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Hellbound: Book of the Dead
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Hellbound: Book of the Dead (2003)

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Plot Summary:
"His death was accidental, though no one would believe it. The plan was to resurrect him with an ancient spell. But the spell didn't work. Now they've cut him up into little pieces with the intention of dumping the parts in the bay. Only now the spell begins to kick in."

Review by
Phil Davies Brown
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Review Date: 09 April 2005 My Rating: out of 5


Haunted by the death of her sister, Diane has become obsessed with the notion of bringing her back to life. Against the wishes of her beau Lane (Jeff Dylan Graham), she has secretly been searching for the book of the dead. Legend has it that there are two copies in existence and when they are used together they have the power to bring back the dead. One night a visitor comes to the door with a copy of the book for Diane and when he finds out that she has the pair, a scuffle ensues which results in his death. Diane talks Lane into letting her resurrect the dead man, which he does, but when the spell doesn't work Lane cuts up the body and dumps the pieces in the bay. It appears however that the spell actually did work, and so all manner of creepiness ensues for the residents of 'Cadaver Bay'.

With his third feature film Steve Sessions manages to provide us with a technically competent film, coupled with a plot that has potential. Whilst he succeeds at making an enjoyable and well executed film, it is probably the weakest of all his films storylines.

The cast, especially Jeff Dylan Graham, are excellent here as they have a chance to shine thanks to the small number of actors present, but the film also suffers somewhat from a lack of action for the characters to participate in.

Sessions once again manages to create a wonderfully eerie small coastal town atmosphere, which is reminiscient of that found in 'The Fog' as well as some moments of genuine natural suspense, but the plot is stretched a little by the time the film concludes.

There are some beautiful sceneic moments to be found here, as well as some good work with lighting and effects, and it is nice to see a director who realises the importance of ambience and indeed the effects created by a dramatic pause.

Hellbound will definitely not displease fans of Steve Sessions or indeed Jeff Dylan Graham who really does give a different performance in every film he appears in. The film also further signifies Sessions efforts to keep learning his craft. What he had to work on after this movie (in my humble opinion) was finding the balance between aesthetics and content, something that I feel he successfully achieved in his next film, the excellent 'Dead Clowns'.

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