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Night Film

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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  79,703 ratings  ·  10,519 reviews
On a damp October night, 24-year-old Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley's life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive ...more
Paperback, 602 pages
Published August 20th 2013 by Random House (first published July 16th 2013)
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M Jessica, me too! :) In addition to the Lynch, Kubrick and von Trier suggested below, I'd also suggest Dario Argento's 'Suspiria.' It ends in a silly w…moreJessica, me too! :) In addition to the Lynch, Kubrick and von Trier suggested below, I'd also suggest Dario Argento's 'Suspiria.' It ends in a silly way but up until then it's very eerie, with a nice, creepy score, and amazing visuals/production design.(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  79,703 ratings  ·  10,519 reviews


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Jesse (JesseTheReader)
(4.5)
HOLY MOLY THIS BOOK WAS FANTASTIC. F A N T A S T I C. The only reason I'm giving it a 4.5 is because it felt unnecessarily long. Even though I flew through this sucker, I feel like it could have been condensed a bit. Other than that this was SO SO SO GOOD. AHHH.
karen
good lord, remember marisha pessl?? she of Special Topics in Calamity Physics fame?? remember the immense fawning hordes of fans and the praise surrounding that book?? you might not, it was 7 years ago and all. but it was a Very Big Deal at the time.

and it was a book that i personally thought was just okay. i am a tough judge of books that claim to be like The Secret History. i might have said this once or twice or a dozen times on the internet. and i thought special topics was fine, just a litt
...more
eb
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A failure on nearly every level. The characters are paper-flat, they all speak in exactly the same (preposterous) voice, and none of them develop an inch. "But that's okay," you might argue; "Pessl's writing a thriller, and plot is her main concern." Fine, but the plot of this novel is deeply, deeply boring. Night Film reads like a would-be thriller by someone who's never actually read a thriller or a mystery. The protagonist stumps around from obvious clue to obvious clue, talking to a host of ...more
Chelsea Humphrey
I believe this book will be in my top 3 I have read for the year. It's been awhile since a book completely captivated me and sucked me in so thoroughly that I was sneaking around my house to finish it and avoid my everyday duties. :) No spoilers here as I don't want to ruin the book for anyone.


This book is about the death and investigation of Ashley Cordova, daughter to elusive horror filmmaker Stan Cordova. Enter Scott McGrath, a journalist who previously tried to come after Cordova which cause
...more
megs_bookrack
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
**4.5-stars**

Night Film is a complete and total mindf*ck. There's honestly no better way to explain it.



It is really good. Like, really, really good.



Creative, dark and gripping.

It wraps you up in this world of Cordova and has you second guessing everyone, even yourself.



Who is Cordova?

In this story, he is an uber-famous film director; mysterious and untouchable. He is the shadow that looms over this entire book.



Our protagonist, Scott McGrath, is a fallen-from-grace investigative reporter who b
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
 photo sig_zps9b79c50d.png

Has it happened yet? Have the oh-so-annoying cover notations calling every new release the “new Gone Girl” ceased and “the new Night Film” labels taken over?. If so, the loud bang you will soon hear will be my head exploding.

If Kubrick, Polanski, Hitchock, and Tarantino had a twisted little baby, his name would most likely have been Stanislas Cordova. A genius who gained fame immediately after his first horror film release – Cordova has spent his life in exile on his private estate (hmmmmm,
...more
Melanie
This review is probably going to be on the controversial side, but I found Night Film very racist, transphobic, and sexist. Some of the dialogue was so problematic for me that I had to take constant breaks. I even had to use a reward system to just finish this book.

I know many of my friends, who I respect and love, gave this five stars. Some even claimed it was their favorite read of 2015. I'm happy for them, and I'm happy a book brought them so much joy. That's the beauty of reading: everyone
...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Update: $1.99 on Kindle in the US today. I'm not sure if they will have all of the pictures like my paperback does but I think you can look inside the kindle book on Amazon. 7-18-17

I am adding a good bit of pictures from the book to my review. There are too many to show them all but I wanted you to get an idea. They are not the greatest of pictures but I hope you enjoy them because it took quite a bit of time to get this set up. ****SOME MILD SPOILERS****

The book centers around Ashley Cordova's
...more
j e w e l s
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-bejeweled
FIVE STARS
NO SPOILERS. I PROMISE!

After spending a whole day peeling back the Night Film tentacles from around my head, I can gratefully report that I’m almost back to my normal self after reading this one.

Let me correct the last part of that sentence. You do not simply read Night Film. Before you open this book, take a moment to prepare yourself.

You are about to enter into a multi-media, multi-sensory whole body experience. GET READY FOR A black magic curse to be cast on your soul!!!

SIDE E
...more
jessica
huh. not sure what to think about this one. im tentatively rating this, but it very well could change. while i think i liked this overall, there are some parts i didnt.

i LOVED the interactive portion of this story. i found the online webpages, pictures, case files, news articles, and other documents to be extremely effective, immersive, and highly entertaining. they add much needed depth to a pretty singular story and makes it feel incredibly realistic.

while the writing is actually pretty good
...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gothic
 photo RedCoat_zpsfbdlc4xl.jpg

”Whatever the truth about Cordova, within fifteen horrifying films, he taught us how our eyes and minds perpetually deceive us--that what we know to be certain never is.”

In the shadows stood a girl in a red coat.

Stanislas Cordova disappeared from public life thirty years ago. Scott McGrath, an investigative reporter, made an attempt to uncover the truth about Cordova and his films. McGrath paid a heavy price financially when Cordova sued him, and also professionally when some of his allegati
...more
Regan
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
well uh, this was a mind f*cker

"to the edge of the end" - yup sums it up I would say
Matthew
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Matthew by: Morgannah
My brain hurts

It was a dark and stormy night, etc. etc. etc. Everything you think is happening, is actually not and everything that might be, never was.



Join in the mystical vortex of dark cinema, arcane magic, creepy asylums, abandoned estates, human sacrifice, drug addicted-washed up movie stars, black market voodoo, and death - cleansing, therapeutic death. While nature has it's way with the mortal bodies, demons haunt the immortal soul.



Solve the mystery or be a part of it - will you come out
...more
Delee
Today is the day Night Film hits the shelves!

I received a copy of this book from first reads giveaway. :) :) :)

May I just say WOW!

This was a case of love at first sight. I fell in love with NIGHT FILM before I even knew what it was about.

I was trolling through the Goodreads giveaways and spotted the cover and I thought "I must have this book!" Then I read the blurb, and I said to myself " I reeeeeeeeeeally must have this book!" So I watched and I waited for what seemed like a really looooong
...more
Felicia
meh
/me/
INFORMAL

exclamation
1. expressing a lack of interest or enthusiasm.

"Meh. I'm not impressed so far"

adjective
1. uninspiring; unexceptional.

"a lot of his movies are … meh"



On a side note:
What in the *insert clever euphemism* is up with all of the italics?

Practically every sentence has one or more words in italic. Not only did I not get it but it was super distracting. At one point I thought the author had embedded some sort of code into the text so then I became even more distracted trying to
...more
Emma Giordano
Feb 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
MY GOD THIS BOOK WAS AMAZING!!

I absolutely ADORED Night Film! I had been putting off this book for quite a while 1. because it's GIANT and 2. it's adult, and I am primarily a young adult reader. The synopsis of the book really intrigued me because I am such a junkie for anything psychological, thrilling, investigative, and mysterious, so I felt that Night Film would be the perfect fit for me . . . AND IT WAS!

Night Film was honestly SO gripping! The visualization of this story was off the charts;
...more
Kemper
Sep 29, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kemper by: Dan Schwent
Either I’m a lot dumber than I thought, or this book isn’t as smart as it thinks it is. Or maybe both. Ambiguity! It’s a bitch.

Scott McGrath used to be a hotshot investigative journalist until he started looking into mysterious and reclusive film director Stanilas Cordova who has been holed up in his remote estate making underground masterpieces of suspense that seem to ruin the lives of almost everyone involved with them. (Think M. Night Shyamalan before we all realized that he actually sucks.
...more
Jennifer Masterson
Jul 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
4.5 Stars. I listened to the audio version.

I'm late to the party but boy am I glad I went! This book has been reviewed to death so I will just give my thoughts on it.

This is a fantastic audiobook if you have the time! It's over 23 hours!

5 Stars for the story, especially since it kept me guessing until the end.

4 Stars for how this book translated into audio. There were a couple parts that were difficult but if you have a copy of the book on hand it will help.

5 Huge Stars for the narration by ac
...more
Jason
Sep 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is often the roll your eye moments of books or movies that weaken the reading/viewing experience for me, but I have to be honest in saying that I cannot always define what exactly triggers those eye rolls. I think sometimes it is the predictability of the plot, other times the outrageousness of coincidence or lack of plausibility. If I get the impression I am being manipulated to feel a certain way, I bristle and balk. But what happens when a book commits one or more of these grave errors and ...more
Dan Schwent
Sep 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dan by: Edward Lorn
When the daughter of a legendary reclusive film director commits suicide, disgraced investigative reporter Scott McGrath sees his chance for redemption, for he crossed paths with the director, Stanislas Cordova, years before, costing him his family and his career. What will McGrath find when he begins tugging at the strands of Cordova's web?

When I interviewed Edward Lorn for my book blog, he mentioned this among his favorite books. At the time, I saw that it had some post-modern aspects and dism
...more
Jeff
Back in high school English class, when the topic turned to themes or leitmotifs or metaphors that was my cue to zone out and explore my theoretical sex life; consequently, a book that wears this kind of stuff on its sleeve has a tendency to leave me cold – it all swirls around a creepy, reclusive film director whose work challenges his fans to rethink what the meaning of life is all about. (Whatever happened to Joel Schumacher?) Toss in the death of his daughter (Did she jump or was she pushed? ...more
Scarlet
Aug 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who prefer the chase, not the treasure.
Shelves: horror
3.5

Night Film opens with one hell of a prologue - easily the best I have ever come across. Those opening pages exude such authentic creepiness that it becomes impossible to not keep turning the pages, to not want to know more about the enigma of the reclusive legendary Hollywood director, Stanislas Cordova. This, I believe, is Pessl's greatest achievement here. With multimedia inclusions and some tight writing, she manages to do in a handful of pages what so many authors spend entire books tryin
...more
Laura
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Disappointing. The woo-woo spookiness was captivating for about 200 pages, but then it just went on and on and my eyes began to roll with boredom. Wasn’t intrigued by Cordova; never fully believed McGrath would team up with two amateurs; thought it was oh-so-convenient how one clue always seemed to lead directly to another; scoffed when I learned who now runs The Peak (and McGrath never discovered that when he apparently could discover what someone ate for breakfast?); and double scoffed when ma ...more
Moira Russell
I have absolutely no idea why this has so many FIVE-STAR reviews. Y'all are tripping. And all that ranting about OMG SPOILERS SUCH AN INTRICATE STRUCTURE SPOILERS? Bullshit. I will lay this book out for you:

(view spoiler)
...more
Andrew Smith
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a big rambling tome that qualifies as one of those ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ books. It may drag you in and drown you in it’s theatrical intensity, leaving you craving even more than the six hundred plus pages it provides or maybe it’ll switch you off and have you tossing it on the DNF pile, and pretty quicksmart too. So where do I sit on this one? Well, paradoxically I sit in both camps. Let me explain.

Scott McGrath is a well respected investigative journalist who has made a career out of p
...more
Oriana
Mar 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Oriana by: Greg
Oh la, I have the greatest friends: Karen Queen of Goodreads and Greg King of B&N conspired to help me get my hot little hands on an ARC of this a bunch of months before it's published.

But of course, I now find myself in a very precarious position. I mean, I want to jump and shout and tell you all about this crazy amazing book and how brilliant and sprawling and incredible it is! But that would be irresponsible and cruel, because this book is just loaded with spoiler-traps, and it would be awfu
...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I started this book Friday and my whole weekend involved it. I'm a nosy bit so I kept leaving it to Google things that come up in the story. The author did an amazing job of her research. She was spot on everything that I had questions about. This book is so very dark though. I had several times that I had to leave it alone because I honestly felt so creeped out that I felt like I was being watched.
I'm not going to go into the story line because really you should read this book. Dark magic, witc
...more
Bradley
Re-read 10/30/19

I can honestly say it still retains all its charms. :) I feel like I just stood at the crossroads, got cursed, was given a crash course in psychology, and then, when I feel like rationality might once again hold its sway over me, I'm pushed over the rail.

Nice. Very nice. :)


Original review:

So as I was thinking about this book, I was struck by just how much of a search for god or the devil it had become, a true horror in the evocative feels, a true mystery by it's investigations an
...more
Greg
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If in Vegas there were futures bets available on authors I would have imagine that Marisha Pessl would have been a pretty sure thing on hitting the sophomore slump. I could picture the odds being something like -1400, or somewhere around +1200 for surpassing her first book.

She was the 'it' writer for a season. Some people loved her book (I would be in that camp). Some thought it was overly derivative (I'm in that camp, too!) and some turned their noses up at it, but it got a lot of attention. I
...more
J.K. Grice
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
"The truth about what happens to us in this world keeps changing....it never stops."

I think this quote is a perfect summation for the theme of NIGHT FILM. This book is a great supernatural thriller that delves into the basic mystery of TRUTH: our constant pursuit of it, as well as the very thin curtain between truth & reality, and memories & perceptions of any given event or period in time. What do we actually KNOW to be the entire, factual truth about anything? Perceptions, assumptions, and rat
...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
The Blackboards- the exist 15 666 May 10, 2020 07:07PM  
Gothic Literature: 3: Night Film chapters 68- end (final thread) 9 18 Apr 20, 2020 06:20AM  
Gothic Literature: 2: Night Film chapters 28-67 7 9 Apr 04, 2020 08:16AM  
Creepy Book Club: CHAPTERS 26 - 50 6 19 Apr 02, 2020 06:48AM  
Creepy Book Club: CHAPTERS 101-END! 4 28 Apr 01, 2020 03:04AM  
Creepy Book Club: CHAPTERS 1 - 25 11 35 Mar 29, 2020 11:58AM  

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3,644 followers
Marisha Pessl grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and now lives in New York City. Special Topics in Calamity Physics, her debut novel, was a bestseller in both hardcover and paperback. It won the 2006 John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize (now the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize), and was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review. Her ...more

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