I really enjoyed this movie, I was surprised by the direction they went with it. Much of what Alex’s day-to-day life was like was a mystery. It was due to the start of the movie. In the beginning, we don’t spend much time with Alex or his parents in his ordinary environment. Instead, Nightbooks offers up a small but tantalizing offering, enough to get the viewer interested in what could have possibly happened to cause Alex to tear posters from his walls and shove books into his backpack before leaving in a hurry. The questions of “why” is part of what propels the narrative forward and provided another mystery outside of the apartment and the witch.
From there, the most threatening and magical aspects of Nightbooks were quick to be known. Characters introductions were sort of brief, but it was well acted. Natacha, the witch, is played by Krysten Ritter. She was menacing, and her motivation was largely unknown for a long time. Given that the setting was limited to the confines of the apartment’s many but strange rooms, there was only one other prominent character besides the cat. Yazmin, played by Lidya Jewett, was a highlight of Nightbooks.
The movie had a far moodier atmosphere and more horror/jump scare instances than I thought it would have. There was danger, but despite the brooding tone, there was still an element of whimsy and a lot of Grimm’s Fairy Tales references. I also enjoyed how the movie told stories within the story, the titular Nightbooks. Those scenes were fantastic.
The ending, while a satisfying conclusion for Alex and Yazmin, ultimately leaves room for another movie. I would definitely watch it.
All-in-all, Nightbooks was a fun film. It had the kind of spooky viewing experience perfect for October. And if you saw Netflix’s A Babysitters Guide to Monster Hunting, released October of 2020, then this one is a must watch.
Check out the Nightbooks trailer...