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Netflix Tries to Black Mirror Us With New "Black Mirror" Film

No, you're paranoid.

The latest addition to the Black Mirror canon, a stand-alone film called Bandersnatch, will be available on Netflix beginning on December 28.

Along with the announcement this morning, Netflix released a trailer. Full of standard Black Mirror intrigue, it starts with an ominous beat and offers a glimpse of pills flushing down a toilet, potential hallucinations, an allusion to a literary genius gone mad, and technological pastiche—in the form of computer games, VHS tapes, and record players—all set to the beat of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax." In the final image, a woman on an old TV set utters the words, "You are not in control." But she might be wrong.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

Bloomberg reported back in October that part of the anthology's upcoming fifth season would be a "choose-your-own-adventure," interactive episode. Things got weirder from there. In November, Netflix reportedly posted and then quickly deleted a tweet revealing the title and release date of the episode. Earlier this week, the streaming company seemed to have taken live the landing page for the episode, with nothing more than cryptic stills from previous episodes and the description "Be right back," an allusion to an earlier episode of the same title. Eagle-eyed Reddit users noted the "set in the 1980s" on the page's description as a major plot clue and found an image from the Korean Media Ratings Board that confirms a 312 minute run time, which would support enough footage for alternate storylines.

Many are suspicious of the sequence of events leading up to today's trailer release, claiming every development—including the deleted tweet—has been a calculated ploy by Netflix to generate attention, mystery, and a manufactured sense of surprise around the newest iteration of its dystopian tech drama. Could the creators of a dark series about the paranoia derived from the rapid and steady development of technology and society's growing reliance on it possibly be so manipulative as to fake its own leaks in order to give us a false sense of discovery? Seems a bit far-fetched.

Rebecca Linde is a writer and cultural critic in NYC. She tweets about pop culture and television @rklinde.

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