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Book of Blood More at IMDbPro »

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22 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

The dead have stories to tell...

Author: chrismsawin from United States
24 September 2009

I'm a fairly big fan of Clive Barker's work. I've loved the books and stories (Books of Blood Vol. 1-3, Mister B. Gone, The Hellbound Heart) of his that I've read and several of his films (Hellraiser, Midnight Meat Train) are some of the best the horror genre has to offer. Midnight Meat Train was probably the best horror film to come out of last year, so my expectations were high when I heard about this film and saw the trailer. This was one of my most anticipated horror films of the year even though it seemed to get the short end of the stick with its release much like what happened with Midnight Meat Train. I can tell you that Book of Blood is a good watch, but it may not be what you're expecting.

Book of Blood has its bloody moments, but it's not an all out gorefest. It's actually more of a supernatural thriller. The director, John Harrison, described the film as being more along the lines of films like The Others and The Orphanage. It relies more on mood and atmosphere rather than blood and guts splattering all over your face, which isn't a bad thing at all if done correctly. Book of Blood almost pulls that aspect of the film flawlessly. I say, "almost," because certain lines of dialogue ("I promise we will listen and I will tell your stories to the world.") and a few of the things that happened in the final act of the film (steel'll make sense when you see it) seem a bit cheesy, but may sit better with me on repeat viewings.

The film actually reminded me of Hellraiser quite a bit throughout the film. Other than Doug Bradley's brief cameo (if you blink, you'll probably miss him), the opening scene of when Reg and Mary go into the room where everything happened just reminds me of Frank staying in the attic in Hellraiser. Hellraiser is one of my favorite horror films, so the brief nod to the film (whether intentional or not) was very welcome to me.

My main concern with Book of Blood was how they were going to turn a short story that was originally just an introduction to the actual Books of Blood by Clive Barker into a full length film. The concern wound up being for nothing as Book of Blood met nearly all of my expectations and was extremely faithful to the original material while bringing in elements from another one of his stories called, "On Jerusalem Street." The story fleshes out nicely and the acting is good, for the most part. I think the perfectionist in me kept me from rating this any higher, but I'd definitely recommend it as it's a worthy addition to any avid horror movie enthusiast's collection.

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26 out of 36 people found the following review useful:


Author: kosmasp
16 July 2009

Actually I do like the theme of story. And it has a pretty good ending. The problem is, what lies before that and how the story is treated. While I haven't read the source material (book by Clive Barker), I'm sure it is a far better and more complex story to be found there, which didn't translate to the screen.

Apart from the pacing and a story twist that will leave with a bad feeling (again, I don't know if it's the same in the novel), what really gets to you, is the fact, that the actors are pretty dull. I'm not saying bad, just dull. It's exactly about sympathizing with them, but they leave you more than cold (no pun intended). Which might work for other movies, but not here. Still there are a few scares, it's quite nicely shot and the aforementioned ending ... other than that? Not much!

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21 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Everything you expect from Clive Barker

Author: Michael-d-duncan from United States
5 October 2009

I was so hesitant to watch this movie, all the reviews that I had read were so negative, ranging from pointless to convoluted and boring. But this movie was great, it was suspenseful and interesting. The story was complex and original and very gripping.

Gore was as needed but not excessive. The sex was as it is in most horror movies... pointless and unneeded. Acting was very good, sometimes a bit wooden but it never gets to a point where you can't believe the story.

If you are a fan of Hell-raiser (the first couple of them anyway), see this movie, the same suspense and fear pervades this film. If you liked Candy Man, watch this movie. It is every bit as original and scary as Clive's reputation would demand. Miles ahead of the boorish, predictable trappings of the competition.

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25 out of 39 people found the following review useful:

Listening to the Dead

Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
23 April 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A stranger with a sick skin full of scars is abducted by a man that was hired by a collector to peel his skin. The stranger tells the story of the PhD college professor and writer Mary Florescu (Sophie Ward), who investigates paranormal phenomena with her technical assistant Reg Fuller (Paul Blair). When the newcomer student Simon McNeal (Jonas Armstrong) attends her class, she recognizes him as a clairvoyant boy that was a sensation in the media years ago when he foresaw the death of his older brother in a car accident. Mary invites Simon to team up with Reg and her in the investigation of the Tollington House, a creepy house where a teenager was slayed a couple of years ago, since she believes that Simon would be capable to "open" the house to communicate with the spirits. When the souls apparently write "Don't mock us" and other advices on the wall; cause interference in Reg's equipment; and beat Simon, Mary believes she has succeed in collecting evidences of the afterlife. However, she finds first that everything is a fraud; but later she realizes that the dead have highways and the Tollington House is located at the intersection between worlds. Further the dead want someone to listen to them and tell the world through a book of blood.

Tales of haunted house seemed to be an exhausted theme for horror movies; however, Clive Barker reinvents the terror of this theme in "Book of Blood". The intriguing screenplay is very well developed in a slow pace, supported by a great direction and performances, using a bleak cinematography and good special effects. This movie is underrated in IMDb with the User Rating of 5.2 (39 votes only) and deserves to be discovered by fans of genuine horror movie. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Livro de Sangue" ("Book of Blood")

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Horror Clive Barker Style that almost gets ruined by the lack of a real story

Author: chrichtonsworld from Netherlands
20 May 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Book of Blood" contains several trademarks of Clive Barker's earlier work. So be prepared to expect some gruesome special effects. Only this time it is dumbed down considerably especially when you compare it to "Hellraiser" or "Candyman". The buildup of tension can be compared to the style he used in the (very excellent) video game "Undying". In which the atmosphere is key for providing the scary moments. The biggest problem however with this movie is the story. That is to say that there isn't much of a story. The little story that does get presented to the viewer doesn't go anywhere and only gets confusing in the end. (Small Spoiler!!!) There was a perfect opportunity to use Doug Bradley since his character seems to be the cause of the events that played out. But he only is in it for 1 minute or so which is clearly not enough to make the same impact as he did with the Pinhead character. In the ending all the viewer is left with the feeling that he/she could have skipped this movie. This is a big shame since "Book of Blood" had a lot of potential into creating a new horror icon.If you can overlook the slow pace and the lack of story then you can enjoy this movie since it is full of suspense,scary moments and even some pretty erotic scenes.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Writing Can Be Hazardous To Your Health, Part 3

Author: (Vomitron_G) from the Doomed Megalopolis of Blasphemous Technoids
23 November 2011

This film pleasantly surprised me. Recent Clive Barker adaptations haven't really been masterpieces (though thankfully there always has been enough talent involved to make them interesting, at least). "The Plague" (2006) just wasn't much to write home about. "The Midnight Meat Train" (2008) was better, but it basically just tried to blow your socks off with extreme violence & bloodshed. And now, "Book of Blood" might just be the finest recent adaptation so far. It relies more on mood & atmosphere and all this is handled well. A duo of paranormal investigators - Mary Florescu (Sophie Ward), the professor & Reg Fuller (Paul Blair), the technician - moves into a reputed haunted house. Mary invites student Simon McNeal (Jonas Armstrong) to come along, for she believes him to have psychic abilities that might tap into the house's paranormal activities. But distrust soon rises between the threesome as they try to determine what's real and what's not in this house of hauntings.

Granted, the story remains pretty thin throughout the film, but director John Harrison takes this as an opportunity to not only create an eerie mood and build tension, but also to work on the main characters. There's a disturbing sexual tension growing between mentor Mary & student Simon which escalates in some keen exposure of betrayal. Actress Sophie Ward is an awesome woman and left a great impression on me with her toned-down performance. Both the pro- & epilogue make the movie a bit oddly structured, but it helped to flesh out the story a bit (pardon the pun). The film oozes with that sort of old school British Gothic vibe, but it's much darker portrayed than usual, adding a great deal of atmosphere to the picture. It's a rather little film, don't expect to be blown away, but it's a well-made effort and a clean adaptation carrying on the spirit of Clive Barker's work splendidly. I have yet to see his other recent outing, "Dread" (2009), but I've heard decent things about it already.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Great Acting and Directing, But a Bland Story

Author: gavin6942 from United States
25 August 2010

A young man, captured for his unique skin, is about to be flayed by a bounty hunter. But first, he tells his story of how his skin got the way it is: torn to shreds and covered in unique markings. He is, literally, a book of blood.

This is a work of Clive Barker's, originally two of his short stories combined together. The Barker themes are evident: like "Hellraiser", the dead have a gateway to this world through the flesh and blood of the living. And that gateway is connected to a certain place in space (in both cases, an upstairs room of a house). Even Simon Bamford of "Nightbreed" and "Hellraiser" shows up to continue his ubiquitous run in Barker films.

John Harrison directs this film beautifully. Between him and the cinematographer, they make a gorgeous film with a perfect setting and mood. It's delightfully haunting, and the gore effects are enjoyable (there is a face-ripping scene that stands out as one of the film's highlights). While I enjoy Harrison's "Tales From the Darkside" better, I think this better showcases his artistic abilities.

The problem with "Book of Blood" is an issue not unique to this film: it is adapted from a short story, and to stretch a short story into a full, feature film just does not always work. Some of this film is strong, but other parts just drag or seem extraneous. It could have been shortened to an hour and would have been a superior film, most likely. Chicago critics Jon Kitley and Aaron Christensen suggested that it could have been an anthology, mixed with Barker's "Dread" and "Midnight Meat Train". This is a fine suggestion... but too late now, giving us three average films rather than one superior film.

Horror Society rightly concludes that "this movie wasn't a disappointment", as it was no worse than I expected when taking my seat in the theater. Though, to be honest, my expectations were not overly high -- I had only the barest interest in this film and had heard nothing good about it. Clive Barker fans will need to see this one, but others can do fine without it. The Blu-Ray is a bare bones release, so if you're looking for features to plump this film up, you're screwed. Worth seeing? Maybe. A must-see? Definitely not.

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14 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Not As Good As I Hoped

Author: mbaule from Montréal, Québec
23 July 2009

I saw this at the fantasia film festival. Since I am a huge Clive Barker fan and have read the Books of Blood I had very high expectations for this movie. But it really let me down. It was not very exciting at all. None of the characters were interesting. I didn't feel like I was experiencing Clive Barker's stories at all. The effects were cool and there was plenty of violence just like I expected. But I didn't relate to any of the characters like I did in the book. It was still interesting to see a budget take on this type of story and I was definitely creeped out by some of the events in Tollington House. But it was almost like I kept waiting for it to get good, and it never did.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

No hellraiser but not bad at all

Author: marsmanroy from Netherlands
2 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A teacher is going to invest a house where strange things have happened in the past together with a co-worker (who has the equipment) and a new student who appears to have a gift. Strange things happen in the house which lets eventually to a climax because the dead want to be heard. Normally I don't like a story in a story and here it wasn't any different in the beginning but in the end when they came back to the present time some cool things happen in which you can re-find the writer of hellraiser mister Clive Barker. Good effects, good acting, good story. I think the movie is most suitable for horror-fans. If you're not into the genre I think this movie will disappoint you.

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Dead telling stories

Author: tamimarie228 from Iowa
28 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a deeply creepy and somewhat disturbing movie. It's about this college professor, Mary, who is obsessed with finding proof of ghosts or something. So Mary finds Simon who she thinks is psychic and she goes with her older partner to stay at this house where this girl got her face ripped off by ghosts. That was a really disturbing scene and it wasn't for children. Anyway, they are at this house and the ghosts or demons write things on the walls and then they move elsewhere to write their own personal stories.

It's quite a chilling movie and it does have some scenes where I jumped. It has a lot of blood and gore in it so it has some of both things. It's one creepy story.

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