Hulu‘s film Books of Blood is very loosely based on Clive Barker‘s Books of Blood series of anthology novels, and it’s one of the streamer’s new offerings for October 2020.
Three stories make up the film, and it opens with two criminals seeking payment from a bookseller, who tells one about the existence of a priceless book and where to find it.
Cut to the story “Jenna,” starring Britt Robertson as the titular character. Following a traumatic incident, Jenna decides to stop taking her meds and flees her home. She decides to hole up at a B&B, where she starts having hallucinations…or is she?
The third story, “Miles,” stars Anna Friel as a professor who grieves the loss of her young son to leukemia. She’s approached by a man (Ravi Gavron) who claims to be able to communicate with the dead boy. What first seems like a scam turns into something more terrifying…for both of them.
The film then returns to the first story, which finds itself intertwined with the other two.
“Miles” was my favorite story of the three, and the one that felt closest in tone to a Clive Barker story. Even when you think you know where the story is going, the visuals drive home why it’s not wise to mess with the other side. This one does have a lot of gore and nudity, but it’s necessary for the story.
“Jenna” was a slow burn, culminating in some real creepiness and seat-squirming visuals. But then they had to add a twist coda to the story that just didn’t work for me.
The first story, “Bennett,” centers on those two criminals and feels more like a connector story than a stand-alone. It does have a slightly humorous coffee shop scene, but it’s the weakest of the three stories.
The acting is good from all of the leads, but the script is a bit lacking. I also have to give a nod to the title cards throughout the film, as they are well done.
For some reason, bringing Clive Barker horror stories to the screen tends to produce lackluster results. Had Books of Blood been released as a series, as originally planned, it might have been fleshed out better (pardon the horror pun).
But if you’re looking for a bit of creepiness with a bit of gore for your horror watching, you could do worse than Books of Blood. It’s not bad, it’s just not great either.
I’m giving Books of Blood a 3 out of 5 stars.
BOOKS OF BLOOD
Director: Brannon Braga
Cast: Britt Robertson, Freda Foh Shen, Nicholas Campbell, Anna Friel, Rafi Gavron, Yul Vazquez, Andy McQueen
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