LOS ANGELES - Ordinary is boring. It’s the theme behind "Nightbooks" — Netflix’s new family-friendly horror movie.
Directed by David Yarovesky ("The Hive") and produced by Sam Raimi ("The Evil Dead"), the film focuses on Alex (Winslow Fegley), who is a creative boy with a strong passion for writing scary stories. But when he's labeled weird and rejected for what he likes, he swears he'll never write again.
"I’m very similar to my role, Alex," Fegley told FOX Television Stations. "The whole experience was a really awesome time."
But when an evil witch, played by Krysten Ritter ("Big Eyes," "Jessica Jones"), captures him in her magical apartment in New York City, she demands that he tell her a new tale every night if he wants to stay alive.
Winslow Fegley, Lidya Jewett and Krysten Ritter in "Nightbooks"
"I love that she is so unpredictable and so unexpected," Ritter told FOX. "I have never played a character like this before. I think that was part of the fun, the appeal for me."
Trapped inside the apartment with Lenore — the witch’s spiteful cat — watching his every move, Alex meets Yasmin (Lidya Jewett), another young prisoner who has learned how to survive the witch's wicked whims.
While Fegley said his character was much like himself, Jewett told FOX her role wasn’t very similar to her personality.
"This is one of the roles that I’ve done that I’ve played that hasn’t been super similar to me. She’s really not mean but definitely not really friendly," Jewett chuckled. "So that was something that was really fun to kind-of play."
With Yasmin’s help, Alex must learn to embrace what makes him unique — his love for scary stories — and rewrite his own destiny to break them free.
"It’s really important for kids to know that you’ve just got to be yourself and not let other people pick on you and take you down, because if they don’t like you for who you are then they shouldn’t be your friend, because they’re not supporting you," Fegley shared. "So, you have to find friends who support you for who you are and love you for who you are and then cherish them for life."
This echoes Ritters’ sentiment.
Krysten Ritter in "Nightbooks"
"I think this is an awesome move for families. It’s a great message for kids," Ritter, 39, shared. "Being different, being a little weird, the thing that gets you picked on at school, is actually what makes you great and awesome and special."
"There’s a lot of heart in this movie," the "Breaking Bad" star continued.
The 39-year-old mother will hit a milestone birthday in December and said success at this point in her career is "happiness" and being able to be with her son.
"Being a working mom is difficult and a lot of challenges," Ritter shared. "Your priorities really change when you have a baby. Things that I used to go nuts for or stress out about; things are a lot different now. I really just want to hang out now, see the world through his eyes, just to be able to have this experience with him."
Ritter, known for iconic roles including "Breaking Bad" and "Jessica Jones", said she is open to any future reunions or specials.
"You never know. I’m there for all of it," Ritter said. "I tend to always be in projects that do come back around for some weird reason. Anything can happen.
"Nightbooks" premieres Sept. 15 on Netflix. 103 minutes. Unrated. Dir: David Yarovesky. Based on the book by J.A. White; screenplay by Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis. Featuring: Winslow Fegley, Lidya Jewett and Krysten Ritter.
About the writer: Stephanie Weaver is a Los Angeles-based journalist. She is a host of the national streaming show, LiveNOW from FOX, and is a digital reporter for FOX TV. Find her on Facebook and Instagram at @StephWeaverTV.
Prepare for "Nightbooks" with these free films on Tubi
Vamps (2012): Ritter stars in this horror comedy, which reunited writer/director Amy Heckerling with "Clueless" star Alicia Silverstone. Ritter and Silverstone play "socialite vampires" looking for love in New York City "while protecting their hearts from a wooden stake." Also featuring: Dan Stevens, Wallace Shawn, Justin Kirk, Richard Lewis, Malcom McDowell, Sigourney Weaver.
The Hive (2014): Not all Yarovesky’s films are quite so kid-friendly. Sample this one, about an "amnesiac counselor at Camp Yellow Jacket struggles to remember how he survived a deadly viral epidemic," after the youngsters hit the hay. Featuring: Gabriel Basso, Jacob Zachar.
The Little Vampire (2000): But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing in the way of horror for kids! Jonathan Lipnicki ("The Teacher from the Black Lagoon") stars alongside celebrated character actors Richard E. Grant ("Can You Ever Forgive Me?") and Jim Carter ("Downton Abbey") in this family-friendly adventure, which sees a group of "kind but misunderstood Scottish vampires" befriend a kid who might just help them to leave the vampire life behind.
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