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Book Of Lore (2007)

DVD Cover (Camp Motion Pictures)
Genres:
Horror, Psychological Thriller, Slasher Film, Teen Horror
Director:
Chris LaMartina Chris LaMartina
Starring:
Mike Baldwin Mike Baldwin
D. Patrick Bauer D. Patrick Bauer
Matt Benicewicz Matt Benicewicz
Parth Dave Parth Dave
Justin George Justin George

5.9 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: August 03, 2007
Running this site has its perks, with one of them being the ever-increasing amount of free movies that I receive from directors and distributors alike. I kid you not when I say that I have a pile of movies that is higher than my computer monitor that all require the watch-and-review treatment from yours truly, and I couldn't be happier with the current setup. Now, normally when I receive these movies, they all come with the standard press materials: a couple of sheets of paper with a full plot outline and details about the filmmakers, or maybe a CD filled with screen caps and trailers, or even something as simple as a "Here's our website, get the details from there" note. Book of Lore had none of that, and a Google search yielded nothing but the director's MySpace account (which had no details about the film at hand). All I knew about the film before popping it into my player was the title and that the DVD case resembled one of those composition notebooks that I quickly grew sick of back in my school days. Yes, this was the first time in a very long time that I went into a film completely blind and with no expectations, and I have to admit that I wish I could do that more often... especially when the film at hand turns out to be pretty damned good.

Our feature film for the evening centers around a person known as The Devil's Left Hand, a vile collection of flesh who kidnapped a bunch of newborn babies twenty years ago and left notes to the parents written in the children's blood. As suddenly as they began, the kidnappings stopped and the person responsible was never caught or brought to justice. The tale eventually became a bit of a legend around this small town, and life went back to normal... until today, that is.

Richard (Aj Hyde) seems to be your typical high-school student, save for the fact that he lives with his aunt after his parents were thrown in jail on methamphetamine charges. His life takes a turn towards the bizarre when his girlfriend Rachel (Lindsay Hanson) turns up missing after the two spend some time together one night, and of course, it looks mighty suspicious to the authorities that she turned up missing just after spending the night with him. Then, her body is found in an abandoned building with her fingernails ripped off and shoved into her eyes. One thing leads to another, and Richard's best friend Jason (Dan Vidor) eventually reveals that his brother used to carry a book known as the book of lore around with him everywhere he went, and inside this book is a story about - you guessed it - a woman who had her fingernails ripped off and shoved into her eyes. A bizarre coincidence? I doubt it, and when people start dying off in ways that are eerily reminiscent of the stories found within the pages of this book, it's up to Richard to find the clues hidden inside this black composition notebook and find out who the killer really is.

Book of Lore is the latest in the horror / thriller genre, and this little indie offering from Maryland native Chris LaMartina does both genres proud. The storyline is highly original and doesn't rely on the same tired clichés that we've come to expect, and although there were a few spots that probably weren't as surprising as they should have been, I have to admit that most of the storyline shocked me and didn't go where I expected it to. This is a far cry from most of these films where one can typically pick out the killer, the hero, and the people who are there to serve as body count fodder within the first couple of scenes, and my hat is tipped to the guys who wrote a script that avoided those pitfalls.

I particularly enjoyed the idea of having a book full of urban legends that set the stage for how the various killings would come to be. Now, when I say that the book contains urban legends, I'm referring to the fact that they're tales told by the people inside this fictional town and not the same "poodle in a microwave" urban legends that we've all heard time and time again. Each of these stories within a story were unique (at least, I'd never heard them) and most came with their own mini-movie in which we'd see them reenacted for the camera, and I must say that I enjoyed the hell out of both the concept and the actual stories.

My only true complaint about the film is that - in my humble opinion - it would be well-served to take another trip through the editing room. There are scenes that stretch on for just a little bit too long and there are pieces of the storyline that are rehashed from time to time, and while I can't exactly point to any one particular scene and say "That needs to be cut out or trimmed down", I think that the final product would flow better and benefit immensely if about six or seven minutes of the film wound up in a "Deleted Scenes" section of the DVD.

That's a minor gripe in the grand scheme of things, and it certainly didn't hurt my enjoyment of the film as a whole. I still think that it's worth tracking down whenever it becomes available to the general public, as it features a lot of unique ideas that will be quite refreshing to fans of the genre who want something new from it. 8/10.
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Tristan #1: Tristan - added 08/03/2007, 12:54 AM
Motherfucker. I'm in the middle of watching this to review as we speak. I didn't know you got it as well. So that saves me time, and I also wasted time. Not sure how I feel about this.
Chad #2: Chad - added 08/03/2007, 01:13 AM
Go ahead and finish your review if you like - movies can have more than one, you know.
Tristan #3: Tristan - added 08/03/2007, 06:13 AM
I know. But we have the same overall idea, so it's pointless.
I only had 2 paragraphs anyway.
bluemeanie #4: bluemeanie - added 08/03/2007, 10:44 AM
I was also in the middle of watching this but am done now. I, like you, enjoy receiving the DVD's through my mail and getting to see some of what the independent film world has to offer. "Book of Lore" was not one of the better ones. This film was generic from beginning to end -- come on. It's the same tired old formulas and cliches and to say it is even remotely 'original' -- you've got to be kidding me? I appreciate what the filmmaker was going for, and maybe he would have succeeded with a bigger budget and better actors, but since he didn't have those things -- he did not. "Book of Lore" has all the zap and charm of a pet rock. It just kind of sits there. Every now and again you think something happens. Then you realize -- it's still just sitting there. 4/10.
Chad #5: Chad - added 08/03/2007, 04:21 PM
Granted, it may not have had a large budget and seasoned cast members, but the underlying story made it worth the while. Also, the base story - a killer knocks people off while the main character has to solve the mystery - may have been done before, but you could say that in reference to just about any horror film on the market. The charm was in the details, and with that in mind, I stand by my statement that I enjoyed the hell out of it.

Oh, and on an unrelated note - you should update your avatar, it looks so tiny compared to the "big boys" Laughing
Tristan #6: Tristan - added 08/03/2007, 09:32 PM
I see you just took a picture of it.
bluemeanie #7: bluemeanie - added 08/04/2007, 06:37 PM
Yeah, I guess I just have different criteria. I just thought it was lacking originality. You can every idea has been tried before, but every idea has not been tried in every different way. I thought this idea had been done to death and they didn't add anything fresh to the mix.

Avatar changed. Razz
Tristan #8: Tristan - added 08/04/2007, 11:39 PM
Haha, sweet avatar.
And Chris, since you wanted to know what I thought of it...7/10. Pretty much exactly what Chad said, but I liked it a little bit less. Hopefully you get a DVD release soon.
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