There is more pathology and suspense in an episode of “Blue’s Clues” than in the contrived “From Hell.” The new Hughes brothers film investigates the identity of Jack the Ripper and proposes a conspiracy theory of ridiculous intricacy rivaled only by a construction from the paranoid mind of Oliver Stone.

This murder mystery/thriller opens with a shot of the coal-smoke-induced tangerine sunset over 1888’s London. Breathtaking pollution is the highlight of the film. Art direction and lighting create that eerie turn-of-the-century feel and set the seedy stage for a film with an Irish whore as its central character. Based loosely on the murders of several London prostitutes, but with a discombobulated plot and pancake-flat characters, “From Hell” is little more than a confusing series of darkly lit dead ends thrown together like an extended Nine Inch Nails’ video starring Johnny Depp.

Depp plays Inspector Fred Abberline, a (supposedly) brilliant detective in pursuit of the infamous serial killer, who – with a serious lack of development – falls in love with Mary Kelly (Heather Graham), the Irish prostitute who may possibly help him solve the murders. A Sherlock Holmes knock off, Abberline is an opiate-addicted loner, always at loggerheads with the nearsighted beat cops and toting a dimwitted Watson-esque sidekick who – like any good Brit – continually quotes Shakespeare for that veneer of sophistication.

In drug-induced visions, the inspector can see the crimes before they occur. But there is little methodology involved in the process of detection, removing the one reason any fan of mystery would want to see the film. Nor is there any common sense in Abberline’s moves. He never thinks to give a profile of the killer to the prostitutes so obviously being targeted, and they go down, one by one, like lambs to the slaughter. In the stead of rationale, “From Hell” provides, in gruesome detail, sequences of the murders as they occur.

Although she cannot speak her lines without the strange Irish/cockney mix rapidly decaying into a Los Angeles valley accent, Heather Graham has, well, nice tits. An upshot of costuming, her low-cut corsetted bosom helps to distract the audience from the way she murders the art of acting. Her streetwalker companions are depicted as they should be, with pasty complexions, syphilitic sores and ragged clothing. However, Graham, of course, is always well lit and impeccably clean. Evidently her character has saved her quid from going down on drunken sailors for trips to the day spa. She should have saved it for a speech coach. The general consensus is that she was tailored for whoring, but more appropriately as the nymphet Roller Girl in “Boogie Nights,” where she needs little more than a pair of alien-sized doe eyes and the ability to speak the line, “Are we going to fuck now?”

The film proposes that there is a method to Jack the Ripper’s madness and goes so far as to outline a broad conspiracy reaching all the way to the British monarchy. Hmmm, I remember reading a similar theory in a recent edition of the Weekly World News, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the producers courted those tabloid reporters to write the farcical script.

A period piece about one of the world’s most notorious criminals and an unsolved crime, the story of Jack the Ripper is perfect Hollywood fodder. Unfortunately, that translates into a tragically lowbrow film that banks upon the youth culture’s appetite for blood, guts and perky breasts while throwing reason out the window.