Books of Blood is an anthology following three interconnected tales based on the work of Clive Barker.
Books of Blood Review
It's fairly common knowledge for anyone that frequents our reviews and/or podcast that Efrit and I are quite fond of horror anthologies. Therefore, any time one pops up, we are quick to jump on it. When talks of a Hulu anthology based on Clive Barker's work began rumbling, it got us quite excited. But watching the preview sobered me up pretty quick. It didn't look like the films based on Clive Barker's works...You can see mild glimpses of Hellraiser, but the rest looked like dull material.
And unfortunately, that's where Books of Blood lands...it's pretty dull. Firstly, it only contains three "stories", and one of those qualifies as the interlocking event. That's not much of an anthology. I tend to lean towards four as being the minimum, not including the interlocking event in most of those cases. At a 1:45 runtime, that's 35 minutes per segment...those are sprawling for an anthology. And that doesn't include the fact that the interlocking event counts as one of the three stories and it spends a good portion of its time connecting with the previous tales. So the whole thing comes pretty close to flirting with a dumbed-down version of Crash more than an anthology.
So it better be full of content, right? Not really. The stories manage to drag. The first eats up far too much runtime for its plot, leaving too much mystery for the interlocking finale. The climax has its moments, but it is mostly weird rather than frightening and hard to fathom in the loooong explanation we get as to the happenings. The second tale is the most interesting, telling a winding story on a medium who writes messages from spirits in blood. It's interesting and works with what you'd picture from Clive Barker, and it better utilizes the extensive runtime than the first tale. Yet, it is still rather underwhelming. The interlocking event spends a lot of its time wrapping everything up, which is fine, but it just feels awkward.
But really, the whole of the story is interesting and cleverly intertwining, it just manages to not be all that engaging. The story is good, but it's not good enough to warrant such little...action. Too much is said without enough actually happening. That isn't to say there isn't any blood in Books of Blood, but...you know...not really enough blood, especially when you are expecting something in the vein of Barker's filmography. Most authors have a wide spectrum of tales, like Stephen King, but what Barker is most known for isn't on display here much at all.
It's beyond not being open to change, though. My expectations in quality were not high, but I still hoped to be entertained, and that was limited. It might have been better if it wasn't packaged as an anthology at all, but an intertwining tale of two stories. Too much of the content is inconsequential, too much of the dialogue is campy and awkward, and too much of runtime is forgettable. Books of Blood was a nice attempt, but it misses the mark.
Horror Rating System
Horror Qualifier: 9/10
Horror Quality: 4/10
Film Quality: 3/10