What would you do if you were captured by a witch and forced to write scary stories for the rest of your life? Would you accept your fate? Or would you try to escape? Thankfully, the new Netflix original film Nightbooks does that for you so you don’t have to.
Based on the book of the same name written by J.A. White, Nightbooks is about a young boy named Alex (Winslow Fegley) who is captured by an evil witch (Krysten Ritter) that lives in a magical apartment and is forced to write a scary story every night if he wants to remain alive. There he meets Yasmin (Lidya Jewett) who is also a prisoner of the witch and together they plan their escape in order to find their way home.
The first thing I noticed about this movie immediately was the mix of Goosebumps and The House With A Clock In Its Walls feel to it. The spooky vibes and scary stories obviously comes from the Goosebumps aspect whereas the magical apartment idea felt a lot like The House With A Clock In Its Walls. I enjoyed both movies so it was interesting to see a mix of both fueling the environment to this particular film. That was just something I noticed right away which might not be familiar to other viewers, but it’s definitely an interesting little detail to the film. It plays on the vibes of the other two movies while still creating it’s own unique feel to it at the same time and I thought that was fantastic; borrowing aspects while remaining original.
Alex in particular caught my attention mainly because I felt sorry for him. As someone who also loves horror, I felt bad for him that everyone thought he was weird, including his own parents. A lot of people are going to relate to that idea of enjoying something or finding comfort in a hobby that not many share with you. Kids are mean; they’ll sniff out the weakness in another child and use that to break them down and make them feel bad about themselves. This might resonate with the science kid in class or the kid who sits in the back and draws comics all day. This movie depicts an important message and that message is basically be yourself and don’t let anyone try and make you feel bad for you are and for the things you enjoy. In the end, Alex proves that he wasn’t going to change for anyone or give up the one thing that gives him the most enjoyment out of life, which is something a lot of kids and adults need to hear and can relate to.
The only big issue I had with the film overall was the pacing. It was a little slow for my taste but that might not be the case for anyone else who decides to give it a go. When there was a fast paced scene, it was fantastic. It was thrilling to watch and it kept me on my toes. It was just the buildup I had a hard time with. But other than that, it’s a great movie to watch with your family (preferably with older kids since it could be a bit too scary for the young ones). Good storyline, spooks that’ll make your skin crawl (ex: Shredders) and a happy ending with a dash of plot twist. It’s the perfect concoction for a horror film.
You can stream Nightbooks on Netflix now.