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Thursday, October 15, 2020

Review: Books of Blood

Director: Brannon Braga

Screenplay: Adam Simon and Brannon Braga

Year: 2020

Every digital platform has been adding its offering of horror movies for the month of October. In this effort, Hulu offers a new original movie based on the works of the famous writer Clive Barker. "Books of Blood" is a series of short stories collections from the mind of Barker, from where movies like "The Midnight Meat Train", "Book of Blood (2009)", "Rawhead Rex" and "Nightbreed" have come from, and now "Books of Blood (2020)" joins the ranks.

"Books of Blood" is an anthology based on the self-titled series of horror books by Clive Barker. Three stories round the anthology, all intertwined in space and time.

How the anthology is structured is with two full stories, and a third divided as the beginning and end of the movie and acts as a conducting line among them. Although one of the stories aims to give some cohesion to the anthology, it does a poor job of it, and is unavoidable to think that this was previously thought of as a series and not a movie. The stories feel like they are independent episodes that hold no relationship to one another.

In the first story, which is split into two parts at the beginning and end of the movie, we follow two gangsters that are looking for the book of blood and is the one that feels the furthest from Barker's works and the weakest of the three. It is interesting how they tried to blend the stories, but this was certainly not the best one for it.

The second story follows Jenna (Britt Robertson; “Tomorrowland”), a troubled young lady dealing with personal issues and psychological illnesses. After running away from home, she stays at the house of a welcoming couple that is not what they seem. This is the longest story by far but is interesting and with a surprising and macabre ending, in the vein of the style that characterizes Barker. 

The third story is extracted straight out of Clive Barker’s writings and is the story that gives the name Books of Blood to the short story collection. In it, a psychologist evaluates a young man that claims he can communicate with the dead and has a message from her recently deceased son. However, this is all a fraud, but playing with the dead has a price: being forced to tell their stories. 

The acting and the cinematography are decent, the CGI awful, and it could have had more gore, but “Books of Blood” is a good horror movie. Although the story has more of a slow-burn style rather than pure horror, they are fateful to the style that characterizes Clive Barker and is entertaining. I hope that this movie spawns a sequel or the series it deserves, and if it follows this one’s steps, it has the potential to be great.

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