We tell our stories as we live, but who will tell the story of those who’ve departed? How much do we know about someone’s last minutes or circumstances that led them towards their last breath?
“Books of Blood” from Clive Barker’s acclaimed horror anthology, directed by Brannon Braga, combines three creepy stories of individuals whose lives intersect with each other. Jenna is too sensitive to noises; Mary is in search of a connection with her deceased son, Miles; Bennett and Steve are trying to find a titular book, not realizing that, it has their end story written. As our hero fight for their lives, one thing will be certain throughout – no matter what they do, they must face the inevitable one way or another.
The film opens with Bennett and Steve, who were about to collect a debt from a man. In the plea for not taking his life, he gives the address of a place that holds the most expensive book, Book of Blood, which if they sell it, can earn them millions of dollars. This is when we meet Jenna, who must wear headphones at all times to escape all the little details that create noise. Her protective parents want to keep her away from a recent encounter that costs Jenna’s friend’s life. As we’re yet to learn what really happened, Jenna leaves the house to stay at Elle and Sam’s place who have a beautiful garden they will protect at any cost.
The third protagonist is Mary, who finds it difficult to cope with the death of her son. But when she meets Simon, a young man who claims to have the ability to connect with people who’ve died, he tells the woman that it was her deceased son who sent him to her. All these stories may sound simple, but as you begin following them, it will become scarier minute by minute, putting you on the edge of your seat, especially when you will freak out for Jenna and what fate has in store for her.
That said, “Books of Blood” is one of the strangest horror films I’ve seen in a while. And that’s a good sign. At times though it’s a bit slow, more like taking its time by giving each story a decent screening. Watching it in the dark delivers the best effect and you’ll be tempted to turn the lights on. But whatever you do, the image of horror won’t disappear so quickly. As for the takeaway, the ending provides the answer to a cure of pain for some. Death might be an end for one but is the beginning for someone else who cherishes every second, knowing that as life is slowly breathing out of the body, it brings peace of mind to what is being left behind, and will be left forever.