Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is a 2018 psychological thriller interactive film in the science fiction anthology series Black Mirror. It was written by series creator Charlie Brooker and directed by David Slade. Netflix released the standalone film on 28 December 2018.
In Bandersnatch, viewers make decisions for the main character, the young programmer Stefan Butler (Fionn Whitehead) who is adapting a fantasy choose-your-own-adventure novel into a video game in 1984. Other characters include Mohan Thakur (Asim Chaudhry) and Colin Ritman (Will Poulter), both of whom work at a video game company, Butler's father, Peter (Craig Parkinson) and Butler's therapist, Dr. Haynes (Alice Lowe). The film is based on a planned Imagine Software video game of the same name which went unreleased after the company filed for bankruptcy. It also alludes to Lewis Carroll's own works that feature the bandersnatch creature. A piece of science fiction and horror, Bandersnatch incorporates meta-commentary and rumination on free will.
Brooker and executive producer Annabel Jones were approached by Netflix about making an interactive film in May 2017, during which time Netflix had several interactive projects for children underway. Difficulty in writing the highly non-linear script led to the creation of a bespoke Branch Manager for Netflix, and the unique nature of the content required adaptations in the platform's use of cache memory. Filming and production took longer than for typical Black Mirror episodes, resulting in the show's fifth series being delayed. A quickly-deleted tweet from a Netflix account about the release of Bandersnatch led to widespread media speculation throughout December, which Netflix declined to comment on. The trailer for Bandersnatch was released on 27 December 2018, a day before the film was released. Critical reception for the film was generally positive, though some found the interactive nature to be too gimmicky for a proper Black Mirror narrative.