Books of Blood
The dead want their stories told. Three loosely connected storylines unfold in this horror anthology.
Spoiler Level: Medium
“In 1984, The Books of Blood were published … they shocked and frightened millions of people around the world … this film dares to open those pages again.” These are the opening words to Books Of Blood a loose adaptation of Clive Barker’s series of short stories collected under the same name. “There is a place where these horrors are transcribed by the dead, and they want their stories told.” And there is a place that these stories are written. This is how we begin our journey exploring the three loosely interconnected stories told in this anthology movie.
A bookseller closing for the night is chased by Bennett (Yul Vazquez), the muscle for a loan shark there to collect payment. To save his life the “Bookman” tells Bennett that he knows where there is a one of a kind book worth millions, but the ploy was unsuccessful. Bennett kills the man anyways, after getting the location of the book. Bennett and his partner begin their quest to find the “Book of Blood” .
The first story is titled “Jenna”. It is about a young girl who suffers from Misophonia, the intense hatred of sound. She particularly does not like chewing noises. After an unknown incident at college with a boy and a stay in a mental ward called “The Farm” she moves in with her suffocating mother and stepfather. Overhearing plans to send her back to “The Farm” after she stops taking her medication, she runs away, boarding a bus to Los Angeles. When she gets paranoid that someone is following her, she gets off the bus in a little town and finds a room at a lovely B&B with a retired couple as her host. She is joined by Gavin (Kenji Fitzgerald), another house guest who she begins to build a friendship with. Jenna then begins to see things and hear strange scratching noises. Did she leave one hell only to finder herself in another? Who is following her? And what danger is she in and by whom? or is it all in her imagination.
The second story title “Miles” is about Mary (Anna Friel, Pushing Daisies), a famous author and professor, who debunks psychic phenomenon in her books. She has recently lost her young son, Miles, to Leukemia when Simon (Rafi Gavron) a handsome medium claims he was sent to her by her dead son. Unbelieving, she sets out to test Simon and she begins to believe that he truly has been communing with the dead. Mary falls in love with Simon. She believes that this could change the world and sets up a foundation and begins looking for wealthy donors. But not everything is what it seems and soon Mary and Simon both find out what the dead really want! They want their stories told.
The third story takes us back to the opening and is titled “Bennett”. Bennett and his accomplice in crime, Steve, arrive in the dead town where they were told they could find the book. Steve begins to see things and runs into a church. Events unfold and Bennett, finally finds the book, but he is told that many have come searching for it, and none survive. Their stories are written in the book, as will his. Bennett runs but can he find safety or will his past catch up with him.
The second story, Miles, is the only one that exists in the original source material, the other two are creations of Brannon Braga and Clive Barker. The original idea was that Books Of Blood would be a TV series, and it might have worked slightly better as a series as opposed to a movie anthology. Overall the movie is well done. The acting is sufficient, and the direction is good with some great atmospheric moments. The scratching Jenna hears and the ghostly writing on the walls in blood that Simon produces are nicely done. The production value does seem like a high quality TV series instead of a full blown movie.
There are some issues as well. The interconnection between the stories has been done much cleverer in other anthology movies. The “Jenna” storyline took up most of the movie and seemed to drag on a bit, leaving little character exploration in the other two. I would have liked to have seen more development in the Miles scenes especially since this is the one story based off of the source material and it is this storyline that explains what the “Book of Blood” is, you know… the title of the movie.
The movie is enjoyable with a creepy atmosphere, but it tended to drag on a bit in places and didn’t explore characters where it should have. If this would have been the intended television series instead of a TV movie, it might have worked better.
Books of Blood
Writing - 7/107/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Acting - 9/109/10
Music - 9/109/10
Production - 8/108/10
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