Books of Blood

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Books of Blood Movie Poster Image
Blood, gore, suicide in Clive Barker horror stories.
  • NR
  • 2020
  • 107 minutes

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Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

No positive messages in these gory horror tales.

Positive Role Models

Characters commit murder and encourage suicide, among other violent acts. One character struggles with misophonia, a condition marked by extreme sensitivity to certain types of sounds. 

Violence

Blood and gore throughout. In the opening scene, a character's throat is slit, and the person is left for dead, bleeding profusely and gasping for air. Dead bodies. Corpses and dying victims inside the walls and floors of a house. A girl encourages her boyfriend to jump off of a building and commit suicide (he does, not shown). Character holds a gun pointed upward at his chin and pulls the trigger. The dead carve their stories on the skin of a man. Characters fight with wrenches. Characters attacked by rats. Horror imagery. 

Sex

In a dream sequence, woman imagines a man getting on top of her as if they're going to have sex. Kissing. A couple in bed after having sex. Brief nonsexual nudity, male buttocks. A woman who makes herbal tea talks of how one herb makes her husband amorous. A woman walks in on her boyfriend in bed with another woman. 

Language

"F--k" frequently used. Also: "s--thole," "bulls--t," "s--t," "pissed." Middle finger gesture. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Vodka, wine, whiskey drinking. Cigarette smoking. Characters drugged before they're imprisoned in a house. Talk of the meds a woman takes to treat her issues with extreme sound sensitivity. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Books of Blood is a 2020 horror movie with three loosely-connected stories based on Clive Barker's popular book series. Unsurprisingly, there's blood and gore in each of the three stories. Trigger warning: suicide. In one scene, a woman talks her depressed boyfriend into jumping off of a building. In another scene, a man points a gun to his chin and kills himself. Characters killed and/or injured in a variety of gruesome ways. A character's throat is slit, and the person is left for dead, bleeding profusely and gasping for air. Horror imagery, like roaches crawling out of the mouth of one of the characters. Characters are drugged. Profanity throughout, including "f--k." A woman walks in on her boyfriend on the verge of having sex with another woman. Brief nudity, nonsexual (male buttocks). Man and woman wake up next to each other after, presumably, having sex. Fantasy sequence in which a woman imagines a man she just met getting on top of her in bed. Cigarette smoking. Wine, whiskey, and vodka drinking. A mother struggles with the loss of her child due to leukemia. One character struggles with heightened sensitivity to sound, and another struggles with alcoholism. 

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written bypillowduck May 30, 2021

It's spooky, and if you are a clive barker fan, its worth a watch!

The first story was definitely the best, and the movie fit together nicely. Sort of not the direction the original story collection went in, but it was a cool a... Continue reading

What's the story?

In BOOKS OF BLOOD, three gruesome horror stories loosely connect. Two criminals are in search of a mysterious "Book of Blood" that would fetch them lots of money, and they're willing to kill in order to get it. A young woman named Jenna (Britt Robertson) struggles with a heightened sensitivity to sound, and struggles in the aftermath of a tragedy that befell an ex-boyfriend in college. She has stopped taking her meds, much to the dismay of her judgmental mother, and when her parents are asleep, Jenna steals money from them and takes a bus bound for Los Angeles. Instead, she stops in a small town before reaching her destination, convinced that a suspicious-looking man is following her. She rents a room in a house owned by a seemingly kindly and wise older couple, only to discover a shocking truth about what they do with their guests. A college professor (Anna Friel) who is an expert on the paranormal gets a visit from a young man named Simon who claims to be in contact with her young son who passed away from leukemia. Reluctantly, she agrees to conduct an experiment to prove him wrong, only to discover that he does indeed seem to be in contact with the dead. The two begin falling in love, but when Simon, a recovering alcoholic, goes off the wagon and reveals how he conned her, Simon gets a lot more than he ever bargained for, and so do the two criminals when they track down the professor, who reveals the terrible secret of the Book of the Dead. 

Is it any good?

This series is mostly cheesy, but not always in a bad way, and there's dark melodrama and funereal dialogue that's almost as self parodic as teen goth poetry. There's the occasional foray into indulgent nightmare imagery and jump scares to bridge the plot points. Scumbag characters get their comeuppance, and then some. The seemingly kindest people in Books of Blood  are, of course, the most psychotically evil, or, barring that, the most vengeful. There are rats and vermin galore. On the whole, it's entertaining, the kind of movie, for the first 4/5ths of it anyway, teens watch with friends around Halloween to see who gets the most scared or grossed out. 

That said, some scenes are just plain dark, and not for everyone. For those who have experienced suicide or depression, the flashback scene of a girl on the phone with her boyfriend encouraging him to commit suicide as he stands on the ledge of a building while unsure about jumping is likely to be downright disturbing. This is especially true because this character, up to that point, seemed to the most sympathetic, as her struggles with heightened sensitivity to noise, her struggles with the prescription medications that help her with this disorder, and her efforts into channeling her traumas into art made her the most accessible and developed character in the movie. That her fate leads to a bad twist ending cheapens these struggles and her guilt over her horrific behavior. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about horror movies. How does Books of Blood compare to other scary movies you've seen?

  • What would be the challenges in adapting stories from a book and turning them into a movie? 

  • How does the movie address topics such as misophonia (heightened sensitivity to sound), depression, and alcoholism? 

Movie details

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For kids who love scary movies

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