Nightbooks: 5 Things The Movie Got Right (& 5 The Book Did Better)

Nightbooks is the latest Netflix movie based on a book, and it arrived just in time for the spooky season. While the movie follows the same concept as the book, there are some noticeable differences. For example, the witch in the book is described as having dark skin and spiky hair, but in the movie, she is portrayed by Krysten Ritter, who is white and has wavy blue hair.

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Nightbooks is a silly, yet scary witch movie made for children, and it might just become a Halloween classic for a future generation. There are plenty of elements in this movie kids would love, as there are witches, scary stories, and even magic. Still, as fun as the movie may be, there are still some elements of the story that the book handled better.

10 Movie Got Right: Yasmin's Attitude

In the book, Yazmin comes off as barely wanting anything to do with Alex. She avoids him at all costs and often cuts their conversations short, especially when he reveals he wishes to escape.

This is something that doesn't change in the movie. It's clear that survival is most important to her, and she's hesitant to be friends with Alex because she has lost previous friends in the apartment. Her former friends are another detail that the movie kept accurate from the books, especially them being the reason why she's scared to lose anyone else. In both versions of the story, it takes Yazmin a while to warm up to Alex and realize that they can escape together.

9 Book Did Better: Alex's Stories

Alex told plenty of stories in the book, some being about witches, vampires, and many about ghosts. His stories were written in full in the book, with the reader being able to imagine every detail of his tale. They were always very creepy stories.

In the movie, Alex only tells two complete stories, which were visualized quite oddly in the film. It was very clearly a set and the cinematography made it hard to connect to the story he was telling. His stories weren't as scary as they were in the book, and some of the scariest stories were left out entirely.

8 Movie Got Right: The Magical Apartment

In the book, the apartment that draws the kids in is magical and is referred to as having "interior logic." This means that it made sense for the apartment to have unrealistic standards and room sizes because it was owned by a witch.

The movie's interpretation of the apartment was incredibly accurate and displayed the nonsensical shapes and pathways of the apartment perfectly. For example, the library was huge and looked as if it belonged in a mansion. The closet in Alex's bedroom that leads to a conservatory and Natacha's mysterious door that led to a forest are all elements from the book.

7 Book Did Better: Subtle Hints Of Another Witch

In the book, some hints were dropped that Natacha might not be the only magical entity in the apartment. Every time the apartment would shake, it was clear that Natacha also had some fear. She also told the kids that the apartment was alive and needed stories to be kept calm early. There were even hints that Natacha might be "Unicorn Girl," only for the readers who paid very close attention to the language style of the characters.

There was no telling about the apartment being alive in the movie. Instead, it seemed as if Natacha would make the apartment shake herself when she was angry. It was also rare for the apartment to shake in the movie as well, while it was a common occurrence in the novel. Not only that, but it was impossible for movie viewers to make the connection that Natcha could be "Unicorn Girl," although that choice may have been for the better.

6 Movie Got Right: Natacha Criticizing Alex's Stories

Natacha returning home to hear a story from Alex was one of the best parts of the books, as her character always hilariously poked fun at the accuracy of whatever story he told. It was obvious that she was overly confident in herself and wanted to seem like an expert in every topic, which was important for their escape plan.

Just like the book, the kids in the movie also took advantage of her being a know-it-all and used that personality trait of hers to trick her into giving them the final ingredient to a sleeping potion. Natacha is a powerful witch in the movie, but her criticism of Alex's stories is what led to her failure at the end of both versions of Nightbooks.

5 Book Did Better: The Kids' Friendship With Lenore

Lenore started off as a tattle-tale in the book and the kids were very fearful of her. She would constantly spy on the kids and reveal everything they've done to Natacha once she returned home from work. After constant abuse from Natacha, Alex would often stand up for Lenore and try to protect the cat. It wasn't until near the end of the book when Lenore finally trusted the kids and decided to help them.

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In the movie, the kids are barely seen defending Lenore. It seemed as if the cat was never a threat to them, with them openly discussing their escape plans without worrying about Lenore snitching on them. It always seemed as if Lenore was on their side in the movie, but it was the complete opposite in the book.

4 Movie Got Right: The Comparison To Hansel & Gretel

The book plays out like a modern retelling of Hansel and Gretel, with the kids being lured into an apartment by food and things they love, instead of a house made of candy. Nearing the end of the book, it's revealed that the witch from Hansel and Gretel is the original witch who also trapped Natacha and wishes to eat all of them.

Nightbooks the movie is also based on Hansel and Gretel, which was a nice touch since it was important to the plot of the book. The kids came to the same revelation towards the end of the movie that the witch from Hansel and Gretel is real. It's a relief that the movie kept true to the similarities, and also featured the house from the classic horror fairytale Hansel and Gretel in the movie.

3 Book Did Better: Alex's Family

Alex mentions his family quite a few times in the book. He also mentions his brother, who was very important in the story. Alex even faced writer's block and decided to base one of his stories on his relationship with his brother, which was one of the best stories told in the book.

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In the movie, Alex doesn't even have a brother and never mentions how he misses his family or dreams of being with them again. The fact that he doesn't use his family as inspiration for his stories or makes any references to them makes him seem a bit one-dimensional and fails to give the viewer sympathy for him as a reader of the book would have.

2 Movie Got Right: Alex's Horror Obsession

In the novel, Alex is ashamed of himself and was bullied for his horror obsession. He loves all things horror and is drawn to the witch's apartment by a scary movie. Alex makes references to the scariest horror movies like The Ring and Let the Right One In.

Alex is lured to the apartment in the movie for the same reason. While he doesn't directly mention his favorite horror movies, he does have many visible posters on his wall that show his love for horror movies. Yazmin telling him to embrace his weirdness and love of horror in the movie came directly from the book.

1 Book Did Better: The Ending

The book ends with Natacha being eaten by the original witch. After escaping, Alex and Yazmin meet at a park. It's revealed that the two take turns taking care of Lenore, and all of the kids trapped in the apartment are set free.

The movie has a slightly less happy ending, with the kids still trapped in the apartment (aside from Yazmin and Alex), and Natacha being left alive to wreak havoc on more kids. While the part where Alex and Yazmin escape is accurate, it's a shame that Yazmin's former friends are trapped forever. The story having a happy ending is significant because Alex rarely wrote happy endings in his Nightbook. In the movie, the ending feels more like something out of his stories than a true ending.

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