NOW ON ALL GAMING CONSOLES! Loralyn (Julie Dray) is a translator living in London, trying to make a name for herself. However, during a call with some clients, she accidentally reads from an ancient book and unleashes a demon into her home. Now, she must deal with this threat while keeping her mentally unstable father and unborn child safe from the terrors that have been released into the world. Told through the literal lenses of the security cameras placed throughout her house, Night Book tells the story of Loralyn fighting these monsters as she tries to get her life back on track.
The film, written by Megan Jones and directed by Alex Lightman, is an immersive experience in which viewers have the opportunity to quite literally play along. As the story unfurls, viewers are given the option to make decisions for the protagonist using their gaming controller. These branching choices affect how her story transpires and concludes. The choose-your-own-adventure style is wonderful, as it lends viewers an extra level of engagement as they co-create the narrative. This means that there’s more reason to invest in the story, its twists and turns, and the characters.
“…the story of Loralyn fighting these monsters as she tries to get her life back on track.”
The immersive nature proves to be essential as the narrative progresses. However, I found Night Book, in all honesty, to be a bit boring. The overall story is somewhat uninteresting, and it’s only held together simply by the fact that I play an active role in it. Loralyn’s journey is a bit too slow and unappealing in the grand scheme of things. While the subpar nature of the screenplay may cause potential viewers to turn their noses up to experiencing all that is on offer. However, it is crucial to keep in mind that being a part of the solution (or the problem, depending on how you choose to respond to the scenarios) makes the film rewarding.
What is most impressive about the way Alex Lightman directs this unique venture is the way the literally hundreds of potential scenes flow together flawlessly. As previously mentioned, the viewer is provided the opportunity to choose how aspects of the film transpire. This leaves the potential for choppy editing or inconsistent acting to take away from the overall impact. The reality is that, even after making my way through Night Book numerous times, expecting to see issues of this nature, I found that it all played out seamlessly. Regardless of the options the viewer chooses, every transition feels natural and emotionally realistic.
Regardless of the fact that I don’t love the story by Jones, Lightman knows how to piece things together to make a unique and cohesive journey. Paired with some talented individuals, including Dray, Mark Wingett, and Jonathan Cullen, Lightman brings to life a story that combines aspects of Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Host to create an experience worth taking. If one thing is for sure after watching Night Book, Lightman certainly isn’t lacking in terms of creativity, and I believe that whatever he develops in the future will be worthwhile.
"…a unique and cohesive journey."