Netflix's 'Fever Dream' Is a Creepy Adaptation of a Darkly Terrifying Novel

The adaptation of Samanta Schweblin's excellent book will get inside your head.

Diego Araya/Netflix
Diego Araya/Netflix
Diego Araya/Netflix

If you’re the sort of reader who is drawn to the weirder alleys of literary fiction, who likes a magical realist story or two, or who is attracted to writing that has some (or a lot of) darkness to it, you’ve probably come across the work of Samanta Schweblin, the Argentine author who exploded onto the American literary scene when the English translation of her novella Fever Dream (first published in 2014 as Distancia de rescate) hit shelves here in 2017 and promptly won that year’s Shirley Jackson Award. Since then, English translations of her short story collection Mouthful of Birds (2019) and her novel Little Eyes (2020) have also been released here, making her an author to watch. Fever Dream, in particular, is a lyrical, endlessly creepy and claustrophobic novel with shades of Pet Sematary and Lars Von Trier, so it’s no wonder that it’s been turned into a similarly creepy film, now available on Netflix.

A young boy named David is taken ill with a life-threatening sickness, and his mother Carola (Dolores Fonzi) takes him to a local healer who tells her that she can save the boy, but she’ll have to split his soul in two in order to counteract the sickness. The mother agrees and her son survives, but ever afterward the boy is different, a little bit strange. A few years later, Amanda (María Valverde) and her daughter Nina come on a trip to the country and befriend Carola-they attempt to befriend David as well, but she warns them to keep away. Amanda is hyper-vigilant around her daughter, constantly calculating the “rescue distance” she’d need to step or jump or run or drive in order to save her child’s life in case anything were to happen to her. A pall seems to hang over the small town, killing animals and making the people strange, and Nina is in more danger than either realize.

The movie, like the book, is told in a mixed-up sort of way, with cryptic narration throughout from young David as he attempts to retell the story of what happens to Amanda and her daughter to Amanda herself. While there are elements of fantasy and unreality, the story’s big reveal is a terrestrial one, a human-manufactured evil whose destruction first inspired Schweblin to write her novella, struck as she was by the plight of rural communities in South America living with the many-pronged devastation of agriculture and pesticides. The film makes an almost supernatural horror story out of a very real threat, challenging its characters to go further than they might wish to save the ones they love.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.


Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.


Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.


BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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