Plot: A para-psychologist (Sophie Ward), moves into an old house, which has been the center of several brutal encounters with the paranormal. She's soon joined by one of her students, a young man (Jonas Armstrong), who supposedly possesses psychic powers.
Review: Another years at Fantasia means one thing- at least one film based on a Clive Barker story. Last year, we had the under-rated MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, and this year we have two, BOOK OF BLOOD, and DREAD. Perhaps, not coincidentally, all are based on stories in the same horror anthology (BOOKS OF BLOOD).
For me, BOOK OF BLOOD was definitely a disappointment. To me, it seemed like a bit too much like a sci-fi channel original movie (albeit an extremely gruesome and sexy one). While obviously, the filmmakers were working with a somewhat limited budget- that's no excuse for the rather drab look of the film. The whole thing is shot in a dark manner which I suppose is supposed to be creepy, and atmospheric, but instead was simply annoying, as much of the action onscreen is completely indecipherable.
I also found the pacing of the film to be very sluggish. The film runs under two hours, but truthfully, it seems longer, and I found myself constantly checking my watch. I'm sure the original Clive Barker stories are scary, and work beautifully on the page, but as a film, the whole thing was really ho-hum. To keep audiences interested,, we get a whole bunch of cheap scares, courtesy of jumps in the soundtrack- but this technique gets old fast. The film only really comes to life during the last twenty minutes, which, I must admit, are actually quite creepy and effective.
As for the acting, I quite liked Sophie Ward in the lead role, as she was believable as both an academic, and as an object of lust for her horny male students. Jonas Armstrong also does a good job in his role, as the seemingly tormented student that brings things to a head once they reach their house of horrors- although I wasn't really convinced of his relationship with the more mature Ward.
I really hate panning a film like BOOK OF BLOOD, as I'm all for horror films that are made outside the mainstream, but for me- it simply did not work. I should point out that the sold out audience I saw it with seemed to love it, so I might be in the minority,in regards to my feelings towards the film. That said, the fact remains that for me it didn't really work, and at the end of the day I've got to go with my own reaction- and sadly, it was not positive.