The movie begins with a scene of a young boy named Alex screaming in great agony as he stuffs his notebooks inside his bag. As far as he can remember, Alex has always been obsessed with all horror things.
But at this moment, he despises it more than anything else. The reason for his outburst is unknown but the effect can be seen clear as day, as he makes a grim decision to burn all of the scary stories that he has poured out all his heart into writing.
He passes by his parents who are discussing their worries about his abnormal obsession with horror, and Alex’s mood only worsens. Shortly after, he sneaks out of his apartment and into the elevator, in order to head to the boiler room and burn down all his stories once and for all.
But suddenly, the elevator malfunctions and jerks to a stop on a dark floor where the only source of light is coming from the TV. It is playing a show that leaves Alex in a trance and he walks towards the TV as if hypnotized. Then, he promptly eats the pie placed next to it, before passing out on the spot.
When Alex regains consciousness, he finds himself inside an unfamiliar apartment. He instinctively wants to escape but soon finds that there is no way out. He then screams for his parents through the window, but it is all for naught.
After that, the lights start flickering and a voice echoes through the room, laughing and giggling, but it does not sound the least bit friendly. Putting an end to all the mayhem, a beautiful lady appears in front of Alex, giving him a scare.
The lady is a witch called Natacha and she does not have the patience to deal with little kids. She keeps her explanations curt and tells him that he is inside her magical apartment and she would only let Alex keep his life if he is useful to her.
She then points to a closet full of children’s clothes, which belonged to the kids who lost their use. Seeing her frightening demeanor, Alex racks his brain to find something he can do, but unfortunately, he cannot think of any. Natacha’s already thin patience runs out and she swiftly prepares to get rid of him.
Alex panickily blurts out that he is good at writing scary stories, and his answer saves his life just in the nick of time. Natacha pauses and quickly lets him go before stating that he must read her a new scary story every night or else he is sure to lose his life.
Alex wakes up the next morning, and sees Natacha’s cat. Thinking that it is a harmless little animal, Alex makes an attempt to pet it, but unexpectedly, it jumps to attack him. Thanks to Natacha’s spell, the cat can also grow invisible which makes its attacks even more difficult to defend.
Pushed back by the cat, Alex stumbles out into another room where he meets Yasmin. She is another one of Natacha’s victims who is responsible for housekeeping.
Unlike Alex, she has been trapped here for a long time and is now used to the strangeness of her situation. She explains to him that this magical apartment is able to move around the world, seeking victims and there is no way to escape this place. The only way out is through Natacha’s keys which she carefully safeguards.
Saying this, Yasmin leads Alex to a huge library that extends through several floors. This fantasy-like place leaves him mystified and when he goes through the titles of the books, he is even more excited.
These are all horror books that Natacha has already read so she now needs Alex to write more of his original stories, so that she can read something new every day.
Yasmin explains all this like it is all a concrete routine he must follow, but Alex still has not given up on escaping this place. Although he loves the library filled with scary stories, he does not want to be held captive by the witch all his life, and so, he starts forming an elaborate plan.
When the witch returns to the apartment, leaving the front door ajar, Alex sprints with all his might to reach it. But just as he is about to get out, the door disappears and instead, he slams against a wall before falling backwards.
Of course, Natacha is not so stupid to not notice his escape attempt. However, she does not give out any punishments thinking that it’s just a rebellious streak that he will soon grow out of, so instead she only admonishes him.
That night, as the witch sprays her face with perfume, Alex begins to recite to her the first horror story titled The Playground.
The plot is about a haunted playground infested by the ghosts of children, who have been trapped there for all eternity, and a human boy who accidentally stumbles upon the place.
As Alex continues on with the storytelling, Natacha keeps interjecting time and again to correct his wrong assumptions about ghosts. She is very strict about incorporating facts into the story but she does not tell Alex to stop.
So, he continues and says the human boy who thought he was going to be trapped inside the place forever, meets the ghost of his dead friend who pushes him out of the playground. Thus, his life is saved, giving the story a happy ending.
Just as Alex finishes, the apartment rumbles and the lights go out. Natacha is enraged because she wanted a scary story, not one where everything ends on good terms.
She angrily forces Alex to change the ending. He starts rambling about an impromptu change in the plotline where the boy is unable to leave the playground and is doomed to suffer for all eternity along with the ghosts.
Shortly after, the rumbling quake stops, and the lights turn on, indicating that Natacha has calmed down. She sternly warns Alex to never read her a happy ending again and stalks out of the room.
The next day, Alex sits down to write another story, but he soon finds out that all his inspirations have left him.
When he cannot even bring himself to write a sentence, he rushes to the top of the library to find some ideas. Browsing through the old books, he stumbles across a book which has some words scribbled in pink.
It is written by a child who was also trapped by the witch just like him. Alex dubs the child as unicorn girl, because she had written about meeting unicorns.
As days pass by, he keeps searching for the books that have notes written by the unicorn girl. He is also very diligent in completing his most important task of the day, which is reading Natacha stories. He changes all the happy endings to bad ones to suit her tastes and somehow manages to write a new one for her each day.
Natacha remains dissatisfied with his factual errors and keeps correcting his mistakes but at least she is not threatening him anymore.
One day, while Alex is spending his time in the library as usual, Yasmin comes in asking for his help. She takes him to Natacha’s magical garden which is filled with nocturnal plants sensitive to sunlight.
They are very important for brewing potions so the witch cares for them dearly. But due to Yasmin’s mistake, some destructive eggs have infested the garden. So, before the eggs hatch and the little creatures destroy the garden, they must smash them all.
They both immediately get on with the task, but even when they are utmost careful, the eggs end up hatching one after another just as they begin to smash them.
The creatures hatch out of the eggs and run rampant around the garden, then start destroying everything in sight. Even Yasmin almost ends up with a fatal injury.
Together, they successfully manage to kill some creatures but there are still more remaining. Amongst the commotion, Natacha’s cat gets stuck inside a web and is almost injured by the creature, but fortunately, Alex rushes in to rescue.
Just when the two of them manage to escape the room with the cat, they are levitated and dragged to Natacha with her magic.
The witch is predictably boiling with rage, and she wants nothing more than to strangle Yasmin to death. Seeing his friend struggle in Natacha’s hold, Alex takes all the blame on himself and pleads for Yasmin’s life.
Natacha easily sees through his flimsy lie, but nonetheless lets them go because she still needs someone to do the housework.
That night, a little creature from the garden manages to sneak into Alex’s room. He is frightened but somehow manages to kill it. Now completely splattered by blood after the kill, Alex watches in horror as he opens his bag only to find it filled with scraps of paper instead of an intact notebook containing all his stories.
Following the incident in the garden, the cat has grown increasingly friendly towards Alex and Yasmin, but the animal’s affection cannot calm down Alex’s agitated heart.
As he scrambles to prepare a story for tonight, the more he panics the harder it is for him to write. He must escape, he has no stories in hand and Natacha will soon find him useless and kill him.
Knowing that he is eager to try and escape again, Yasmin tries to deter him by dragging him to a showcase filled with tiny figurines of children.
They were all once children trapped here by the witch, and among them there are also Yasmin’s friends who tried to escape but were found, resulting in this tragedy.
But contradictorily, she manages to inspire Alex instead. He notices that the figurines have accessories, that they were wearing when they were still human.
He rushes to show Yasmin the unicorn girl’s notes, where she states that she always wears a unicorn necklace. They look carefully to find her figurine, but none of them have a similar necklace.
In one of the pages of the book, the girl has also mentioned about finding a way to escape. Putting two and two together, Alex concludes that the Unicorn girl must have escaped the witch which means they have a chance too.
Re-energized with hope, they both go through all the oldest books in the library, frantically searching for a clue. Finally, they are able to find a recipe for a sleeping potion scribbled at the end of a book.
The only problem is that the potion has a very strong smell, and they need something to mask it from the witch. But the notes provide no definite solution.
Right then, Alex gets a brilliant idea. He plans to use Natacha’s habit to correct every factual error of his stories against her.
That night, he reads her a story about an evil sorcerer, who keeps a beast asleep with his magical potion. But one day, the ingredient to mask the smell of the potion vanishes, so he must slay the beast before it wakes up, either from the smell of the pungent potion or from the lack of the potion.
As the story continues in this manner, Natacha cannot help pointing out that the ingredient to mask the smell is entirely wrong and gives out the name of the correct ingredient.
Successfully managing to trick the witch, the two friends waste no time in preparing for their grand escape plan.
The next night, while they prepare Natacha’s dinner, Alex sneakily adds the sleeping potion to her lemonade, but due to some unknown factor, the color of the drink changes.
They start panicking because they had risked it all for the sake of this day, only to discover that they cannot feed Natacha the potion.
After Alex dumps the drink down the sink and pours her a new one, he finds that the vial of potion he kept on the table is missing.
Yasmin and Alex both feel their hearts sinking to their feet as they suspect that the witch knows about their plan. However, at this point, they cannot do anything but try to act innocent.
As Natacha sprays her face with perfume as usual, and urges Alex to read the story of the day, the boy scrambles to make up a story on the spot.
He had gambled it all on the sleeping potion which left him no time to write a story. When the witch finds that his notebook is actually empty, she is engulfed by an anger that leaves the children shaking.
Fearing for their lives, they immediately start begging and reasoning with her, but the witch does not care about what they have to say.
Just as she raises her hands to get rid of them for good, she suddenly faints, and her unmoving body falls on the floor with a loud thud.
As it turns out, the cat, who is also her prisoner, helped the children to mix the potion in her perfume.
The two children are overjoyed as they immediately steal Natacha’s keys. And so, along with the cat, they take their first step outside the apartment and directly into a dark forest.
But their happiness is short-lived when they soon find out that the forest is also a part of the apartment and they still have not escaped.
Right then a unicorn appears in front of them, which unlike in fairytales, looks very evil and sinister. The animal runs to attack Alex and Yasmin, and chases them deep into the forest before startling itself and running away in fear.
Confused by its odd behavior, they look behind them and are surprised to see a gingerbread house just like the story of Hansel and Gretel.
Instantly, Yasmin enters into a trance and follows the path into the house, like a puppet being controlled. Worried about his friend, Alex follows right after her, trying to talk some sense into her.
But he is unsuccessful as Yasmin starts devouring the food inside the house, just like how the fairytale warns children not to.
Unable to resist the temptation, Alex also joins her in stuffing his face with delicious pastries until their eyes turn weird and they lose all their senses.
When Alex finally wakes up again, he finds himself alone in the room with no sign of Yasmin or the cat. Putting on a brave face, he ventures deeper into the gingerbread house.
Passing through tunnels made of candy, he finally manages to find Yasmin locked behind bars, that do not budge even when he applies all his strength.
He looks around the room for a tool to help him, until he notices that the room resembles some sort of a laboratory with someone lying in a coffin-like box.
Meanwhile, Natacha finds the runaway children. Seeing their scared and confused faces, she does not hide the truth and gladly explains everything.
The person lying inside the box is the original witch and Natacha uses her body to harvest the perfumes she uses that give her witch-like powers.
She was also once like Alex and Yasmin, trapped by the witch to serve her for all her life.
The original witch was much worse than her, she ate all the children she found to be an eyesore.
But Natacha was smart. She deceived the original witch and became her favorite to use the privileges to brew the sleeping potion.
With great effort, she was able to put the witch to sleep, and escape out to the real world. However, what she found was not a tearful reunion with her family, but instead, a cold reality that her parents had given up on her and moved away.
With nowhere else to go, she returned back to the apartment and decided to become a witch herself.
Alex listens to the entire story but focuses only on one phrase, the sleeping potion. The shocking truth slowly dawns upon him, the unicorn girl is none other than Natacha herself.
Noticing that the children have found her diaries, Natacha laughs and shows them her unicorn pendant that she is still wearing to this day.
However, right now is no time to dwell on shocking truths, because the original witch is stirring awake from her slumber.
Shortly after, the ground shakes, then the walls rattle, and Natacha quickly urges Alex to tell one of his scary stories at once.
Horror stories with a bad ending are like a lullaby for the original witch that keeps her asleep, and it is in everyone’s best interest that she stays that way.
With no other choice, Alex begins to tell his own story of being an outcast at his school. Because of his unnatural obsession with horror, he was always bullied and made fun of by his schoolmates. Despite all this, he still had a best friend.
On the day of his birthday, he invited his best friend to his house to celebrate, but he did not want to come, and no one came to his birthday party.
Somewhere along the way, his friends began thinking that he was weird, and started distancing himself.
Heartbroken, Alex was now too afraid to be himself, and just wanted to be normal like the other kids. So, he gathered up all the scary stories that he had written and resolved to burn them all.
At this point in his story, the original witch is in deep and peaceful slumber, but Alex does not stop his story there.
Natacha panics and orders him to stop, but he continues saying that right after he went to burn his stories, he was kidnapped by a witch.
But this was the happiest moment of his life, as he was able to meet a friend who liked him for who he is.
Just as the story ends with a happy ending, the original witch snaps awake with a loud growl. She breaks free from the box and sets her sight on Natacha who had betrayed her.
As the two witches bring forth their powers to duel, the commotion ends up breaking the locks of Yasmin’s cell. The children immediately take this chance to run away and leave the witches to their own devices.
They enter back into the apartment and try to go through the front door, but the door itself is missing and replaced by a wall instead. Alex desperately bangs on the wall, but it is of no use.
Meanwhile, Yasmin pulls out a bottle of Natacha’s perfume that she stole previously, and sprays it on herself. It instantly gives her powers of a witch, and she is able to rip a portal through the wall.
But the original witch is right behind them. She easily overpowered and defeated Natacha, and now she is after the children to satisfy her hunger.
As the two children run out of the portal, they find themselves inside the elevator of Alex’s apartment, and quickly press the key to go down to the basement. All the while, the original witch still has not given up on her pursuit.
Shortly after, they reach the boiler room, but the witch has already caught up to them. They struggle with all their might, but they are no match for the power of a witch.
Suddenly, Alex is struck with an idea. He picks up his notebook and pretends to read a horror story, but pauses on the cliffhanger before throwing the notebook inside the boiler.
With her curiosity piqued, the witch would stop at nothing to acquire more stories, so she jumps right after the notebook. Immediately, Yasmin and Alex jump into action and push her in before forcefully closing the door.
The witch struggles and rattles the door, but the children resolutely hold it closed until there is no resistance and the witch burns to death.
Now, they are able to breathe a sigh of relief, because the evil witch is defeated.
And so, Alex and Yasmin meet their families in a heartwarming reunion.
Alex, who has grown to embrace his own uniqueness, is now more confident than ever, and loves to hang out with his friend Yasmin, who likes him for who he is.
Thus, the years to come are spent happily with his friend, and their hairless cat.