Black Mirror’s new movie will have you hanging on the edge of your seat


The interactive movie Bandersnatch is taking the internet by storm. Netflix created a film that allows the audience to choose how the story is told. Bandersnatch is the first movie based on the Netflix series Black Mirror.

Abigail Kapoor, Contributing Writer

Netflix forever changed the storytelling experience by challenging traditional film norms when it released Black Mirror: Bandersnatch on Dec. 28.  The film is extraordinary due to its interactive component, 1980s influence, and incorporation of elements of both psychological thriller and science fiction.

With its clever design, Bandersnatch compels viewers to think more critically about the consequences of every decision they make.  The default path for the standalone film is 90 minutes, but viewers are able to make decisions for the main character by choosing between several options offered.  This choice will determine the actions of the main character, and ultimately determine his fate at the end of the film. In this way, the film can be viewed for even up to 312 minutes.

“I think that what makes this film so exciting is being able to control the storyline,” said freshman Lucy Barr. 

Although the movie everyone watches can be slightly different, the basic story itself is quite simple.  Taking place in 1984, the film follows a genius computer programmer, Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead), who is commissioned by a popular video game company to construct a new game.

Butler is traumatized by the death of his mother when he was five, and creates a choose-your-own experience video game based on a book that he has treasured since childhood.  He develops the video game to include a multitude of pathways, which lead to an assortment of different conclusions. 

The movie begins to blur as viewers question whether or not they are watching a movie or playing a video game.  Interestingly enough, the film itself is about a highly interactive video game that oscillates between reality and a virtual world.  In addition, it also discusses ideas pertaining to other dark dimensions, namely those that have the ability to bend time.

Throughout the duration of the film, viewers are kept engaged as they actively manipulate the storyline.  Sometimes, however, the viewer may hit a dead end. This forces them to replay a section of the movie and change their previous decisions. In this manner, each experience is uniquely constructed and is as adventurous, or as dark, as the viewer chooses.

“I loved that were so many different possible endings to this movie,” said freshman Avery Miller.

The initial decisions involve simple choices, like which cereal Stephan eats or the type of music he listens to.  As the storyline progresses, the decisions are more life-altering, such as whether or not Stephan takes drugs, shouts at his father, or jumps off a building.

More gruesome choices include whether to “Kill Dad” or “Back Off,” or whether to “Bury Body” or “Chop It Up.”  The ultimate fantasy lies in the viewer directing Stephan’s behavior.

“I found many different endings after watching and choosing different scenarios,” said senior Nick Kapoor. 

 In fact, Bandersnatch director David Slade explained that some endings are so difficult to achieve and hidden that audiences may never find them.

Netflix’s Bandersnatch offers a unique experience: a masterpiece that allows the audience to directly interact with the course of the film.

The film had viewers on the edge of their seats as they controlled what would come next within the movie.  It will be interesting to see if this is just the beginning of a new trend of interactive movies, or if Bandersnatch will be the lone pioneer in its field.