Nightbooks is a Netflix original movie based on the book by J.A. White. A film about a young boy who’s obsessed with scary stories, is it really kid-friendly? I’m breaking down all of the thematic elements, in my Nightbooks Parents Guide and Movie Review. Here’s what parents need to know to help YOU decide if it’s appropriate for kids. As always, no spoilers!
Nightbooks Parents Guide + Movie Review
While I have never read the book by J.A. White, it happens to be my 11 year old son’s favorite. I was thrilled when I first found out it was going to be a movie, however, once I saw the trailer I wasn’t sure how appropriate it would be for children. While the book says it’s aimed for ages 8-12, this appeared to be much more dark. It seemed frightening and had resemblances of a horror film. I knew this would be one movie I needed to watch beforehand to make sure it would be okay for him.
If you’re unfamiliar with the book, Nightbooks is about Alex (Winslow Fegley), a young boy who lives for scary stories. In fact, he writes his own and calls them his “Nightbooks.” Other kids think Alex is weird and calls him names like “Creep Show.” Alex decides to burn his Nightbooks in hopes of being seen as “normal.”
While attempting to destroy his books, he’s lured into an apartment where he discovers his very own horror story. Alex is held prisoner by an evil witch, Natacha (Krysten Ritter). He must tell her a scary story every night in order to stay alive.
Alex meets another prisoner in house, Yasmin (Lidya Jewett). Initially the kids are not fast friends, however, they soon discover they have one thing in common — they want to go home. Eventually the two children decide to work together to find a way to escape.
Is Nightbooks Kid-Friendly? Here’s Your Parents Guide:
Nightbooks arrives on Netflix just in time for spooky season. This is one movie your tweens are going to be asking to add to their Halloween watch list. However, just because they read the book doesn’t necessarily mean the movie will be kid-friendly. While I personally have not read the book, my son read it in school when he was 9 years old. He’s almost 12 now, and it’s still his favorite book. With that being said, the trailer looks dark and mysterious, creepy even! Books might be more descriptive using words, however a movie is visual. Would it be too much? Too scary for kids? Here’s what parents need to know before allowing their children to watch Nightbooks.
Nightbooks is rated TV-PG for suspenseful moments. It has a runtime of 1 hour 43 minutes. I’m going to tell you that the time will fly by, as you’ll be anxiously on the edge of your seat throughout this thrilling adventure. Let’s break down the thematic elements and take a closer look.
Is Nightbooks violent? I’m going to say YES. Alex and Yasmin are literally doing everything they can to appease Natacha to STAY ALIVE. She threatens to murder them daily, and there’s even a few close calls where you think she actually might. Natacha is captivatingly scary. She’s intriguing and beautiful in her own way, but she will send shivers down your spine.
The story of Hansel and Gretel is also thrown in and we all know the witch in that story is known for eating children.
There are also these creatures called “Shredders,” and I think they might be what nightmares are made of. They’re incredibly creepy and will have you squirming in your seat.
There are a few choice words parents might want a heads-up about in Nightbooks. Words like lame, crap, sucks, twits, and idiot are used. There was also one use of H*ll and d*mn. However, the word “stupid” was used in abundance. There was a WHOLE LOT of stupid in Nightbooks. Honestly, I lost count.
Nightbooks is a movie about a child trying to stay alive by telling a horror story each night. This isn’t a happy movie, in fact, Yasmin tells Alex they’re stuck in a place where happy endings don’t exist. For Natacha, the spookier the stories the better. She even says, “This beautiful darkness dances around your brain. You should celebrate it.”
Alex is also shown as being bullied in school. Kids think he’s weird and call him names. He even says at one point “I hate myself.” Those are strong words, especially for a child to hear.
Personally, I don’t agree with the TV-PG rating for Nightbooks, I think TV-PG 13 would have been more appropriate. I cannot stress enough how chilling and DARK this film is. I know you’re wondering if I’ll allow my 11 year old son to watch this movie, and the answer is surprisingly, “yes.” He will absolutely love it…but he likes spooky stories. Trust me, he’s not watching Steven King’s films, but this one he’ll be okay with. He is also a mature 11 year old…he’ll be 12 in just two months. However, there’s not a chance my 7 year old will be seeing this movie. In fact, I’d recommend Nightbooks for ages 12 and up, but I would STRONGLY encourage parents to screen it beforehand. This will help you decide it’s safe for your child. We all know that no two kids are the same, and YOU know your child best.
Nightbooks is bone chilling and creepy to the core. It is incredibly engaging and a thrilling adventure. Personally, I enjoyed this movie very much and I cannot wait to watch it with my older son. I’m tempted to read the book because the film was really that good! Nigthtbooks is filled with twists and turns you won’t see coming. You’ll be glued in for this wild ride. Stream Nightbooks on Netflix September 15, 2021.
When Alex (Winslow Fegley), a boy obsessed with scary stories, is trapped by an evil witch (Krysten Ritter) in her magical apartment, and must tell a scary story every night to stay alive, he teams up with another prisoner, Yasmin (Lidya Jewett), to find a way to escape.
I HOPE YOU FOUND THIS NIGHTBOOKS PARENTS GUIDE AND MOVIE REVIEW HELPFUL FOR YOUR FAMILY. WILL YOU BE WATCHING?!
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