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The Ending Of Books Of Blood Explained

Books of Blood tells three spellbinding stories that intersect for a dark ending. Although the fate of each main character is eventually unveiled, the conclusion of this horror film can leave audience members questioning how everyone's destination was reached while piecing together the collection. The narrative tells three stories about Jenna (Britt Robertson), Miles (Etienne Kellici), and Bennett (Yul Vazquez) — but all three of the characters' worlds, whether subtly or directly, collide. 

Along the way, even the most sharp-eyed audience members will likely miss a lot of the film's subtle aspects, which is definitely not to say that this is a gentle viewing experience. Books of Blood is eerie, dark, and at times impossible to watch in a good way — as all slasher, horror, and Halloween films are. As a viewer, it can feel like you're trying to survive along with the characters. Here's the ending of Books of Blood explained. Obviously, huge spoilers ahead!

What Books of Blood is based on

Books of Blood is based on bestselling author Clive Barker's horror anthology of the same title, and is told, per the official synopsis, "through three uncanny tales tangled in space and time." While the movie includes new material, it uses a passage from the title story as a framing device for the entire film, similar to Barker's book. Like 2009's Book of Blood film, the 2020 adaptation also incorporates aspects of "On Jerusalem Street."

Although aspects of "The Book of Blood" and "On Jerusalem Street" can be found in the Hulu adaptation, director Brannon Braga explained in a 2020 interview that the film incorporates two new stories. "The movie, which was written by Adam Simon and me — and based on one original story from Books of Blood and two new stories that Clive and I came up with along with Adam — make up the movie," Braga said. "And the three stories are kind of independent, but they cross-pollinate each other. We kind of call it the Pulp Fiction of horror. Terrible comparison because it's not going to be nearly that movie, but it has that kind of structural vibe."

good movie can change people if only for a little while as they leave the theater or turn off the screen feeling different. Movies have a funny way of giving people tunnel vision as the outside world recedes — and such is the nature of the resolutely gripping Books of Blood.

The significance of the movie's beginning

Books of Blood opens its cursed pages with an unknown character sitting in a child's room. A voiceover talks about the dead and how people want their stories told. The person in the room, at first glance, appears to be a child with no hair, but it's likely Simon (Rafi Gavron), a fake ghost whisperer who claims he can speak for the dead. The voiceover is presumably delivered by Mary (Anna Friel), a psychologist and supernatural debunker. Her son Miles died at age 7, and the room the mysterious person is sitting in belonged to him. Simon, as the audience discovers, is the Book of Blood — his body is carved with the names of the dead, as his vessel acts as the pages of the living book. Mary tells the souls' stories forever imprinted on Simon.

The mysterious librarian

In the setup for the stories that follow, a librarian is seen stacking books in a library. Another man the audience will later come to know as Bennett is chasing this librarian down in pursuit of a debt.

While the film doesn't directly tell viewers why the man owes Bennett and his partner Steve (Andy McQueen) money, it's clear that it leads him to tell Bennett about the Book of Blood, which is apparently worth millions of dollars and will repay what he owes. It remains unclear just how the librarian knows about the book. His profession, of course, revolves around having this type of knowledge, but the Book of Blood consists of stories of the dead, and after all, those stories aren't written on typical parchment. But however the librarian knows about the book, him telling Bennett about it isn't the attempt to settle a debt that it initially appears to be — it is, in fact, a trap to send Bennett into some unfathomably dark places. Satisfied that a fate worse than death awaits his murderer, the librarian has an evil smile on his face as Bennett kills him. As the movie is comprised of three standalone stories that subtly weave together, Bennett and Steve's pursuit isn't revisited until the third and final story.

Jenna's college breakdown

Books of Blood blurs the lines of reality and fiction by showing images through the eyes of a woman named Jenna and making the audience question whether they're real. 

After an incident at school, Jenna is sent to a mental institution known as the "Farm." While Jenna suffers from a neurological disorder called misophonia (the hatred of sounds) and is hypersensitive to noises, she has hallucinatory visions throughout the movie, presumably worsened by no longer taking her medication because it makes her feel tired and numb. Throughout her story, she draws disturbing pictures that slowly reveal what sent her to the Farm in the first place: Jenna's "breakdown at school" came after her involvement in some type of cult, during which she convinced her then-boyfriend Tony to jump off a building.

Because of these visions, the audience doesn't know if she's being paranoid when it appears a man in black is following her as she leaves her parents' house on the road to Los Angeles. She also sees a cockroach tear through the walls of her bedroom at an Airbnb-style rental. That seems likely to be a vision, but later at the kitchen table, another roach scuttles through the floor, and everyone at the table sees it. This shows that some of her visions are actually real, although she later admits that she sometimes sees things when she's anxious and she feels like she's being followed by someone she's not sure even exists.

The man in black is Tony's father

Although Jenna can put on noise-canceling headphones to block out sounds when her condition becomes unbearable, she continues to see visions. When she's riding a bus to Los Angeles, she sees a person's face in an air vent. Lost in a mental fog of distorted reality, Jenna seems unable to trust what her eyes are showing her — and so is the audience. A man dressed in black gets on the bus at an ensuing stop, prompting Jenna to flee the vehicle. She gets away, but as she's stepping onto the pavement, a green car almost hits her — which has added significance, as it's the same car Bennett and Steve were driving.

At the local coffee shop Spider's Web Cafe, Jenna sees the man in black again and runs away. It's not certain that this ominous figure is actually real until he tracks down Jenna at her rental. The couple who own it, Sam and Ellie, invite him into their house while Jenna is in the kitchen — alert yet unable to move after being drugged by the couple. The man in black tracked Jenna down at the right house, but he knocked on the wrong door — he's tangled up in a deadly Book of Blood story that ends when Ellie and Sam kill him. As they're busy disposing of the body, Jenna's drugs wear off; unfortunately, she decides to hide in the man in black's car. With Jenna hiding in the back seat, the couple stage a suicide by sending the car off a nearby cliff.

While it appears that Jenna dies in the crash, she wakes up in the hospital, where it's revealed that the man in the crash is Tony's father. He was following Jenna because he wanted to ask her questions about his son's death — phone records showed Tony was talking to her around the time he died.

Ellie and Sam's deception

Ellie and Sam invited Jenna into their home with apparent compassion and hospitality. The couple appears to be the only light in this otherwise sinister world, but they turn out to be the darkest monsters in Books of Blood — they deceive hopeless and desperate strangers such as Jenna and Gavin, another guest who found their listing.

Ellie and Sam used Jenna's hallucinations to their advantage by making her feel like she was going crazy, then drugging her and leaving her with the ability to open her eyes but unable to move. In the first story's sleep-paralysis scene, while Jenna struggles to grasp what's real, Ellie and Sam enter her room that night to measure her body, as all of their victims are hidden beneath the floors and between the walls of the house. This night is also likely when Ellie and Sam took Gavin, as a bag is seen being placed over a young man's head during Jenna's perceived nightmare.

The next morning, Jenna is back to "normal," uncertain if she hallucinated a nightmare or everything she saw was real. She remains oblivious to the couple's nefarious intentions. The bodies that Jenna sees throughout the house, although viewed through a lens of supernatural and horror movie magic, are real. However, the couple doesn't actually capture Jenna until the end of the third story.

Simon is the Book of Blood

Simon has been chosen by the dead to be the Book of Blood and Mary is the soul reader as she deciphers the text written on his body and tells the stories of the dead. The dead chose Simon to be their symbolic book because he tricked Mary into believing he was a medium. Mary made a career out of debunking quacks who, as an example, said they could speak to the dead, yet she still fell for Simon's false claims. Simon told Mary that her son was trying to speak to her, and the two became romantically involved as well as business partners.

Simon eventually reveals that he met Mary's ex in recovery, and he told Simon all about their son. The self-professed medium comes clean — he can't actually speak to the dead. After they fight, Mary goes into Miles' old room, where the phrase "Bring him to us" appears on a board. The message is from her son. In a twist that goes against Mary's entire body of work, she's finally able to see and believe in the paranormal, and the dead attack Simon in Miles' room with Mary's assistance. They rip out his hair so they can use his full body as a canvas, and write all over his skin. His body now serves as the pages of the Book of Blood.

How all three stories connect

All three stories are linked in subtle ways. All three Books of Blood characters — Jenna, Miles, and Bennett — are passages in the Book of Blood. But unlike Jenna and Bennett, Miles' story is seen through Simon and Mary's eyes.

The first time it's evident that the stories are linked is when Jenna is almost hit by the green car that Bennett and Steve are driving in the first story. In subtle fashion, Bennett's mutilated body also appears at Ellie and Sam's home when Jenna is trying to escape in the first story, letting the audience know that Bennett was there before her.

Miles' room appears at the beginning of the movie, again when Mary and Miles enter it in the second story, and once more when Bennett shows up looking for the book in the third story. Bennett and Steve also visit Spider's Web Cafe in the third story — the same cafe Jenna enters during the first story. From their perspective, it also shows Steve and Bennett almost hitting Jenna with their car as she gets off the bus. Both parties search for different things, but they end up in the same place — and eventually in the ill-fated book. A part of town Bennett and Steve drive into during the third story shows an overhead view that appears to be the same portion of the city where the lights go out during the second story when Simon morphs into the book. And of course, Bennett meets Mary, Simon, and the ghost of Miles in the third tale.

No innocent victims

All the stories might seem like examples of characters finding themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, but none of them are really about truly helpless victims. Although Jenna is delusional and suffers from a disorder in the first story, the third story shows her convincing Tony to jump off a building. That death is compounded when Tony's dad also dies searching for Jenna.

During the second story, although Miles is an innocent child who died of leukemia, the boy's name is in the Book of Blood. But as the voiceover tells the audience in the beginning, the Book of Blood consists of dead people who want their stories to be told, and Miles' story, from Simon and Mary's perspective, led to the creation of the damned book. Simon's lies might have seemed harmless, but the false story he told Mary intervened with the wishes of the dead.

The third story features Bennett, a hitman who's looking for one final score — the recovery of the Book of Blood — so he can retire in Mexico with his wife. Dreams of a peaceful retirement are something pretty much anyone can relate to, but in this case, the person chasing them killed countless people — including the librarian who told him about the book.

Where Books of Blood leaves off

In the third story, Bennett and Steve drive to a deserted town. Steve, presumably possessed by a demon, shoots himself in a run-down church. Bennett finds Mary's home by chance and goes into Miles' bedroom to find an older version of Mary, who reveals that Simon is the Book of Blood, the dead all have stories, and they chose Simon to be their pages. Simon lives on so the dead can have a voice. Death can be heard all around the surrounding streets — the town is haunted, but all roads lead to Simon where the highways first opened, and the Book of Blood was created. 

"Bennett" has been scribbled onto Simon's head, signifying that he's going to die, as all names written in the book are presumably dead or will soon meet that fate. Bennett brutally stabs at rats that seem to appear on his body, and badly injured, he runs out of the house — at which point he unluckily finds the home from the first story, as Sam is dragging Gavin's body outside. Ellie hits Bennett over the head, showing the audience how Bennett came into Ellie and Sam's custody in the first story.

At the end of the third story, Jenna is seen in a hospital bed. Her parents identify the father of her ex-boyfriend, and the police wrongly come to the conclusion that the car crash that put Jenna in the hospital is the result of his foiled suicide-murder attempt. After getting out of the hospital, Jenna returns to her parents' house, where a flashback shows the audience the phone call between Jenna and Tony that led to his death. Jenna remorsefully returns to Ellie and Sam's, where they welcome her in with deranged beliefs and open arms. They place Jenna under the floor. With her eyes and ears removed, she finally seems at peace as her story ends.

Simon and Mary are then seen in the final shot. Mary says there are so many stories to tell, and ponders who will be next. Jenna, Miles, and Bennett's stories have all been told, but the dead still have unread pages remaining, indicating more stories from the Book of Blood could someday make their way to audiences still waiting to be further frightened.