BOOKS OF BLOOD, a Hulu Original Movie that released a couple of days ago, is just generic and bland horror, plain and simple. There are a couple of good yet cheap jump scares and a couple of neat bloody visual shots, but for the most part it is all uninteresting, schlocky cheap, not frightening, and the intertwining of the three stories near the end left a lot to be desired. IMDB describes the movie with the following: “A journey into uncharted and forbidden territory through three tales tangled in space and time. Based on the Books of Blood, a series of horror fiction collections written by the British author Clive Barker, Books of Blood adapts Clive Barker’s framing device story from his novels but also includes brand new stories written for this film that Barker was involved in creating.” In essence, this is a sequel to the much superior film Book of Blood (they went with just an S here, like Aliens did), released in 2009, but more of a reboot/remake as the main story that binds the other two together is the same from the 11 year old film, just rewritten with different story elements and plot twists. Other than a couple of good scares and some neat bloody visuals. the only other compliment I could give it is that it has two decent performances from Britt Robertson and Anna Friel. Other than that, if Clive Barker did help coming up with these brand new stories, which is kind of confusing because the screenplay is credited by two others, then he is truly out of his game, and hasn’t been relevant since his decent novels, stories, and filmography of the mid 80s to early 90s.
I’m just going to list a one sentence little log line in my own words for each story:
- The first story involves a professional killer whose latest assignment clues him in on a priceless book, called The Book of Blood, that may allow him and his wife to permanently retire.
- The second story involves Jenna, a depressed and hypersensitive girl who suffers from ‘misphonia’ (an abhorrence of sound), and as she learns her mother is about to send her back to the psyche ward, she steals her cash and sets out for Los Angeles and may or may not end up at the BnB from hell.
- The last story involves Mary, a psychologist who has gained fame as a skeptic that debunks all theories or beliefs that are not solely scientifically based after she lost her 7-year-old son to leukemia and then met Simon, a potential medium.
The way the stories are linked together before the end credits and the content in them individually are anemic and clumsy. Frustrating too because all the stories show potential but they back off before that potential is fully realized. There are not any likable characters among them all. The best story of the three is the 2nd one which stares Britt Robertson. Even though all the characters are a bit flat, her performance, and along with Anna Friel, who plays Mary in the third story I mentioned, clearly showed that they tried with what they were poorly given. The stories don’t “tangle” organically, as you can tell that a couple of threads were thought up of last minute to try and make the viewer exclaim, “oh so that’s what that was!” I’d like to think that people are smarter than that and also answered with, “Nah, we ain’t buyin’ it.” One of the teleplay writers hasn’t done much, wrote the mediocre The Haunting In Connecticut, and wrote the abysmal Carnosaur and Snoop Dogg’s 2001 horror film, Bones, so with Adam Simon, you get what you pay for. However, the other teleplay writer, Brannon Braga (who also directed), should know better, as he has written some great episodes of television, such as 24, The Orville, Cosmos, and Star Trek: The Next Generation. It doesn’t even seem to be as if he’s trying here. The only thing this movie made me want to do is go out and search for Clive Barker’s 6 ‘Books of Blood’ that were published in 1984 and 1985 and read those. I bet they would make for a great Halloween treat. This ‘book’ I threw after slamming down the back cover in angry angst, hoping that I could draw blood from it.