2018 was a huge year for Netflix; they released more originals, broke their record for the most-watched film in seven days with Bird Box, and they released their first ever interactive movie for adults, Bandersnatch.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is the interactive film which took the entire nation – nay, world – by storm when it put the sole responsibility of what happens to the main character in viewers’ hands.
Except, what if a viewer didn’t realise this and sat down to watch the film with entirely different expectations – perhaps with the belief Charlie Brooker was in charge of Stefan’s fate and not them.
Which is exactly what’s been happening as viewers have revealed they’ve been watching the film for hours on end without realising it’s interactive, resulting in confusion and, well, even more confusion.
Hilarious, right? The thought of people sitting there completely unaware they’re in control, letting the entire thing pass them by for hours on end, is just so funny.
This is especially true when you catch your parents making the error – there’s just something so wholesome about catching your mum or dad completely missing the mark.
One person who knows the true hilarity of this matter is 17-year-old Samantha Ordonez, from Los Angeles, California, who walked in on her mum, Arlene Parungao, watching Bandersnatch but not making any choices.
Speaking to UNILAD, Samantha explained how she witnessed her mum letting the timer run out every time she was given the interactive choice:
I was walking by when I saw her do this and I was confused. I thought maybe she just wanted to choose the answer it was already on but she kept doing the same thing when she had to make other choices.
I asked why she wasn’t making a choice. That’s when she told me she wasn’t aware she could.
I… really caught my mom watching bandersnatch and not making any choices… she didn’t know it was interactive……
— sam (〃ω〃) (@dekapaii) January 1, 2019
As soon as Samantha realised her mum had been sitting there blissfully unaware, she burst out laughing and immediately went to tell her brother about it. Y’know, as anyone would!
But what about Arlene? The 17-year-old explained how her mum was both ‘surprised and confused’ when she found out the true purpose of Bandersnatch.
To be honest I don’t think she was interested in choosing her own adventure. She didn’t really express any interest in making a choice.
So how surprising is it people are engaging with the film without realising its true intention? According to Samantha, not very.
It doesn’t really surprise me that she didn’t know. She’s not really in the loop when it comes to stuff like this. Probably something to do with her age.
Breaking the fourth wall is a concept that hasn’t really made a distinct mark that Bandersnatch was able to achieve. I kind of understand if it went completely past her head.
It’s completely understandable to be fair. If I hadn’t seen my Twitter timeline filled with this info and the instructions at the beginning of the episode, I may have made the exact same mistake.
It isn’t just our parents who are making these mistakes though. People of all generations have been fooled by the interactive aspect of the latest Black Mirror release.
Abby Spiker, 22, from Martinsburg, West Virginia, watched the film for hours with her roommate, Jillian, completely unaware they were in charge of Stefan’s fate.
Abby told UNILAD:
We sat confused the entire movie and we watched every scenario.
I remember thinking the movie seemed a lot longer than an hour and half long (which is what it should have been) and thinking: ‘Wow. We just wasted hours of our lives.’
So Jill & i didn’t know that bandersnatch was an interactive movie so we sat & watched every single scenario possible in the entire movie so confused. I literally hate us.
— Abby Spiker (@Ayee_Spike) January 9, 2019
The 22-year-old explained how she hadn’t watched many episodes of Black Mirror before, but had heard about how ‘weird’ it can be – hence why she thought the pop up choices were just part of the film.
The next day, with both of them still confused about what they’d watched, Jillian decided to google what the meaning of Bandersnatch was.
That’s when we both realised that it was an interactive movie. We are idiots.
Maybe it’s easier said than done because Netflix has said the interactive version is only available on ‘newer devices’.
Their website states:
Devices that do not support interactive content will play a linear version of select titles, or instruct you to switch to a supported device. Linear versions will not include choices.
Now if you’ll just excuse me while I go and watch all of the possible outcomes and entertain myself at Stefan’s expense.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).