… the mystery surrounding cult horror film director Stanislas Cordova? In Night Film by Marisha Pessl, the story itself is a hardboiled mystery novel with strong horror elements. Scott McGrath, a publicly ridiculed journalist, sets out to revive his reputation by investigating an enigmatic horror film director with a large cult following named Stanislas Cordova. It was his previous investigation of this director that tarnished his image, but now Scott thinks he has a story that will reveal dark secrets about the director, his films, and his family.
I was FASCINATED by the depiction of the director’s fan base, which was depicted through a series of mock websites and forum posts scattered throughout the novel. Some critics claim that this device tries too hard to be clever, but I loved it. It added to the story without being intrusive, and it gave the book a distinctly modern feel. And for an even more modern touch, readers can download a free app that provides more backstory wherever Cordova’s symbol appears on the page. I didn’t download the app, but it’s an interesting literary device in this era of electronic reading.
Some of the characters refer to Cordova’s films as mind altering, life changing, gruesome, and disturbing, and some speculated that the violence in Cordova’s films was actually real. Other characters speculated that Cordova was involved with demonic worship. And deep down, a dark and disturbed part of me wished that I could see these transformative films for myself. This, to me, is the mark of a truly great novel – a story that has you so enthralled, you start to believe that it’s real. Anyone with a taste for dark and disturbing literature should definitely give Night Film a try
Reviewed by Katie (staff)