by Ben Field
This script is very good. I will be completely honest when I saw that it was only 4 pages my expectations were extremely low, I was pleasantly surprised. In fact as someone who spends most of their time in writing shorts, this is a master class in short film writing, and I would love to make it but that's besides the point. I love how even in your synopsis you preserve the twist. As I was reading I was sure that somehow Candice would be Elise, I mean I didn't believe her story for a second, which made the twist all that much more earned to me. The dialogue is excellent, the character's feel fleshed out and real, aside from a couple of lines with a little bit too much vocabulary I thought. a couple of times it read more like poetry than dialogue, which is fine, I would trim it down just a bit. The only other criticism I could possibly have is not that it is too short, but it could be longer, you could build up to the twist even further if you wanted, but I don't think you need to by any means. All in all great script, and somebody could make I'm sure an award winning short of it.
From the moment it begins, it easily brings you into the atmosphere and if imagined with music and visual atmosphere it can be a good short. It never drags and you quite never feel like the characters are being forced to say what the writer wants them to say.It's definitely the best that can be done with the "they were dead the whole time" concept. I couldn't help but roll my eyes when it was said and I thought it was kind of obviuos from the start, but the dialogue was so organic and fluid that I enjoyed watching them in front of the grave, talking about a loved one (I even found myself doing some shot planning in my head while reading it). And that's my main problem with it, it shines best when it's not trying to create suspense. It finnishes strong but if you take the ending it's not a horror story, although with a well established atmosphere, it could work as one.
The overall premise is excellent and pretty intriguing and different. I especially like how the opening started, going right into the main conflict to keep the reader engaged, and really hooks the audience into watching the rest of the screenplay. The character of "The Woman" is very intriguing and mysterious, and I like the mystery element that you included in the screenplay. I also like how you handled the two stories that are in the screenplay, the first being the overall mystery of The Woman and how Michael attempts to solve the entire thing, as well as the second story featuring Kai and Penny. The characters themselves are really interesting to follow along with, understanding their motivations and their backstories, and I like the connection between Micheal and Kai at the end of the story. It seems like a great pilot to a future TV series, which gets the readers invested in the powers of Kai and Micheal, solving the mystery of The Woman, and what relationship Kai has with the Woman. If this does become a TV series, there are a lot of possible future conflicts that could occur, and it would be interesting to see how the characters handle the situations. This story has a mix of various elements that make up a good screenplay - strong, dynamic interesting characters, an overarching story with tons of mystery and unresolved conflicts, action scenes and engaging moments with the terrifying elements that are featured in the screenplay. The screenplay did surprise me a couple of times, and it would very very interesting to see this continue into a bigger, more interesting, overarching story, with presumably multiple twists and surprises. This kind of show reminds me a lot about shows like "The X Files", and I think it would be interesting to see how the characters really delved deeply with the conflicts in their way and grow as characters. If there are problems with the screenplay, it has to be the formatting, although it's not that big of a problem. The formatting misses its mark a couple of times with improper lines and unnecessary colons.
The story itself seems pretty decent, although nothing really that surprising from a horror flick. The premise overall though, is really interesting utilizing an undead monk as the main antagonist of the story, seeming to bring in a religious motivation that could be potentially terrifying to the audience. I really like how you handled the character of Brother Margaret, as he has the most interesting personality out of all of the characters. He is terrifying and most of the dialogue he speaks out has a lot of charm, and he really makes the story engaging with his motivations. The other characters, on the other hand, are really that interesting, which is kind of a problem - when you make a story bring a personality to all of the characters instead of just one. While Brother Margaret has a lot of personality, the other characters like Riley and Daniel aren't really that interesting in the long run - there is no character traits that make me care about either of them. Another thing that I have to praise you for is the unique setting of a mall, which seems like a setting for a teen drama, but has very interesting potential conflicts that could unfold if handled correctly. While I like the creativity in the setting, it doesn't work at all for me mainly because there is no reason to put this in a mall - there's no significance. Overall, the story, while it does surprise me a couple of times with the scary aspects, feels very generic and boring in the long run - not really that entertaining. Aside from my issues with the characters and the poor use of the setting, another problem was the pacing. You seemed to get right into the character of Brother Margaret without any transition or time for the audience to soak in what was going on. The whole movie felt like that, instead of building up the tension, it felt like random plot points were being thrown to make the audience care. Overall, you did a good job with the story, but please address the pacing and characters.
The concept of a teen girl doing a sacrifice for beloved one is good but this was not reflected in the script. I was able to understand the story only on seeing the synopsis. The scrip read like a young teen girl who is mentally unstable or due to some reason is trying to be sinister with her own body for pleasure and tries to hide it from her mother. Also the ending did not feel like an ending. It was very abrupt. The intent of the writer needs to be reflected in the script. A suggestion would be to include a voice over where the character tells about herself in a way to establish a connect with the audience and the ending of the story needs a rework as it is plain and abrupt without any takeaways. The first scene with the wire hanger is also a bit raw which could be edited a bit to adapt in the screen.