SPOILERS are ahead for Nightbooks on Netflix. Meet us back here to crack open the spooky pages of this book adaptation once you’ve checked this family-friendly feature out.
In the vein of Goosebumps, Netflix has released a cute take on telling scary stories this spooky season with an adaptation of J.A. White’s 2018 novel, Nightbooks. The new September release follows a young storyteller, Winslow’s Fegley’s Alex and the horrible fate he finds himself in when an evil witch, Natacha (played by Jessica Jones’ Krysten Ritter) captures him and demands that he writes dark stories to tell her each night. Now that you’ve clicked play, let’s break down everything that went down during the movie.
Nightbooks is actually inspired by the ancient collection of Middle Eastern folk tales, known as One Thousand and One Nights or Arabian Nights. For context, it’s where the original version of Aladdin was written. In the ancient text, a woman named Scheherazade becomes the newest wife of a violent ruler named Shahryar, who marries and kills a new lover each night. However, when he meets Scheherazade, she is able to keep him alive by telling him a new story every night. Now that we know a bit of Nightbooks origins, let’s talk through the ending of the movie.
What Happened At The End Of Nightbooks
For much of the movie, Alex is trapped in a mysterious house with no way out alongside Yasmin (Lidya Jewtt) and a cat named Lenore. The witch Natacha demands that he tell her scary stories each night without happy endings, but Alex is having some trouble getting inspired. We learn from Yasmin that before he came along, she read to her an entire library of scary stories, but they’d run out of new stories to tell.
Alex does some digging into the library in the mystical prison he’s in and finds a secret journal in an old copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. In the journal entries, he and Yasmin find a plan someone that goes by “Unicorn Girl” was crafting, including a sleeping spell to use on the witch. They decide to recreate the potion and execute the plan of Unicorn Girl, however it leads them to learning that Unicorn Girl is none other than Natacha and the real witch is terrifying and even more powerful than her, but fast asleep in a chamber.
The Real Identity Of Unicorn Girl And Natacha
When Natacha reveals her true identity, we learn her tragic origin story. She used to be the real witch’s pride and joy of a child and ate all the other children aside from her. Natacha did in fact create that plan to escape and was successful, however once she returned home to her parents, they had moved on without her. To avenge the tragedy and abandonment she went through, Natacha decided to return to the witch’s lair, place her in an encasement that would allow her to harvest her witch powers, but in the process she basically becomes her enemy.
The reason that Natacha captured Alex was because scary stories are like lullabies to her. It keeps her asleep and no longer doing harm to others, you know… like eating children? What’s interesting about this Nightbooks backstory is it has roots in Hansel and Gretel. The movie doesn’t entirely clear up whether the witch is the same exact one from the Grimm’s Fairy Tale, but it’s clearly very similar if not. And inspired by the famous fairytale, Alex and Yasmin end up shoving her in a furnace and that kills her.
What Does Nightbooks’ Final Scene Tease?
Before we get to the final tease, let’s also go back to a major element of the ending of Nightbooks. Natacha forces Alex to tell the story he’d been keeping from her the whole time, which is actually his own. As he finally shares, one of his best friends casts him out at school for being different than the other kids. He says he found his happy ending when she trapped him there because he finally found someone to understand him for who he is in Yasmin. It was the ultimate happy ending and message of the film to be yourself and embrace one’s weirdness. Oh, and the cat named Lenore is now in Alex’s care.
Alex and Yasmin make it back home, with Yasmin apparently back to her parents after three years away. They’ve become best friends and Alex is writing stories again. At the very end of the movie, there’s a tease shot that seems to signify the return of Natacha somehow as her hand closes out of the movie. Perhaps, she’ll want to get her revenge on them after they foiled her plan. I could see her venturing into their world in a sequel should it happen.
Will There Be Another Nightbooks Movie?
At the moment, there is not a sequel greenlit for Nightbooks, but it’s perhaps too soon to know if it’s coming. When the film’s director David Yarovesky spoke to Decider about another movie possibly coming, he said this:
J.A. White is reportedly writing another book in the series called Gravebooks, but it has not hit shelves yet. Perhaps if Nightbooks is successful enough on Netflix it could happen. Overall, the movie was well received by viewers, gaining positive reviews from critics and fans. If there was another Nightbooks movie, there is certainly more that Alex and Yasmin could explore, perhaps with more fairy tales and scary stories to be told and lived.
Nightbooks was produced by Sam Raimi, who famously made the Spider-Man movies and Evil Dead franchise, so that’s a big name to have on the film’s side. Would you want a sequel for Nightbooks? Vote in our poll below.
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YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.
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