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Hey Gary. Wow! Where you been saving this one? Nice work! Glad to see you back in the game, and bringing your A Game.
Soundly written top to bottom. I loved the part where you called the scene from the dashboard camera of the cruiser. Excellent technique...that trick should be copied!
Only thing I was a little unsure of was the pulling the bullets from their heads. Would a bullet remain in the head? Wouldn't it penetrate like with Congresswoman Giffords, or JFK?
But that's not necessarily a problem, I think, and here's why: someone is going to complain that we have no idea why these cops are not dying. But I don't think we need to know, because it seems to me you want this to kind of have a nightmare feeling to it. And in nightmares, anything is possible, including bullets lodging in heads.
Am I right on this point? And no, I am not saying this belongs with the dreaded "it was all a dream" scripts. Because this is just a short, and no one wakes up here. We don't KNOW it's a dream. It just has a dream feel, which is perfect for a short like this.
This would not be expensive to shoot if you could get some squad cars. Throw it up on Inkster, I see good things happening here.
Someone else might be troubled by the pissing on the cruiser, troubled because the cop never realizes it, but it is necessary to establish why John is shooting at the cruiser later.
Well done, man! I expect to be watching this story next time I encounter it.
You definitely caught an urban legend feel there - not sure which legend it was though. But I thought you did a great job with the story.
I especially liked the little amusing side quest at the gas station.
Crit-wise I would say the number of characters was a bit confusing - especially during the frantic action. I wouldn't cut anything, rather I would give the undead cop a better name, one that reminds me he's undead.
Really good work though, you have definitely improved as a story-teller.
I'm interested in this short. I understand some people are dying while others are living, I suppose. That's the only thing I can come up with. Don't understand though what's going on. Starting with the piss, is that a flashback or what? Not trying to be mean but I really don't get this. And I usually understand your stories.
Looks to me like the kid pissed on the cop's car because it was an abandoned cop car. Then, when his buddy showed up with a gun, he decided to vandalize the car further by putting a slug into it. However, the cop had returned and took the bullet.
Not sure why the cops don't die. Maybe it's the start of a zombie plague. Maybe it's just some kind of nightmare. I'll wait to see what Gary says.
I enjoyed this and thought you played it out well.
I'm the kind of person who likes to know "why", or have something suggested, so the lack of clarity was an issue to me, but I understand it's not for others. This is particularly so as its not just one policeman but two that rise from the dead. By this I mean, if it was one, then this could suggest a one off. Now that it's two it suggests a pattern, a curse... Something.
On the story if I had one issue it's that I wasn't sure about the boys going back to the scene. if I had just encountered all that, I know where I'd be going and that was far away.
The Elevator Most Belonging To Alice - Semi Final Bluecat, Runner Up Nashville Inner Journey - Page Awards Finalist - Bluecat semi final Grieving Spell - winner - London Film Awards. Third - Honolulu Ultimate Weapon - Fresh Voices - second place IMDb link... http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7062725/?ref_=tt_ov_wr
Your pages moved well, but the character slugs kept confusing me. Calling the cops OFFICER "LAST NAME" would help in that department lots.
This feels much more like an opening to a feature than a short. I got the urban legend vibe, then it went all zombie chase picture on me. Pretty sure there's a legend about a cop getting killed sitting in a "lame duck" cruiser. Or, it just could be an action spectacle take on the bullet to the head survivor tale.
It was a brisk ride and quite slick for a week's work. Kudos.
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I also really liked the car camera idea. I have seen it before and most directors would prefer not to see that in a script, but it fit this pretty well.
I actually could see this as appending to a feature too as someone said.
I have to admit that I was actually very confused when Robert shot Kevin. From that point on I was not really following it very well but once I read other people's reviews it made more sense. I wasn't quite sure what you meant when you said Robert overwhelmed John or why John didn't shoot him after he shot Sam.
I look forward to hearing what the reason for the cops coming back to life is.
'Artist' is not a term you should use to refer to yourself. Let others, and your work, do it for you.
I liked the constant movement in this story, how things start out fast and just kept pushing forward. But a couple issues kept this one from scoring a direct hit, at least for me.
I think when the supernatural is involved, as it appears to be here, some explanation is required. It wouldn't take much, just a reference to some old town legend. But, for these people to just keep coming back to life after being shot in the head didn't make any sense to me.
If Kevin also comes back to life after being shot, what about Sam?
I didn't buy that moment when Sam slides the gun barrel into his mouth. That's giving up just a little too easily. And John's brainstorm of heading back to site of the zombie cop speed trap...maybe not the best idea.
I know some people liked the pit stop at the gas station, but it didn't work for me because it seemed like such a shift in tone. You had a creepy, ominous, small town vibe going and then we had to stop for a little comedy.
I also think you could have made the final scene with Robert running over John clearer:
Robert speeds forward. John empties his weapon into Robert. Each bullet slams into Robert slows him down but not a lot. John screams as Robert overwhelms him. Robert walks off screen.
At first it sounds like Robert is in his car, but when you use the word "overwhelm" and then simply have Robert walk away with no mention of getting out of a car, it muddied the mental picture for me.
But in the end, these are all relatively minor tweaks that you could easily smooth out. The story has real creep factor and I'd like to see you take another go at this.
-- This was based on the urban legend: “Youths shoot an empty “speed deterrent” patrol car on the night is has a real cop inside.”
--The short was originally going to be about youths who thought the officers were zombies and shot in a preemptive strike. It was called Zpeed Zone. Why did I change my mind? I don’t know. Might have been the better story.
-- Kevin hit the nail on the head for summarizing the story.
I can't remember if I've read anything from you or not, but I liked this.
I agree with Ryan about the story benefiting from some type of explanation for the dead coming back, but overall, the writing and pacing keep the story afloat. This was a breeze to read and I'm sure it would be just as engaging when filmed.
I thought this was good. I got a little confused over the people on occasion. Especially since it's so fast paced. To help that, I think you could call DRIVER John right away and also stick to the cop's names with Officer and then their names.
I also think it should all take place at night or day. Right now it starts out at DAY then DUSK and then NIGHT. That seems like an awful long time to drive on that one road.
I wasn't a fan of Sam sticking the gun in his mouth. That seemed off to me.
Why was Robert shooting Kevin? It would work better IMHO if Sam or John did.
Other than that, good work and good to see you back here again.
I would say this is a mixed bag for me. I enjoyed the energy and you have a definite feel for action writing. On the other hand, I think this story suffers from the one week challenge restraints.
Yeah, fix the names of the cops. They should be Officer Drummond and Officer Slates. Or at least Drummond and Slates.
I'm going along with the mystery as to why the officers are not dead, but I think on the next go-around, John and Sam have to act more logical. For example, John comes to a screeching halt when he first sees the waiting patrol car. But the cop car hasn't even budged. Since John has no license and he's already speeding, I think he would panic and gun it. Just try to outrun the stationary cop car.
Maybe he can then double back when he realizes the cop isn't chasing him.
I think you can skip the pissing scene and have John go back with the gun.
Some of the reaction by John and Sam doesn't feel right after John shoots the cop. A suggestion would be to not show the reader the dead cop in the car. Just go with the boys investigating, before freaking out and driving away. When Robert's car all of a sudden comes blazing behind the boys, this would create some drama.
Fix the scene with Kevin calling in to the dispatcher. Figure out some police codes, such as identification and give a location.
I agree that the gas station scene takes us out of the story a bit, but I still like it. Maybe it will work well once you expand this story.
Since Robert is clearly not in his right mind after getting shot, when he goes for gas, I thought it would be hilarious if he pulls on the other side of the pump. While the old guy is filling his car, Robert could walk over and yank the nozzle out of his car and ram it into his gas tank. That is if you're going for some laughs.
As for why John and Sam go back to the speed trap zone, I would think it's because Kevin chases back. So they are trying to elude a cop that is actually chasing them. To everybody's surprise (including Kevin), Robert has set up a road block.
Not sure why John doesn't shoot Robert sooner than later, especially after Robert kills his partner.
The way I see this story ending is that Kevin returns to life and in the last scene, we see two dead cops sitting in a hidden police cruiser, waiting to catch and kill speeders. That could be the urban legend: Phantom cops lie in wait to kill unsuspecting motorists along a canyon road.
Robert reminded me a bit of Maniac Cop, and although I wouldn't compare this movie to the Messiah of Evil, there is still a similar WTF element to the action — I was reminded of Messiah because of the gas station scene and the cop-turning-on-his-partner sequence.
This story has a definite urban legend feel. Maybe if you could make those kids more logical and believable, it will balance the mysterious part of your story. Nice job overall and I love the frenzied pace of the action.
Excellent analysis! Your suggestions are spot on. Thanks. I liked both the pissing and the gas station scenes (you're idea is hilarious) but I've received mixed opinions on them. This was definitely an andrenaline writing experience and it definitely requires a rewrite.
Thanks again for the analysis. I'll have to check out Maniac Cop.
I have to say this was a fast paced adrenanline rush. Most of what I have to say has already been said, so I won't repeat all of it.
When I finished I felt like it was the opening to a feature. To be honest I would love it if you did turn it into a feature as at the end my main question is quite simply WTF? I want to know why the cops are coming back to life. Are they Zombies or something I don't even know about? I want to read more for sure, there are questions I need answers to. As it's a short I'm not sure it's good thing thing I feel like this though which I think is why I hope it gets extended. Maybe with something added to hint at why they become undead killer cops and you've got an excellent first ten pages.
As for the gas station scene, my thoughts would be to have him realise before he gets out of the car that he's a mess. Then he goes inside and when the cashier won't accept the money he blows him away. Then he spots the old man and blows him away too, just for the hell of it. That would certainly add to the what the hell is going on here feel. But I mean, that's just the way I see it.
Thanks for the read and comments. Helpful. When I wrote this I was going for a fast paced story for a challenge. I might not have submitted if one of my script buddies hadn't insisted. That's why when a you and a couple other reviewers suggest that this feels like an opener for a feature, I'm at a loss. I'm not sure I have enough ideas for a feature (only 80 pages to go). It does kind of work for the story before the story approach.
So, you'd like to know what the dead cops are? Me too. I still haven't figured it out. They just are.