Bandersnatch is a Novelistic Video Game Film

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Netflix released Black Mirror: Bandersnatch on December 28 after confirming rumors that an interactive film would soon hit Netflix. According to Netflix, Bandersnatch is a blending of genres: “In 1984, a young programmer begins to question reality as he adapts a dark fantasy novel into a video game. A mind-bending tale with multiple endings.” The movie follows Stefan (Fionn Whitehead) as he tries to complete his video game, Bandersnatch, while trying to deal with the possibility that his choices aren’t his own.

A mind-bending tale with multiple endings.”

— Netflix

In the interactive film, viewers can choose paths that alter the storyline and lead to different chains of events. These paths can range from picking what cereal Stefan will have for breakfast (Frosties or Sugar Puffs?) to choosing whether or not to murder his father (chop up the body or bury it?). As Stefan tries to complete his Choose Your Own Adventure video game, he slowly descends into madness. (This descent is avoidable if the viewer chooses endings that make the film shorter.) The film has full endings and mini endings that prompt viewers to select another path before continuing with the story. SPOILERS AHEAD: If you have not already, now would be the time to play/watch Black Mirror: Bandersnatch.

As the viewer keeps playing, the plot grows more twisted and weird; the audience sees Stefan trying to fight against the options the viewer has picked for him. For instance, when the viewer faces a decision between having Stefan bite his nails or pull his earlobe, he tries to hold his hand down in order to avoid doing either.

The movie contains five main endings, which get progressively crazier as you keep playing the game.

Stefan jumps off a balcony. This ending comes about if the viewer chooses to follow Colin instead of visiting Dr. Haynes. Stefan and Colin take hallucinogens and Colin tells Stefan it does not matter if one of them dies because they are alive in a parallel reality. The viewer then chooses who will jump off the balcony (Colin or Stefan?) in order to prove Colin right. If the viewer chooses Stefan, he jumps off the balcony and dies.

Bandersnatch is published and no one dies. This ending occurs if the viewer chooses to visit Dr. Haynes instead of following Colin. Stefan tells Dr. Haynes that he thinks he is not in control of his decisions. She then prescribes him stronger medication which, if he takes, leads to the publishing of a Bandersnatch version that earns a 2.5/5 rating.

Stefan dies with his mother. This ending happens if the viewer punches in “TOY” into Stefan’s father’s cabinet in the locked room. Stefan’s toy rabbit, which his father had hidden, is in the cabinet. Then the screen flashes back to when Stefan was a child. Having found his rabbit as his child self, Stefan can leave with his mother to visit his grandparents. If the viewer lets Stefan leave, he dies on the train with his mother.

Stefan is actually an actor. This ending happens if the viewer tries to explain what Netflix is to Stefan. He will then tell his father he thinks he is being controlled by someone in the 21st century and will be taken to Dr. Haynes’ office. At Dr. Haynes’ office, the viewer can choose between fighting her and trying to leap out the window. If the viewer chooses the latter option, Dr. Haynes’ office will be revealed to be a movie set and someone will tell Mike (Stefan) that they are supposed to be shooting the fight scene.

Stefan goes to Jail. This ending can happen several ways. If the viewer follows Colin and he jumps off the balcony instead of Stefan, Stefan goes to jail. If Stefan kills his dad in a fit of rage, he goes to jail. After Stefan goes to jail for killing his dad, the game is rebooted in the future by Colin’s daughter, Pearl.

For more information, see the detailed Bandersnatch flowchart.

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