Night Film- by Marisha Pessl

night filmThis book, for me, suffered from the same fatal flaw as just about every other horror book/story/movie I have ever encountered: intriguing opening premise, disappointing resolution.  This makes sense, in a way.  The only reason a horror story starts interesting is because of the mystery.  Suspense.  Who/what is the bad guy/monster?  But once that mystery is resolved, it is no longer exciting.  And the answer is almost always disappointing.  Part of the reason for this is that there is only a limited universe of possibilities: aliens, a dream, a drug/psychosis induced hallucination, the government, something supernatural, and/or something completely implausible.  I guess this book didn’t exactly subscribe to those parameters.  It hinted at maybe being one or two of them (the supernatural/bad people), then kind of halfway inferred a completely non-evil explanation (terminal illness and corresponding strangeness).  But then in the very end, it kind of went back to halfway inferring that maybe there was something more secretive/sinister going on, before ending out of nowhere in a “punting,” disappointing fashion.  The only thing worse than a bad or cheesy resolution is no resolution masquerading as intentional mysterious vagueness.  In a way, I felt cheated, and disappointed I’d invested so much time in the rest of the book.

The writing itself, on a micro level at least, was good, though I don’t think I’ve ever seen italics so abused, and hope to never do so again.  The story grabbed me at times, and there was some good tension and suspense, especially in the beginning, but it left me in the end feeling empty.

The author did use the term “besotted,” so points for that.  I liked and disliked all the visuals.  I think it’s a sad state of affairs if books for presumably literate adults need to be filled with pictures and other visual effects.  What are we five?  At the risk of sounding alarmist, the proliferation of this kind of hyper-visual “literature” strikes me as another step towards the beginning of the end.

A world with no books that aren’t more pictures than words: now that’s a real horror story.

One thought on “Night Film- by Marisha Pessl

  1. I was absolutely ANNOYED and totally put off by the italic emphasis in this book. It might make a better movie?

    Movie version of the first story in Alice Munro’s collection called Friendship, Hateship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (story is book title (have you read?) and movie title is Friendship, Hateship) about two girls who fabricate a correspondence between their (unknowing) nanny and dad (the side they write), stars Kristen Wiig (one of my favorites) is a good movie.

    Another recently viewed movie, August: Osage County, I didn’t like and was too depressing for my tastes. Then again, I’m not going to be a fan of many movies starring Julia Roberts.

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