Let me tell you a story… a scary story. There’s this young boy who happens upon a spooky apartment in New York City. Steeling his courage, he decides to peek inside, only to discover the apartment is magical, its doors able to lead to anywhere, even different dimensions. Worse, it has trapped him inside, and is also full of dangerous monsters. But they’re mere kittens compared to the apartment’s true owner — a terrifying witch who demands the boy write her a new scary story every single night or die!
Or such, seemingly, is the plot of Nightbooks, a kid-friendly (I think?) horror movie produced by Sam Raimi of Evil Dead fame. It appears to be a cup of the kids’ horror book series Goosebumps, a heaping helping of Locke & Key, and a smattering of Hocus Pocus, all dumped into a bowl containing the basic premise of 1,001 Arabian Nights, where a misogynistic king plans to murder his new wife Scheherazade until she begins telling him a story, but fails to finish it. The king still decides to kill her the next night co he can hear the rest of the story, only for her to start a new story. This is repeated about, oh, 1,000 times.
There’s no king in Nightbooks, obviously, but a stylish, cruel witch played by Jessica Jones’ Krysten Ritter (who’s clearly having a blast playing the villain). Winslow Fegley is Alex, who’s “a boy obsessed with scary stories” (lucky for him and the witch!), while Lidya Jewett plays Yasmin, another prisoner of the apartment desperate to escape.
I’m no 10-year-old, but if I were, this trailer would scare the bejeezus out of me. Constant death threats, evil cats, and worst of all the bug/aliens whose faces turn into human skulls — it’s too much for me. Um. Er, I mean it would have been too much for me. Back then. When I was 10. Definitely not now. Now I’m a brave boy.
There’s absolutely no word when Nightbooks will make its way to Netflix, but if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say 40-42 days from now. Call it a hunch. In the meantime, hopefully another trailer will drop that explains why the witch prefers stories written by children over a Stephen King novel.