Netflix has been doing a great deal of work to provide horror to a younger generation. Earlier this year, they brought us Fear Street, a trilogy of films released over a three week period, and now, they bring us Nightbooks. Netflix understands that in order to maintain a genre, you must create new fans, and these films are a great way to do just that.

This movie is based on a 2018 book by J.A. White.

Alex (Winslow Fegley) was a weird kid who loves writing scary stories. However, one night at his birthday party, Alex decided that he was going to burn his writings. Before he is able to do that, Alex gets snatched and wound up inside an apartment that he was unable to leave. Soon, he was approached by Natacha (Krysten Ritter), a witch who was ready to kill Alex unless he could provide something that was worthwhile. When she found out that Alex wrote scary stories, she allowed him to live, but only if he told her a story every night.

Alex meets another kid in the apartment, Yasmin (Lidya Jewett), whose attitude kept her at arms length at first, but they begin to come together in an effort to find a way to escape.

This is a fun film, which included some exceptional scares. The scares would be intense for the younger viewers and still provide good mood for adults. Nightbooks appeals to both adults and kids and that is very important to the success of the film.

I love Krysten Ritter. She was a fantastic Jessica Jones, the Netflix Marvel series, and she was wonderfully wicked in this movie. The kids in the movie are excellent as well. Winslow Fegley and Lidya Jewett had some great chemistry with each other and did an amazing job with the frightening moments of the story. Winslow Fegley does an admirable job as your lead protagonist and keeps everything working well.

One of my favorite parts of this film is the time when Alex was telling the stories from his nightbooks to Natacha and the story would be visualized on the screen with this cool background design and characters whose voices were all Alex. It felt as if it were an animated interlude, but without the actual animation. I thought these stories (titles included The Bindweed, The Playground) were remarkably well executed and provided a really engaging way to carry on the plot.

Nightbooks is a great deal of fun and features some enjoyable performances. The visuals are compelling and the story takes you in a way that you may not expect. It is a worthy addition to Netflix’s horror films for kids of 2021.

4.2 stars

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