Directed by David Yarovesky and co-produced by horror maestro Sam Raimi, Netflix’s fairy tale horror flick ‘Nightbooks’ is a dreamy, menacing, and exuberant tale that is bound to take you back to your childhood days. The story revolves around Alex, a child prodigy with a particular flair for ghost stories. After a visceral dream, he gets transported to the witch’s moving apartment. Now, on the witch’s insistence, he must deliver one scary tale every day.
He teams up with fellow prisoner Yasmin, and after finding clues from a mysterious “unicorn girl” hidden in the old books of the witch’s library, he must figure out the escape routes back to his home. This modern-day ‘Hansel and Gretel’ is a compelling and combustive tale complete with impeccable set designing and camerawork. Although the story is seemingly well-rounded, a final scene keeps the audience craving for more. If you are curious about the finality of the story, let us break down the penultimate moments for you. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Nighbooks Plot Synopsis
In the prologue, Alex dreams a dream, where his parents arrange for him the perfect spooky house, but the house turns gloomy. He ventures out into the corridors and wakes up as if from a dream. Voila, Alex is at the witch’s moving apartment, and he suspects that the stupid pumpkin pie had something to do with it. Natacha, the witch, appears before Alex and inquires about his abilities.
Alex is a budding writer of scary stories, but he was about to burn his titular night book of ghost stories. But Alex passes the interview, and the witch is seemingly convinced. Now he has to recite a scary story to Natacha every day to keep her content. However, the witch is herself well-versed in haunting stories, and she abhors happy endings. As the witch keeps dismissing his compelling tales, Alex comes to meet the other prisoner Yasmin, who takes Alex to the witch’s vast library of gothic tales.
Disheartened by the witch’s criticism, Alex veers off to the dusty upper floors of the library. The library seemingly has it all – from ‘Hansel and Gretel’ to ‘Frankenstein.’ When turning the pages of ‘Frankenstein,’ Alex comes to discover fairly recent handwritten notes on the margins. The handwriting possibly belongs to another inmate who tried to escape (whom Alex names the unicorn girl). Inspired by the unicorn girl, Alex devises an escape plan of his own.
Nightbooks Ending: Is Natacha the Unicorn Girl?
Natacha is the eccentric and evil witch of the story, with a penchant for spooky tales herself. She has seemingly held Alex and Yasmin captive to fill her spook-o-meter. However, she is not as enthusiastic about the stories as she seems, even though she puts up superficial excitement before Alex. Alex struggles to develop stories for Natacha while he tries to collect clues from the unicorn girl.
According to an inscription on a page, she was an inmate who planned to escape the apartment. Looking at the disobedient kids at the witch’s disposal (who have turned into toy figures by her power), Alex sees a resemblance between all of them. All wear a distinct ornament, but as there is no figure which seems like a unicorn, Alex deduces that the unicorn girl successfully fled the apartment.
The mist that the witch uses to stay forever youthful, we know towards the end, comes from the old witch. Following the recipe of the unicorn girl, Alex creates a sleeping potion and attempts to mix it with Natacha’s lemonade. The drink changes color into a stark green, and he cannot present the drink to the witch. However, Lenore comes to the rescue by mixing the sleeping potion into the mist sprayer.
Banking on the chance of escapade, Alex and Yas grab the keys of the witch and exit through the backdoor. They come out into a dense forest and find the house made of food, like in the story ‘Hansel and Gretel.’ With the discovery, Alex realizes that the fabled duo did exist, and they were in the custody of the witch, like Alex and Yasmin. Scratching at the bark of a tree, Yasmin realizes that they are still in the apartment, and the jungle is artificial.
In the meantime, the effect of the sleeping potion wanes, and the witch appears before Alex and Yasmin. Yasmin sees her refilling her mist sprayer from a seeming coffin, and Natacha divulges to the party that the person in the coffin is the old witch, who, true to the stories, indeed eats children. Just before the showdown, Natacha comes to reveal her true identity – she is the unicorn girl.
Is Natacha Dead or Alive?
As per her story, Natacha was an inmate in the custody of the witch, much like Alex and Yasmin. However, she escaped from the witch’s clutches and went back to her home, only to discover that her parents had left her. With the saddening discovery, Natacha returned to the witch’s lair, intending to become the witch herself. It’s not Natacha who seeks to hear ghost stories – the stories are rather meant for keeping the old witch in deep slumber.
But Alex does not have a story, and he improvises to an extent. Alex begins an improv story called ‘The Birthday Party.’ The story unearths that Alex wanted to burn down the books because his classmates thought him to be weird, and not a single soul turned up at his horror-themed birthday party. But Alex asserts the power of friendship, and the old witch wakes up, smelling a happy ending. A battle of sorcery ensues between her and Natacha.
In the battle, the old witch seemingly assails Natacha, as we see her gloved hand falling motionless on the floor. So, viewers would naturally think her to be dead. But the final moment makes us think otherwise. One of the enslaved figures moves a hand in the penultimate sequence, and Natacha appears with her characteristic laughter. Going by the final scene, Natacha is still alive in all likelihood, although we do not see her face.
Is The Old Witch Dead or Alive? Can Alex and Yasmin Escape?
After seeing two witches engaging in a visceral battle, Alex and Yasmin flee for their lives. However, after dealing with Natacha, the old witch advances towards the children. However, the kids deal with the witch with commendable strength and cunning. The old witch seemingly loves horror stories more than her life, and when Alex throws his night book to the furnace, the witch jumps into the fire to retrieve it. Unbeknownst to the witch, it is a trap. Just as she enters the furnace, Alex and Yasmin manage to keep the door closed until she is burned to ashes. Scratching the surface of the magical apartment, Alex finds a way back home.
The apartment seemingly has not moved since Alex and Yasmin come out in the corridor of Alex’s home. They get in the elevator, but in a momentary jump-scare, the old witch appears again from the elevator ceiling. She bursts into a syrupy liquid, and that is definitely the end of her. Alex, Yasmin, and Lenore find the way back to Alex’s home. In the final moment, Alex finally appears before his parents. As his parents greet him, Alex introduces them to his new friends. With this endearing note, the story lingers on in the viewers’ minds. Although Natacha does not like happy endings, we are not complaining!
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