Thursday, October 1, 2009

Creepy Yet Sexy

Book of Blood 2008
Director: John Harrison
Writers: John Harrison and Darin Silverman
Starring Jonas Armstrong, Sophie Ward, Clive Russell, Paul Blair, Romania Abercromby, Simon Bamford and Doug Bradley

Right now is a great time to be a Clive Barker Fan. First with The Midnight Meat Train and now with Book of Blood and soon to be on the horizon The Damnation Game. Barker has always been one of my favorite horror writers, he took over from Stephen King after I read the Damnation Game and I make sure I see any film that is based on his works. This adaptation takes the framing sequence from his first Book of Blood and the story "On Jerusalem Street" and combines them into one cohesive story. I really enjoyed this film, it was a very slow burn but the payoff was well worth it. It has the feel of Hellraiser but combined with the Entity and The Haunting. The film is very atmospheric and you are quickly pulled into the story with some dynamic characters.
The plot basics are this, We open in a diner where we see a hooded young man eating and he looks like he was horribly attacked with a scalpel. He leaves the diner and a man who has been following him picks him up and ties him to a table, because someone has paid him a lot of money to cut his skin off of him. Before he does the deed he asks the boy to tell him his story and he does. We meet him a little before this where he is a college student and his name is Simon (Armstrong) and he is attending a class by a paranormal expert, Mary Florescu (Ward) and she is working on her next book and has found a house that horrible things happened in and she finds that Simon has a empathy with spirits. They move into the house and start a study of the phenomenon and Mary starts to feel a magnetic sexual attraction to Simon, which slowly envelopes her. It looks as if Simon was playing her, as much of the phenomena he created, but soon the house get's angry and takes it's toll on Simon and that is when they discover the house is a intersection for the dead and the dead come here and intersect with the living and use Simon to tell their stories written on his skin in his own blood.
This is a haunting film that grabs a hold of you from the beginning and holds on tighter until the WTF ending. The direction by Harrison is top notch. He amps up the atmosphere with each moment of the film and really brings forth the sense of dread and sexual depravity that is a major strength of Barker's work. The script is great as well, It is a great melding of the 2 works of Barker that makes a complex and cohesive product. The cast is great, with a special acknowledgement to Sophie Ward as Florescu. She reminds me very much of Clare Higgins as Julia in Hellraiser, she has that frothing at the edge sexuality that Higgins had and is very hypnotic to watch. Armstrong is quite good as the lead too, but I think Ward really overshadows his performance. The SFX is great very bloody and realistic, I especially loved the face peeling scene. This is a definite must see for Clive Barker fans and fans of haunted house films too.
This one gets 4 out of 5

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