Book Of Blood

Director: John Harrison (2009)
Starring: Sophie Ward, Jonas Armstrong, Simon Bamford
Find it online: IMDB, Amazon

I've read Clive Barker's Books Of Blood (most of them) and I don't recall Robin Hood being in any of the stories. While you might think that Barker's collection of short stories might make for a fine portmanteau, there's only one story at play here: and that's the one that served as kicking off point in Barker's original. Nevertheless, I read the word 'erotic' on the back of the DVD case and that's the only incentive I needed. True fact: I will buy or rent any movie with the word 'erotic' in the title or on the back of the cover. This has led to me watching a lot of shit over the years. Terrible admission time: this has also led to me owning a copy of Bound. Ahem. Book Of Blood isn't all that erotic, although there is sex and Jonas Armstrong getting naked.

A paranormal expert (Ward) discovers a house that is supposedly at an intersection of "highways" transporting spirits into the afterlife. Instead of calling Derek Acorah like any sane person would, she instead enlists the help out of a slightly psychic student lad (Armstrong) and a sleazy sceptic cameraman. Despite feeling like a Paranormal Activity spinoff, Book Of Blood has enough going on to disguise its occasional faults.

Jonas had been taking fashion advice from Jim Carrey again

Because alas, like most short stories converted to feature length, it feels less like a movie than a prequel to something more important. Maybe if one was to follow this with a viewing of Dread and Midnight Meat Train it might be a little more effective. And alas, I'm too familiar with Jonas Armstrong from off'a British TV to be convinced by his performance.

Clive Barker's influence is the movie's saving grace, transforming a lesser piece into something marginally creepier than it should have been. The concept itself is a great one - infused with bits of everything that makes Barker so readable - and there are a few moments that send genuine chills down the spine, but Book Of Blood ultimately feels like a billion other STD haunted house stories. It should have been shorter and sleazier and had a little more Bark (ho ho ho), although when taken on its own terms, this is a perfectly serviceable bit of spook horror.

1 comment:

  1. YAY! I agree that Barker was the saving grace for this film. Honestly, I wouldn't have rented it if it weren't for his name on the cover. The haunted house portion was pretty good but nothing to original however the skin carving horror show was obviously the driving force of Book of Blood.
    - Cory