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Black Mirror: Bandersnatch trailer teases 'mind-mangling' event movie

Welcome back to Black

Netflix roped Black Mirror enthusiasts back into the beating heart of the fandom by dropping the first trailer for the series' upcoming event film, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch. Now, it's not the season 5 teaser everyone has been all but frothing at the mouth for, but the footage — uploaded on Thursday without any forewarning — teases the kind of brain-melting goodness we've come to love about the anthology series. 

Set to "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood, the hi-NRG-new-wave track that pulses rhythmically in the background, the Bandersnatch trailer takes viewers back to the '80s and introduces them to a group of young men. There's the one played by Dunkirk star Fionn Whitehead, a programmer whose vivid dreams cause him to question reality and his place within it; another played by The Revenant's Will Poulter, who encourages Whitehead's character to bring "a bit of madness" into his life; and one portrayed by People Just Do Nothing's Asim Chaudhry, who seemingly oversees the pair's big project — adapting the fantasy novel Bandersnatch, written by fictional author Jerome F. Davies who "went cuckoo and cut his wife's head off," into a video game. But this isn't just any ol' endeavor; Chaudhry's character says that the company is "gonna be a hit factory, like Motown but for video games." 

From there, the footage unravels in wide, trippy ribbons and teases that the book-to-game translation ultimately sends our protagonist on a wild and potentially dangerous ride — and forces him to face a "mind-mangling challenge." Because this is Black Mirror, and what would Black Mirror be without twists and turns that jostle our brains around inside our skulls and characters whose sense of reality and fantasy blur beyond repair?

The Bandersnatch trailer serves its purpose — to make the masses aware of the film, pique their interests, and offer up just enough information to have them hanging on the edge of their seats until they can learn more — but it keeps details covered under a glass dome of ambiguity. And when things are vague, we search for meaning. 

For starters, the footage evokes a feeling and a story similar to that of the sci-fi body horror film Videodrome, directed by David Cronenberg. We may very well see some of the same elements — like a mind-control conspiracy and violent hallucinations — featured in Videodrome present in Bandersnatch. Also, the movie's title shares its name with the creature from Lewis Carrol's 1872 novel Through the Looking-Glass, the follow-up to the famously psychedelic Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. There's clearly a reason for this. 

With what we've seen of Bandersnatch plus those two reference points to work from, it's guaranteed that Bandersnatch will be an amalgam of all things surreal — and could even be the weirdest Black Mirror installment to date. 

Word on the street is that Bandersnatch is a choose-your-own-adventure movie, with speculators grounding the claim in the fact that Netflix has plans for exactly that. (Well, the streamer planned to release an episode that allows viewers to pick the ending, rather than a movie, but you get the idea.) The trailer seems to indicate that Bandersnatch is the interactive Black Mirror content we've been waiting for, as it includes the commands "change your mind" and "change your life" in text throughout. Additionally, the footage ends on an impactful note that further evidences a two-way story: one character proclaims, "Your fate has been dictated," while another on the television says, "You're not in control."

As with all things Black Mirror, anything could happen in Bandersnatch. Luckily, fans won't have to wait very long at all to find out exactly what the film is about. Directed by David Slade, who helmed "Metalhead" from the series' recent fourth season, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch will hit Netflix tomorrow, Friday, December 28.