Nightbooks summary and ending explained

Netflix’s new original movie ‘Nightbooks’ is a modern take on the classic story of Hansel and Gretel. The film stars Krysten Ritter, Lidya Jewett and Winslow Fegley and is directed by David Yarovesky.

‘Nightbooks’ is about a boy named Alex (Fegley) who loves everything horror and writes scary stories. However, one night while his parents fight in another room, he packs a bag full of his stories and decides to burn them.

Angrily running into the elevator and punching the button, he is brought to a sudden halt at a spooky floor. Alex hears his favourite film and smells a delicious pumpkin pie and thus, gets lured into a lonesome apartment. Not long after biting into the pie, he faints.

Amidst the panic of his whereabouts, Alex is encountered by a Witch (Ritter). She threatens to kill him unless he has a talent that would please her enough to do otherwise. To save his life, Alex blurts that he writes spooky stories. Intrigued with the discovery, the Witch traps him in the apartment with the sole purpose of listening to a story every night.

Will Alex be able to pull a new story enough to live through his personal nightmare?

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‘Nightbooks’ ending explained in detail:

The unicorn girl

After being stuck in the apartment’s enormous library, Alex discovers little notes on the corners of a girl who once tried to escape, and was seemingly successful. Sharing this news with Yasmin (Jewett), the duo hatches a plan.

Alex successfully retrieves the last ingredient needed for the portion to make it. After a little hurdle, they open the apartment backdoor to a forest only to discover it was not freedom at all. But only an illusion of it. 

They are chased by an evil unicorn to a gingerbread house decorated with colourfully appetising candies. Enchanted by it, Yasmin is lured into the house and Alex follows her.

They wake up to be prisoned by the Witch and discover the truth behind her powers. She had been harvesting it from the Original Witch. Alex realised that meant the Witch was like him and Yasmin, a scared abducted child. But also that the Witch escaped, meaning she was The Unicorn Girl all along.

After escaping the apartment, she learnt that her parents had moved away, which forced her to return.

Alex’s story

Upon being forced to share his saddening story, Alex’s reason to burn his nightbooks is fully revealed. It turns out that the kids at his school thought of him and his stories to be weird and creepy. He was cast out as ‘Creepy’ by his schoolmates. 

That night was his birthday party, and his parents had turned their apartment into a haunted house. Alex was excited about his party. He knew that regardless of what may come, his best friend since kindergarten, Josh would come. 

During a class, Alex happily informed Josh about a new story he had written and how Josh would absolutely love this one. He also exclaimed how his parents decorated his house for the party. 

However, Josh turned down Alex’s offer for another kid’s gaming party that was going to take place the same night. And so, Alex spent his birthday party heartbroken with his parents fighting in the background.

In this forlorn state, he decided to burn his stories and start anew. And thus transpired the events of the film.

The showdown

Alex’s story had a happy ending, as he met a new friend and embraced his ‘weirdness’, a phenomenon disliked by the Original Witch. Now awake from her deep slumber, the Original Witch breaks down the Gingerbread house and seemingly kills the unicorn girl.  

In the true essence of Hansel and Gretel’s tale, we see the trapped children team up and destroy the witches with bravery and smartness. Just like the classic Grimm’s tale, the Original Witch dies by being pushed into the oven.

In the moment, Alex had remembered that Original Witch loved scary, sad, cold tales. He used this information to lure her away from Yasmin, who then ends up pushing the wicked Witch into the burning hot oven.

However, in the last moments of the dark fantasy film, when everything is well and good, ‘Nightbooks’ ends with the cackle of the Unicorn Girl and her hand slamming on the ground. The end, or is it?


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