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"A waxing moon casts light over the lake, creating ripples over the water, silver, perfect."
^^^Some good lines of description can be found throughout this script w/ the pro look.
Every time I felt like the story dragged, something happened that pulled me right back in. This isn't a premise that demands resolution, rather lets its mystery call the shots. One of my favorite visuals was the detached phone cord, and seconds before that I thought to myself, what's so important about a phone cord? lol
I need some writer's commentary on this short. Right now, I want to believe there's more to Mom than just an episode of "Snapped". Good job with raising the stakes in a subtle, almost nice, way for the youngsters. Enjoyable, with a good writer at the helm.
Where's the story? Page 2 and I'm glancing toward page count.
I think the description of the building and surrounding area is too unnecessarily descriptive. If I was a producer, I'd be thinking, well where am I going to find that exact location? Does the writer own this house? Could it be filmed there?
This is really dragging for me and I'm only on page 3. Just not my kind of drama. Way too slow and meandering.
The early scenes of older brother teaching younger brother how to play hide and seek were well done (although you'd think this would have happened at an earlier age for the 8-year-old).
However, it goes on way too long. The ratio of set up to the heart of the story is out of balance.
By the time I began to see what's what, there wasn't enough time/space to develop it. Not enough mother, father, their relationship. Something also seems off about the timing. (Spoiler) Dad comes home, she ambushes him in the car, cuts his head off, suspends it in the water, puts the body somewhere, returns to the kitchen, cuts the phone cord, goes back out to the shed... And the boys are oblivious to all.
Okay. Very short review here - based on the "Bakelite" phone description, I'm guessing the writer is UK based. Very effective and creepy - with rich, dark visuals. (The cut cord reveal is the best, IMHO.) Granted, the twist end was no surprise at all - totally telegraphed. And I DO think the pages can be trimmed (maybe 2 or 3) to make this stream faster. But very nice effect. Perhaps do more to emphasize that Mom hates Jeremy more, because he reminds her of Dad?
One quick typo (which you probably already know): P 4: it’d (extra space) be too
Surprised at all the mixed (and negative) reviews.
You're obviously experienced. I was gonna guess Bill, but he already commented. The spelling of Pajama as pyjama tells me this is a UK/Aussie writer.
I loved it from the first page to the last.
The phone cord snakes over the table lip drops to the floor circles the perimeter of the room. We follow its trail to see it’s been cut. Yet Mom sits with the receiver to her ear, screaming into the mouth-piece.
Run-on sentence; confusing to read.
I just turned 30 and I have never heard of the word "Stratagem;" I thought it was a typo. What school does this 12-year-old kid go to? lol
The psycho mom reminded me (favorably) of Mrs. Voorhees.
MOM Hello, my darlings...
Great line right there, the subtext, the unsettling warmth of her voice.
Not a bad piece here, but there were some inconsistencies. The boys, I liked, but they seemed oblivious to mom's condition as the story begins. I would think that her nuttiness would have been apparent long before this point. The kids seem well adjusted. Like they belong to a different family. Oh well.
There's a scene on page 7 when Colin is behind the boat house, "tears" rolling down his cheek as he gestures to dad's black Buick. I was confused if he already knew of Dad's circumstance at this point. The boys then check out the boat shed when they don't find Dad in the car. Colin on page 8 refused to go back to the house, as Jeremy instructs. Colin says, "I don't want to. This is fun." I don't think he'd be crying one moment, then saying it's fun. Especially with Dad's existence in questions.
The photo of Dad in a naked state, with another woman, seemed planted. I thought, who would keep that around. Did mom take the photo? Did she hire a PI at some point?
The hide and seek game was okay. Maybe if it were incorporated with reality earlier, such as if mom goes on her drunken terror binges, the boys know to stay clear of her. I do agree that Mom talked too much as she is stalking the boys.
The pluses are that the writing is strong and there is definite potential here. Trim this story down and it will work better. Let the boys suspect something is wrong with Mom earlier . Start the story with more tension and keep building.Forget about Dad coming home to play hide and seek. Because Jeremy spent some time teaching Colin the nuances of good hiding, then put it to the test at the end. In the end, I wanted Mom to stalk the youngest boy. I think overall the story got away from you a bit, but with some cleaning up, this could be a fun, little killer/thriller.
Finally, I was thinking that maybe the hide and seek game could have the boys (maybe Colin) discover a hidden room in the house, where Mom stashes all of her secret photos of dad and other paraphernalia. Just a thought.
Meh. I'm afraid my review will be more of the same, but whatever; we all have our own words with which to relate.
Agreed that the writing is solid and that the relationship between the boys is well-drawn. The scenes quickly become redundant, though, and take up too much of the bulk of the script. I've also read this sort of stuff before, so it really doesn't stand out. I like the mystique built around hide and seek within the family as well as the dad's role in it, but the climax doesn't live up to it.
Everything about the mom seems cliche, what with the infidelity subplot, the despondency, the vodka... why is it always vodka anyway? Never a glass either; always the bottle. Where's the variety? I wonder if writers these days need to get more in touch with their inner alcoholic (seriously, though, don't actually do that). I'm guilty of having written this type of character before, too, and I don't think it's an invalid or even uninteresting archetype (to a point), but there seems to be so little deviation from formula when it comes to these depressed alcoholic moms.
Also, what's with the rotary phone? I mean, it's got more visual appeal than a cell, but it feels random.
Nevertheless, the mom's role in the end was a disappointment, given how much the dad was built up in the boys' dialogue. I also got the sense that there was supposed to be a more sinister element to hide and seek within the family history. Judging from the mom's dialogue in the end, I couldn't tell if this was actually the case or if she was using references to the game as euphemisms for the dad's infidelity. I think the former is way more interesting and by a long shot as well.
By the way, pg. 9 - "...not like mom at all." This is mentioned twice. I would cut both instances. We simply don't see enough of the character for this idea to have any resonance.
Finally, I don't think the intercut during the climax works. There just isn't that much back and forth between the two scenes to justify it. You might land five or six more lines adding the respective slugs in, but the alternative is the action becoming convoluted. I didn't think it was, since you mentioned the intercut, but I wouldn't be surprised if someone else felt that was the case. The line "Jeremy's words echo back to him" was similarly unnecessary, as it was implied by the V.O.
I'd take note of Abe's review above as well. He made some good points, including some that were in my initial notes that I had to strike as a result. Rick (Scar Tissue Films) made an interesting point about Colin's role as well. I wouldn't have thought of it myself, but it makes sense and could streamline the story nicely whilst building up the mom's character (if I understood his point correctly, anyway).
Anyway, some good writing and some good ideas, but clunky and doesn't live up to its full potential IMO. Could benefit substantially from rewrites outside of the OWC confines. Personally, I'd hope you revisit it.
I liked the story, especially the visual descriptions. But I wanted the Mom to interact with the boys more. May be it could be better to show her changing feelings to the sons. She could be irritated by Jeremy who behaves like his father somehow to make it more convincing in the end that the Mom is going to kill her children.