I have always been the person that doesn’t like to be scared. I never watch scary movies, I don’t like ghost stories told over campfires and I will turn on all the lights if I see a funny shadow in the corner. I have an overactive imagination and I can’t be filling my head with all kinds of scary things.
Last year I started watching American Horror Story and found that I could totally handle it. But scary books I still stayed away from – books have a way of getting into your soul like TV shows and movies just can’t.
So that’s why Night Film was sitting on my shelf for over a year. I had asked for it for Christmas last year (having read about it on Lainey Gossip’s site) but then every time I went to read it I was scared off by its size (it’s just over 590 pages) or its content matter.
But then the TBR Pile Challenge happened and I put it on the list. I finished it this weekend and it felt so good.
In a nutshell, five years ago Scott McGrath was researching famous horror director Stanislas Cordova, a recluse for more than 30 years. He got a tip off that something untoward was happening and when he pursued it he basically lost everything. Five years later, Cordova’s daughter Ashley dies at 24. Her death is ruled a suicide, but Scott, knowing what he does about Cordova, suspects that there’s more to the story so he starts investigating. He ends up being assisted by a coat-check girl, Nora (one of the last people to see Ashley alive) and Hopper, a guy that knew Ashley casually when they were younger and winds up poking around the building where she died.
This book is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. You really feel like you are working on the case with Scott – pages of the book are laid out like websites and magazine articles, like you are discovering everything at the same time as Scott. The amount of detail that Marisha Pessl has put into this book is astounding. Cordova is a cult horror director whose films are so scary that they are barely even shown in theatres – they are underground. He has diehard fans that have set up an alternate internet to secretly discuss everything Cordova. Pessl has created an entire database of films and actors and backstories, entire movie plotlines and film signatures for the critics and fans to dissect.
I’m a reader that likes dialogue, who tends to get lost in sequences that are all action or descriptive. There’s an entire section of the book where Scott is lost, alone. Normally I end up skimming these kinds of pages. But Pessl had me completely enthrall to this book and I read every word, clutching the book between white knuckled fingers.
There is no other book like Night Film. It’s something completely original and incredible and I’m jealous if you still get to read it for the first time.