Monday, May 16, 2022

Book Review | Night Film


Rating ⭐

Initial reaction: Good gracious, what a slog that was. I read this one because it was on a spooky books list from BookRiot. Nothing remotely spooky or sinister about it. The insufferable main character wandered from one clue to the next with the help of two sidekicks. He was utterly boring, and that made what should’ve been an attention-grabbing book utterly boring as well. I don’t even know why I kept reading. I should’ve DNFed it. I guess I kept hoping for some shocking twist, and my persistence would be rewarded. Big fat nope. This book was an absolute waste of time.


After a couple weeks away, my initial assessment has not changed. This book was absolute shit.

So our main character Scott is a former investigative journalist who had previously done a piece on the elusive Stanislas Cordova and it ended up costing him his career. Cordova is hyped up as this cult-figure director who has not been seen in public in thirty years. But Cordova is back on Scott's radar when his beautiful daughter Ashley is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in NYC, her tragic death ruled a suicide. Scott doesn't believe it was a suicide and embarks on a ridiculous adventure because of his own vendetta against Cordova, who he has built up in his mind as this mythical being who must be taken down.

At least, that's how it all came across to me.

Oh, and I almost forgot - his wife left him too. So now he hates women and is incredibly sexist. More on this in a bit.

Cordova and his family have lived on this secluded estate for decades and his movies were so disturbing and unsettling that they're impossible to find and you have to bootleg copies from the darkest depths of the Internet or whatever.

So Scott begins his boring journey, picking up two sidekicks along the way who had absolutely nothing to the story because all the characters are so flat, the only way I knew who was talking was because of the author's identification of who was speaking when.

We are repeatedly reminded about how elusive Cordova is. There are very few known photographs of him, and in most of those that do exist, the photo doesn't show his whole face. He bought this huge estate and filmed the majority of his movies there, and everyone signed NDAs and blah blah blah.

Yet every single person Scott and his two dopes talk to spill every last possible detail to them, so that these idiots just wander from person to person, getting more information. While they don't get to Cordova himself, they talk to tons of people who are connected to the family in some way, either personally or professionally, or by pure chance.

As that is the basic set-up, each new conversation feels incredibly repetitive and you find yourself wondering if you already read this conversation a few pages back. Nope! Just someone new, ready to give Scott all the info he needs to keep plodding along.

The investigation that was supposed to be about Ashley really is all about her dad and Scott just can't let go. We see lot of media that they stumble on along the way - interviews given in newspapers and magazines, blog posts, chat forums, photos, medical reports, etc. Some of it is also from Scott's personal stash, from his previous investigation. It's all just more info-dumping that we and Scott need to figure out what's going on. I think this is actually a pretty useful tool, in the right story. But it didn't work here.

Scott himself is also super problematic because he is a racist, sexist d-bag. I still don't quite know if that was the author's intention or not, but I hated him in a way that was probably unintentional. Now if you have read any of my reviews in the past, you know I am cool with unreliable and unlikable characters. They make book-life more interesting at times.

The issue is, Scott is not unlikable in that way. He is simply a terrible character and terrible human and I hated him and pretty much everything he said and thought.

The only purpose for any character of Color is to help Scott further his investigation. And all the while as they give him the info he needs, he is judging them for obviously not being as perfect as him, the white male who is obviously the true star of the book, forget even Ashley - despite it being her death that led to all of this anyway.

Scott is aided at various times by: a Black taxi-drive (with gold teeth), a Hispanic hotel maid who annoys him with her 'superstitious ramblings', and a Chinese man. Literally the only diversity in the whole book are people who fit stereotypes of that certain race or culture. Gross.

Sexism abounds as well, as this Bitter Betty can't get over his divorce. He constantly comments on his ex-wife's looks and how he wishes she was not as beautiful. Like, he wants her to be ugly now because they're divorced. What? It's CONSTANT. Like, every time they interact.

The writing itself is also pretty lackluster. It really was such a slog to get through but I kept going because I thought that surely there would be something suspenseful, some twist or turn that would make it all worthwhile. Nope. Not even a little bit. But you can definitely tell the author thinks she is just the most clever by a lot of this nonsense, especially the actual ending.

Since the author IS so much smarter than us, she provides tons of explanations for things she just wrote, immediately, usually in parentheses. I like to think of myself as a fairly intelligent human being who does not require such help, but who knows at this point I guess, since I hated this book so much.

Very highly NOT recommended.


  1. Thanks for reading (and reviewing) shit - so the rest of us don't have to (read it that is). Back luck with two bad books so close together though! You 'off your game' lately?

    1. Truthfully, sometimes I finish shitty books because I know the reviews I will get to write about them will amuse me greatly. It's a bonus when my reviews of shitty books amuse others as well. I have been all over the place with reviews too, some reviews are of books I just finished and some are books from a few weeks back. The end of the school year has been killing me, with so many meetings to get kiddos services who qualify for special education support. But the last student day was today, then two teacher work days next week, then I am free to hang out with my baby girl and read alllllll summer!

  2. "racist, sexist d bag" lol. And wow the diversity (or lack) sounds SO stereotypical. Ugh. Bummer this one didn't get better at all...

    1. It was all just stupid. And dumb. And every other synonym you can think of.

  3. LOL! But why don't you tell us how you REALLY felt about this loser of a book?

  4. Ouch. This sounds like everything I hate in books haha. We definitely need to find you a good and spooky read to make things up to you!

    1. it was just so BORING! And not spooky. So yes, get me a spooky book rec ASAP!

  5. Too bad the book was too slow and boring!

  6. Yeah, it's a no from me! I would never touch this book with a ten foot pole!


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