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Second Chance by Joseph Cahill (medstudent) (OWC name - Sorka Hanrahan) - Short, Thriller - Before moving away, a serial killer must make a decision. August '07 One Week Challenge entrant. - pdf, format
Excellent descriptions. The ending totally confused me. Clint stuffs the girl in the box and buries her, then unburies her and lets her go? How did she not suffocate in the box? Was not clear to me why Clint was fired (kiddie porn?). This was a great read and well done. Certainly did make me think.
It's cool to see that you're reviewing some scripts, too, Don. Just thought I'd comment about that. Haha.
Okay, now to the real review:
This was a good short, kind of took me a while to figure out what was happening with all the going back and forths between Clint at the boat and his wife at the house.
Like Done had said, the ending also confused me a bit. She probably would have suffocated since you said "Her eyes are swollen from hours of crying" though she could have been crying as he abducted her though. And yet, why did he let her go? I thought there was going to be some moral like he has a voice overed speech and ends it with "good things happen to good people" like his assistant said...but just look what happened to his wife.
But this was a good short and it sure did have its suspense.
Premise: Typical serial killer fayre with an intriguing litte twist. 7/10
Relation to Theme:
Not really a lot of use made of the Boat so lose points there. Good suspense thriller.
Story: Beautifully written and atmospheric. The only problem I had was the lack of motivation for his change of heart. There doesn't appear to be any set up for the turn around. 7/10
Interestingly this isn't a fatal flaw in the film, it maintains a kind of allure and encourages you to think, though I'm not sure that that isn't an unintentional by product of your writing rather than a well-planned result
This is, I think, one of the more interesting scripts. It's well written, although maybe a little overwritten in terms of spec style? Whatever the case, the story works. It's engaging -- a page turner.
Like others have commented, I question how the girl could remain alive after having been buried.
As for the end, I've mixed feelings. On the one hand, it's original, which is a plus. On the other hand, Clint gets away. Interesting.
I think Clint wanted to have a second chance in life as the title suggests. But it wasn't clear. More detail is needed for this such as he quiting his job. But this also asks what made him decide to change his life. More specifically Clint's b.g. is needed in this piece. The descriptions were good. But story needs a bit more work.
It was well written you did a great job with atmosphere. I loved the record player thump. I can just imagine how intense the whole thing would be if it were filmed.
One thing though is that you didn't really use the boat at all, a shack or spare room would have sufficed frankly.
Nothing really stands out as being bad in this, for me at least. That said I do feel like its missing something. I feel like its close to being really good but it just doesn't quite get there for me. Don't know what it is though, sorry.
Still, this short is a contender for one of the best I've read so far.
The descriptions of the scenes in this piece were very well-wrought, if somewhat overly poetic. It played like a movie.
The subject matter is disturbing for my taste, although I can see how the image of the boat created something very creepy like this in your mind.
My favorite part was the description of what was playing on the record: "a woman's eerie voice howls behind smeared violins and electronic sounds." That line should be memorialized in a novel. "Smeared violins" -- fabulous.
There were several facets of this piece that I found troubling.
As a minor detail, your description of the landscape as "fauna" is incorrect. Fauna refers to animals, and flora refers to plant life.
I don't understand the quote at the beginning of the piece from Dad about luck only counting with horseshoes and hand grenades, and I don't understand what it has to do with the serial killer.
I don't believe the little girl would have survived being buried alive as long as she appears to have been, from at least day into night, when he digs her up. I also find it hard to believe that he could find the exact spot, especially in the heavy rain.
Next, I don't understand why Mrs. Newcastle, who is not the working type, would be cleaning windows. You do say, however, that they are unstreaked, so she is apparently doing this as a compulsion. As the killer's wife, she would be aware, if only on a subconscious level, of his psychosis, so this could be one way for her to handle it, trying to clean away something that can't be cleaned away, perhaps.
When Clint leaves his job, are you implying by your title that he deserves a second chance, or the little girl he was going to bury alive deserves a second chance? I don't think the idea of a "second chance" applies to serial killers.
Is the audience supposed to have sympathy for this man because he is turning over a new leaf by burning his shrine to murder, selling his home, qutting his job, and freeing the little girl from her grave? I don't think they would.
The SWAT team going in when Clint isn't even home is somewhat unbelievable as well.
There is a lightness to the end of the piece that is uncalled for in such a horrifying scenario. I think it is important for justice to be done, even in movies, and I don't like the way the ending impllies that Clint might be getting away scott-free. That would be a wrong ending, as I think endings should be in line with morality, and criminals should not go unpunished.
Well, this one has already been heavily reviewed and I don't want to repeat anything too much, so I'll just say I thought this was one of the better scripts that I've read. Your formatting was excellent, your descriptions were vivid and very provocative. This really does a good job of creating images, I saw everything very clearly in my mind, which I think was what I liked most about it.
Overall, the writing was good, the script moved very quickly, it was very atmospheric and creepy. I liked it a lot. Really excellent job.
I thought this was a good short, but like the others have said it needs a little bit more to clarify "why" for his turn around. I don't think just because the assistant says everyone deserves a second chance is good enough.
I liked the thwumping. That was supposed to be the little girl pounding on her coffin, right?
The scenes were very vivid, but just needs some ironing out. I think it was good for a one week script though.
Award winning screenwriter Available screenplays TINA DARLING - 114 page Comedy ONLY OSCAR KNOWS - 99 page Horror A SONG IN MY HEART - 94 page Drama HALLOWEEN GAMES - 105 page Drama
I donít really know what to say about this one. I didnít see any technical issues other than it might possibly be over-described a little. Itís fairly flawless in that regard.
Its pace could be picked up if some of the description were trimmed. I think it was a little slow maybe. It seemed - for the eventfulness of it - that it could have had a little bit faster of a pace and had room to spare.
I wasnít particularly moved by any of it. This guy had killed a lot of children so changing his mind - especially without really knowing anything about his motivation - didnít do much for the character. It was an unexpected turn in the story but only because there were no cues from the character.
The biggest problem is the big plot hole with the girl he dug up. She would have been dead. By the time heíd buried her, developed her picture in the boat, then burned the boat, and dug her back up, she would have been dead for at least several hours. It takes at least a couple of hours just to develop pictures.
The writing was solid and the exposition was pushing the border sometimes but I liked the writing style. I even liked the tone. I could have used a little bit faster of a pace but itís okay as it is. To make the part of releasing the girl plausible, he would have to change his mind in the middle of burying her.
With some insight into Clintís motivation and a more plausible transformation, this could be a really good story.
This was an especially well written piece. Though there's a lot of description, that flows from there being an internal conflict at work, and in order for that to work in an visual medium, as much of it has to be externalized as possible. I like how the descriptions are all possible to see on the screen, there's not much internal except as a slight embellishment, such as when we are told that the wine drinking explains why she's asleep on the couch. I also liked the thwump melding from the record player to the helicopter rotors. A nice touch.
First, I'll chime in with everyone else's "the girl should be dead if she's been buried in a box so long." I like Mrs. N's Lady MacBeth-like cleaing windows, but why she would sleep with a gun under the couch seemed unclear. Was she part of the serial killings? Did she encourage it, and that was why she died? Where did the gun come from? I realize introducing it earlier kills some of the mystery, but it seems pulled out of the air.
I didn't have as big an issue of Clint "getting away with it," if what's happening is that CLint has recanted, and his freeing the girl is his apology, which was the punchline of Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus" in which his clergical (word? dunno. I'm Jewish) friends tell him that he only had to apologize, and he wouldn;t be puilled to the underworld. Yes, I realize Faustus wasn't a serial killer, but I'm playing devil's advocate on this. For all I know, he was setting his affairs in order to surrender, though that doesn't seem likely.