The A24 Films logo over the cover art for Mark Z. Danielewski's 'House of Leaves'

I Wish This Fake A24 Documentary Was Real

One of the most popular true crime documentaries on TikTok right now isn’t based on a true crime, nor is it a real documentary. But The Navidson Record, a doc purportedly released by A24, will definitely sound familiar to those who’ve read a certain bestselling novel published 24 years ago.

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In a recent TikTok, Christie Bosch (@everydaychristie) asks, “What would you do if you moved into a home and the inside was larger than the outside?” Bosch, who posts short video reviews of documentaries, most of them in the true crime genre, is superimposed over what appears to be a teaser trailer for an A24 documentary called The Navidson Record. There’s archival footage of an old house, kids playing in a kiddie pool, and men who look absolutely haunted. There’s even a pull-quote from Stephen King, who calls The Navidson Record “The most frightening documentary of the decade.”

“As impossible as it sounds, it’s exactly what happened to Pulitzer-winning photographer Will Navidson,” Bosch continues, “I have never been this disturbed by a documentary and I would be careful watching it if you have any mental health issues.” Bosch goes on to describe how Navidson discovered that the dimensions of the home’s interior were larger than the exterior dimensions, leading him to find doorways to areas of the home no one knew existed. It also seems that the house is growing and changing over time.

If you’ve read House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski’s sprawling work of psychological horror, you’ll immediately clock what Bosch is up to. The Navidson Record is the found-footage documentary at the heart of Danielewski’s debut novel, published in 2000. An impressive piece of metafiction, House of Leaves unfolds through letters, essays, and various scraps of paper compiled by Johnny Truant, the fictional narrator. Truant finds a trove of documents related to a documentary made by Will Navidson from footage shot in his home, where he discovered inexplicable spatial phenomena—a long, dark hallway; doors that suddenly appear where there were none before; and a spiral staircase that descends into a seemingly infinite cavern.

Navidson turned this footage into a documentary called The Navidson Record, released in 1993. The documents Johnny finds belong to Zampanò, a blind film critic who believes The Navidson Record is real, even though many of the essays he references refer to it as a work of fiction—in other words, a really effective entry in the found-footage horror genre.

There have been a few attempts at adapting House of Leaves, but the unwieldy nature of the book makes it nearly impossible. That said, Bosch’s TikTok is pretty damn convincing to the casual viewer. It’s not the most sophisticated fake-out, but that’s what makes it so plausible. The video is nestled among other posts on her page about actual documentaries, including Netflix’s Lover, Stalker, Killer and Max’s They Called Him Mostly Harmless. After her original video went viral on TikTok, Bosch shared a follow-up explaining that The Navidson Record isn’t real, and that she and her boyfriend thought it would be fun to make a video about it as if it were.

@everydaychristie

Replying to @sebtalks FULL EXPLANATION

♬ original sound – Christie Bosch

For a second, I really thought A24 made a found-footage horror movie based on The Navidson Record, possibly as part of a larger plan to adapt Danielewski’s novel. It was kind of exciting. Maybe A24 should adapt House of Leaves. It wouldn’t be the kookiest idea.

(featured image: A24 / Pantheon)


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Author
Britt Hayes
Britt Hayes (she/her) is an editor, writer, and recovering film critic with over a decade of experience. She has written for The A.V. Club, Birth.Movies.Death, and The Austin Chronicle, and is the former associate editor for ScreenCrush. Britt's work has also been published in Fangoria, TV Guide, and SXSWorld Magazine. She loves film, horror, exhaustively analyzing a theme, and casually dissociating. Her brain is a cursed tomb of pop culture knowledge.