by Kwesi Lewis
Overall I find that this is a nice and overall easy script to follow, but it is very short and with television scripts try and aim for at least 27 pages, but take everything thatI say as feedback it is a good script as I said, very relatable characters and overall a premise that wouldn't look outdated on the likes of Netflix and Amazon, but the length is the main thing that is letting it do, it doesn't do it justice it just keeps pushing it down. It also is outdated slightly with some of the terms that you use for when characters speak like 'Twerp'. But it also does a good job of character but you keep it to a limit that also pulls it down as I wanted to see what the characters goals in the long-term are, you make Michelle out to be some-kind of badass who knows everyone and everything, also you rush straight into the plot and it do without giving any type of backstory something which does not allow for us to fully connect with the characters. But now for what I did like and enjoy, I enjoyed reading through it and it surprised me, like I said there was nice character development over the course of the episode for both Kim and Michelle but at the same time, the character of Patrick really slows the plot and the premise down and hurts it. And something else that I can't ignore is the fact that you ended the script on a the start of a scene. Michelle's children are a nice welcome though as it gives more development to an already great main character but shy's away from what the group that was referred to at the beginning, I totally have faith in this project and I know that if you correct some mistakes then it would be a script that would easily sell in Hollywood And I am looking forward to reading more of it.
Page 1: A brief physical description of Caleb and Samuel would be helpful. Ooh, a Junji Ito reference. Love the imagery in his manga. Hopefully, some of that cosmic horror vibe comes through in the script. Page 6: You’ve labeled this as a horror script. So far nothing vaguely scary or unsettling has occurred. It’s standard for the very first scene to establish the horror tone but so far this feels more like a standard coming-of-age drama. I’m already losing interest in this story as a horror script. Page 7: You’ve introduced a lot of characters very quickly (Vicky, Sarah, Russell, Caleb, the other ones who I’ve already forgotten) They are all running together in my mind. They aren’t distinct enough from on another except Russel who’s personality really comes through. I’ve noticed you’ve ALL CAPS a few different words like GREEN TAURUS and VARIETY (as in the magazine I guess). This leads me to believe that these elements have specific significance to the story, but frankly I think you are overusing the convention. Does it really matter if its Variety magazine rather than Vanity Fair or People? Page 8: Sharp Edged Puzzle Box? Is it the Lament Configuration? Is this really a Hellraiser movie?! Page 9: Typo. Heals/heels. Liz’s personality is pretty distinct too which is good. Page 12: First bit of genuine intrigue for me. Caleb and Grace having some past relationship. I get that you are setting up a lot right now but I still feel like the movie hasn’t really started yet and we’re more than 10 pages into the script. Page 18: First jump scare with Russell 18 pages in. Script could definitely use a good scare sooner. I like Dr. Brandt. Definitely some Marquis de Sade vibes. This guy is campy and evil and I like it. Page 19: Bourgie? I guess that’s another way of saying bougie? The tone is finally taking a decidedly horror-like turn which is good. Page 20: I can’t stand Vickie. I hope she dies soon. Page 23: Another interesting development with Dr. Brandt’s patient and the tour of the house is effectively setting up the method of scares and deaths to come Page 27: I found the whole Caleb and Grace conversation to be very awkward. They don’t really have much chemistry and I didn’t understand Caleb’s joke at all. Page 28: Liz is dead isn’t she? Page 29: “Footlose was a zombie movie?” 😊I love Russell. It’s going to be a shame when you murder him. Page 35: scene with Caleb and Nathan is strongest so far. I feel like the stakes have ratcheted up. I’m wondering is the idea is that Dr. Brandt is going to try to force the characters to actually kill the party guests. Page 36: Emma has arrived another interesting development Page 39: Ah, so he’s going to have his patients kill our protagonists. Interesting. Page 40: I had completely forgotten about Caleb’s comic. It feels weird to have that brought back into the story. Page 45: Vickie really is awful and unsympathetic. Page 58: Things are getting spicy now! Russell got knocked off sooner than I would have liked but I knew it was coming. Vicky having killed Russell does make me feel for her but she’s still awful. Also, it felt kind of convenient how she managed to overpower him. Page 62: the Vickie and Emma scene is very well done Page 63: typo. Corridors are ‘lousy’ with guests? And I knew Liz was dead. I called it. Page 64: I have a hard time believing people with debilitating fears of certain creatures would suddenly be so willing to literally murder actual humans to somehow cure that fear. Page 66: Uuh… what was that? Why would Caleb think to do that and why would he believe that it had any chance of succeeding? Page 72: You did try to justify the decision to go back to the mansion but I still don’t buy it. Even if they got to the car garage they would still need a key for a specific vehicle. I don’t see how this maximizes their chance of survival. Page 77: yeah I just don’t buy this explanation. And I’m not really sure why a clown is in the same category as vampires and zombies. Clowns are actually real. Page 80: After coming across as threatening and cunning, Nathan kind of goes out like an idiot in the end. Also, I don’t quite understand how Vickie managed to flank the security guard. Page 83: That sequence with Vickie and Emma was satisfying. I still don’t like Vickie but I’m invested in whatever you plan to do with her character now. Hopefully she becomes our main antagonist. Page 87: Good now I don’t have to feel bad about hating Vickie! She makes a good villain. Though, I’m not quite sure I buy her turn from fed up failing actress to straight up serial killer on a purely logical level (it still feels like a leap), I go with it. Page 87: come on Grace, Vicky obviously isn’t dead. Page 90: So the more I think about it the less Brandt’s philosophy and the main plot conceit makes sense to me. He wants to cure successful people of their phobias to the point of enabling them to murder people to do it, but why? Clearly their phobias aren’t inhibiting them from being extremely successful. What does he think will happen if the guy cures his fear of zombies? He’ll be ‘even more’ extremely successful? And it makes less since in the case of people who are afraid of the vampires and zombies because ultimately these things don’t actually exist so when would this fear ever be pertinent in real life. It seems the solution for them is just not to watch Twilight or The Walking Dead. Page 93: At this point things are becoming so hectic and noisy that the horror vibe is fading away and the filming is evolving into a straight up action flick. Also, I don’t believe Vickie has the strength to cleave someone clean in half even is she has a machete. Seriously, people are having sex during a freaking massacre?! So there still seem to be quite a few guests alive. I can’t really keep track of just how many people are here. I felt like Vickie had basically taken all of the guests out but I guess not. Page 94: Why hasn’t he already looked at the security footage? Page 95: I don’t really buy Dr. Brandt’s grief over his son. We literally never saw them interact, and the only context we have of for the relationship is Nathan describing how he traumatized him as a child. Page 97: Bullets don’t make liquor bottles catch fire Page 98: Everyone runs out of bullets at the same time. How convenient. Also, why wouldn’t the remaining guards just rush him? Caleb’s out of bullets, even with a bat they can overwhelm him. Page 100: Not that modern firearms are especially complicated tools, but I still feel like Caleb is more competent with one than he should be being that all I know of him is that he’s a sometimes actor who also draws manga. Yeah this has basically become Die Hard at this point. Page 101: Sorry for being a gun dork, but you’re making the classic clip vs. magazine mistake. Page 102: Okay , I this point I don’t care how far away from civilization they are, there is a full scale firefight going on here. This would definitely attract attention. Page 103: Finger shouldn’t be too tight on the trigger or else you know he’ll be spraying bullets everywhere Page 106: Did I miss something? What’s causing the pool water to drain? I don’t understand how Caleb escaped the pool with Keegan Page 107: why on Earth is Keegan so determined to kill them? What’s his motivation at this point? Page 111: Brandt’s speeches are really tedious at this point. Whatever depth in the character has already been used up. Now he’s annoying Page 112: Again the dialogue is really heavy-handed Page 115: Even though I knew she wasn’t dead, it still feels like you pulled this turn of events out of thin air *Enjoyed it overall. The setup is slow and it took a while before the first real scare. By the end of Act 1 everything is in place for a compelling thriller and you do provide a handful of interesting plot developments. I jus think a lot of plot elements don't connect well enough. this felt more like a collection of cool moments and ideas than a complete story where every part connects to the other. And as I mentioned earlier, about 90 pages in the script really pivots from genuine horror to a pseudo action-thriller *The 3rd act really dragged on. The story really loses steam once Vickie seemingly dies. The script feels about 20 pages too long *Russell never really got a humanizing moment like the rest of our cast got. Would have been nice. *Ultimately, Brandt’s motivations aren’t quite coherent enough to get me through the script without questioning it. *Can’t make any sense of Caleb’s and Grace’s relationship. You imply early on that they have some prior relationship but its never mentioned again. *Didn’t feel much impact from the ending. It jus sort of ended.
I'll just go over my thoughts in chronological order as I read your script. (I enjoyed it by the way) 1ST PAGE - Good character intro and description, immediately paints a clear first impression of who Darius is - Intriguing situation to start off in, following a trail, searching for a phone… (his own maybe ?) - (OS), Offscreen or over the shoulder? It’s just a detail but the formatting is wrong, not very clear - The segment where Darius encounters someone is confusing. I don’t mind when screenwriters use lengthy and novelesque sentences (although many do) but you did overcomplicate this part. Also, give the other person a name (even if it is a temporary and simple one like MAN) and don’t use « he », since it makes it hard to tell who is whom 2ND PAGE - Interesting intro for Eve and nice confrontation that follows, intriguing… good, keep retaining information from the reader (the more the better) - This scenario seems to be evolving in a pretty cool direction, with what is happening with the man on the ground (is it his phone ? who is he ?) 3RD PAGE - Darius has seen too much, nice, very nice, I like how quickly your scene is evolving (although I would personally draw out some moments for maximum tension, just a possible choice not actual criticism) 4RD PAGE - I liked the choice Darius was left with, felt actual tension there (you even took your time to draw it out a bit ☺) 5TH PAGE - Very smart in how you finished your script. I hate it when shorts get all overindulgent with their character development and emotional stuff because usually, with such limited time, it just doesn’t work (usually). So you played it very smart here because in this case; less is more. It just leaves you thinking… Overall liked your script, enjoyed it very much. Of course, it’s some pretty simple stuff but I can tell you’ve got it in you. Oh, and just a little detail, sometimes the dialogue sounded a bit too cartoony (although maybe that was the intention, I don’t know). Anyway, good job.
Here were my thoughts on your script: 1. Concept - I liked the idea of there being a surprise taking place, with us the audience not knowing if it'll be a good surprise or bad one. 2. Story - I enjoyed the story for what it was here. Mt favorite part was definitely the satisfying ending that caught me by surprise. I think the only thing that could be done to make this story better is to maybe shorten it a bit instead of having one scene drag out a bit. 3. Structure - The structuring and formatting was well done here. It was very easy to read and focus on. I don't know if it's entirely necessary to have the desk locations in the scene headings, but that's more of a nitpick. 4. Character Development - This is probably the weak point of the script since we don't know a whole lot about the characters, except for Joey the shy guy and the teacher, Nora. I'd expand on the characters a bit more so we can connect with them better! 5. Dialogue - The dialogue was pretty spot on for the most part. I would just separate the one or two instances of uninterrupted dialogue with action lines so it doesn't seem tedious. 6. Conclusion - Overall, I definitely liked this script and I'm glad I could review it. I'm not a professional, so my feedback can be taken or left however you'd like. Good job!