Continuing its quest to make viewers wary of even the tiniest technological advancements, Black Mirror has finally unveiled the trailer for its next paranoia-inducing release, a standalone film called Bandersnatch. The trailer was released by Netflix on Thursday, mere hours before it hits the streaming service on Friday (December 28), and stars Dunkirk‘s Fionn Whitehead, Will Poulter, and comedian Asim Chaudhry.
Whitehead plays a video game programmer—with Poulter as a coworker and Chaudhry as his enthusiastic boss—tasked with adapting a novel, entitled Bandersnatch, into a game. As his work progresses, Whitehead’s character, Stefan, seemingly descends into madness, much like the novel’s author Jerome F. Davies, who, per Chaudhry’s character, “went cuckoo and cut his wife’s head off.” This descent is helped along by the fact that Whitehead has stopped taking the medication that seemingly keeps him from experiencing “weird,” vivid dreams, spurred by Poulter’s character’s claim that, “When it’s a concept piece, a bit of madness is what you need…It lets you see the bigger picture.”
Stefan flushes his pills down the toilet, and immediately embarks on a mind-bending journey, set to the mesmerizing tune of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “Relax.” He resumes those vivid dreams, meets a woman with wildly crimped orange hair, develops a tremor, somehow passes one of his hands through a mirror, and is told, “Your fate has been dictated; you’re not in control,” by an old woman on his TV. You know: Just another day in the terrifying Black Mirror universe.
“In 1984, a young programmer begins to question reality as he adapts a sprawling fantasy novel into a video game and soon faces a mind-mangling challenge. Welcome back,” is all Netflix would give away in the video’s description. Still, theories abound about the “Black Mirror event.” For one thing, as many have pointed out, the name “Bandersnatch” could refer either to the ferocious creature in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, or to the unreleased “megagame” developed but never completed by the now-defunct Imagine Software in the early 1980s.
Others are speculating that Bandersnatch will be the choose-your-own-adventure installment of the Black Mirror series that was reported to be in production earlier this year. According to leaked information from the Korean Media Ratings Board, per The Independent, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch contains 312 minutes of footage—just over five hours—perhaps implying that viewers will be able to pick between different storylines to create their own, more manageable 90-minute film.
Fortunately for Black Mirror fans desperate to once again be scared away from social media and their cell phones (for at least a minute or two), the film will be released on Netflix on Friday, meaning all will be revealed in only a matter of hours.