-working of the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story from the point of view of the scientist's young Irish housemaid. This vulnerable soul was tormented by an alcoholic father who once locked her in a closet with a bag of rats. Mary's feeling of safety in the doctor's home soon vanishes when Jekyll takes on the savage and unsettling Hyde as his assistant.

Stephen Frears directs this reworking of Stevenson's macabre tale as a blend of horror, costume drama, and psychological thriller. Julia Roberts plays Mary Reilly as a timid woman trapped in her terrible inner world. John Malkovitch hints at the struggle between good and evil in his portrait of Jekyll and Hyde. The screenplay by Christopher Hampton nibbles at the edges of the theme of sexual repression and its perils.