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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Horror Scripts  ›  Murderhorn - Optioned, again Moderators: bert
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  Author    Murderhorn - Optioned, again  (currently 3232 views)
Don
Posted: July 1st, 2017, 12:41pm Report to Moderator
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So, what are you writing?

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Murderhorn by Rodriquez Fruitbat - Horror - A troubled boy finds an injured dark unicorn in the forest behind his house and nurses it back to health with the blood of his tormentors. 95 pages - pdf, format

Writer interested in feedback on this work



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You will miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
- Wayne Gretzky

Revision History (3 edits; 1 reasons shown)
Don  -  September 28th, 2021, 10:19am
optioned!
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Cacutshaw
Posted: July 1st, 2017, 11:23pm Report to Moderator
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Very well done! The atmosphere and dialogue were spot on, like River's Edge meets Marebito.

I was a little thrown off by the film opening with a dream sequence that really does not get followed up on (literally, anyway).

I enjoyed that you took what could be a "crazy" or "culty" idea like a murdering unicorn quite seriously and added a very human element with the family dynamic. Great work.
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stevemiles
Posted: July 2nd, 2017, 5:06am Report to Moderator
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Rodriquez,

Title and premise pulled me in - dark unicorns, troubled kids, blood of tormentorsÖ Thought Iíd check out the first couple of pages and got sucked right in for a fair few more.

With that said, something feels absent from the logline and Iím not sure quite what that is.  It reads almost too straightforward - like you're telling me the outcome.  Feels like there could be a sense of doubt or conflict in here.  For example, is this troubled kid forced to make a difficult choice in helping this Unicorn?

Also -- Ď...in the forest behind his houseí - do you need this in the logline?

** SPOILERS **

Dream sequence intro felt a little too familiar.  No issues with the handling, it was nicely done so by no means a deal breaker.

Within 15 pages I care about Daniel - I want to see his world get better and see comeuppance for the likes of Jimmy and Shane.  Itís not overwrought or deliberately cruel, more family/social circumstance leading to a casual neglect.  Feels natural.

By p.30, tonally it works for me and Iím loving the writing.  Itís a grim world of a struggling family with the drug dealing angle suggesting trouble ahead.  Into that the idea of this Dark Unicorn just kind of slots into place.  

What stands out to me the most was how quickly the Unicorn was brought into it.  Again, whatís there is well handled but we go from Daniel scared of a bad dream and wanting to sleep in Momís room to following an injured Unicorn into the woods (not to mention removing the stick).  This feels a little disingenuous given whatís come just before.  I didnít expect to get to the Unicorn quite so soon and/or so easily.  Feels like you could be playing on the suspense of that moment a lot more.  Personally, between the writing and the premise, I would have kept reading to get there.

Thatís all Iíve got for now, hopefully I can finish the rest shortly.

Steve  


My short scripts can be found here on my new & improved budget website:


http://stevemiles80.wixsite.com/sjmilesscripts
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RodriguezFruitbat
Posted: July 2nd, 2017, 10:02pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks Cacutshaw and Stevemiles, your feedback is much appreciated!

It's interesting that both of you commented on the opening dream sequence. I thought of it as an important set up to his troubled background and impending action against negative people in his life through the Unicorn. Since both of you have commented on it, I think I either need to make it more clear or rethink the opening.
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Tyler King
Posted: July 3rd, 2017, 8:50pm Report to Moderator
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I liked this a lot. I was only expecting to read the first few pages, but I was hooked instantly and actually finished it all last night. The premise seemed cheesy like a SyFy channel movie or something, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. You turned it into a great script with in depth characters. I really felt bad for Daniel and how he was treated, and the storyline with his mom dying really hit home with me, very emotional stuff. I liked it though, and the kills were pretty brutal. It was a solid idea, too, very original. As the previous posters mentioned, the dream at the beginning could have been expanded on and I think the ending was kind of just "blah". Idk, it felt like it could've used something more IMO. Also, I think it would've been a little better if you made Daniel's stuffed horse animal, a stuffed unicorn instead, as it fits with the movie. Just my thoughts. Good job!
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RodriguezFruitbat
Posted: July 5th, 2017, 1:11pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks for reading Tyler! I'm thrilled you liked it, and I'll take your notes to heart on the next pass.

Everyone has picked up on the fact that I took a cheesy idea (basically Little Shop of Horrors with a unicorn) and then treated is as dark and serious as I could (hopefully capturing a bit of the tone of Donnie Darko, Let the Right one In, and Winter's Bone). But as stevemiles and you allude to, the logline still sets up an expectation of a cheesy movie.

I'm open to any thoughts on a logline that sells the script more for what it is.
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stevemiles
Posted: July 5th, 2017, 2:38pm Report to Moderator
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Got around to reading the rest and I enjoyed it.  The how and why of the unicorn was never really explained, but itís one of those ideas that works without it.  Interesting you mention Donnie Darko as that and It Follows came to mind (Winterís Bone I can see in the family setting and tone to an extent) - all films that Iíve got a lot of time for, probably why I liked this.

Good visuals throughout - liked the imagery of Daniel riding through the dark streets.

Occurred to me on p.52 thereís been very little of Watkins yet he keeps popping up.  Maybe a touch more to his character to add a little something.  Having said that, what part does his investigation (what little there is of it) really play?  I can understand why heís there, the sense heís closing in on Daniel provides tension but it never really goes anywhere.  I got the feeling heíd play a pivotal role at some point, yet he doesnít.

p.54 -  Iím confused as to why Kenís reaction to a unicorn would be to ask it a question.  Unless Iím missing something?  Shock perhaps, but to assume it had something to do with Shaneís disappearance seems forced.

Good stuff, really builds - the question of what happened to Alex, Watkins closing in, what do the SUV guys want?  All the while the unicorn lurks in the background.  Not to mention the possible danger posed towards Mom and Chloe.

Perhaps foreshadow the SUV guys earlier on with something from Jimmy to suggest heís answerable to someone higher up the food chain.  Or maybe thatís in there and I missed it?

Not sure how I feel about the ending.  I will say I found it genuinely moving.  I didnít know where you could take it; your main character is a child yet heís unwittingly complicit in the deaths of a lot of people (some his own family, albeit others deservingly).  I was trying to figure out how I feel about his character and actions - is he deserving of redemption/hope or doomed to suffer the consequences of his choices?  

In the end it feels like a mixture of both - bittersweet - with an emphasis on the bitter.  The last scene with Mom projects hope but thatís hard to square with Danielís actions.  Where he goes from here is a bit vague.  Itís unlikely heíd be blamed for the deaths, how would they pin it on him?  But heíd have to spend his life knowing he was partly responsible for the death of his brother.  Itís that question of what happened to Alex that niggles me in particular.  It seems mean spirited to have killed Alex (assuming that he is dead), heís really just a messed up kid too.  As a result it seems almost cruel for Mom to die not knowing (about Alex) yet with such hope for Daniel.

It made me think, so thatís no bad thing.  Interested to get your take on it and what you want the reader to take from it.


A few minors:

p.43 - blimps
p.46 states - stares?
p.74 - peaks - peeks.

Best of luck with it,

Steve


My short scripts can be found here on my new & improved budget website:


http://stevemiles80.wixsite.com/sjmilesscripts
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RodriguezFruitbat
Posted: July 5th, 2017, 2:54pm Report to Moderator
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I think I must have a tendency to leave too much to the audiences imagination. I should probably make the ending super clear. (Sixth Sense style)

SPOILERS (if anyone cares)

Basically the unicorn is Daniel's anger. This dream sequence at the beginning is basically the crack in his psyche where everything (Family neglect, uncaring brother, bullies) culminates in his subconscious desire to take his anger out on his tormentors. When the bully's dog rips his favorite horse stuffy, that manifests as the injured unicorn in his head. No one ever see's the unicorn beside the boy. The victims do see Daniel before he kills them though. I tried to keep the kills believable (Shane could be killed by a rock, drunk guy pushed off the bridge, meth head surprised then stabbed, kids drives the car off the road. I should clear up the brother though...)

Watkins is narrowing down on the boy as the murderer. And in the end they find him and can hardly believe he was responsible.

The Mom is the light in Daniel's life, she finally destroys the unicorn with her goodness ad sacrifice and her love for Daniel. In the end, Daniel is probably going to a mental hospital, but now he is fully recovered from the evil inside him. Given his age and his new mental awareness, he'll probably be released eventually as a healthy adult.
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stevemiles
Posted: July 7th, 2017, 3:33pm Report to Moderator
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It seemed to me as if the unicorn was a separate entity, acting alongside of, or on Danielís behalf as his anger grows out of control.  That itís Daniel carrying out the killing is a harder sell - though perhaps not for others.  Shane, Jimmy and Ken I could see to an extent.  When it comes to Alex, the unicorn seems to be acting independently of Daniel swiping him away as Daniel watches and begs him not to.  The two goons is a tougher sell also.  It was those scenes in particular that made me think it was a separate creature/force as it were, which in turn distances (and somewhat absolves) Daniel from the killing.  I thought he'd simply lost control of it (if he'd ever had it to begin with).

That's just how it appeared to me, others may have no issue with it.  Either way it's an entertaining (and fast) read - hoping you get to take it further.

All the best,

Steve


My short scripts can be found here on my new & improved budget website:


http://stevemiles80.wixsite.com/sjmilesscripts
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: July 10th, 2017, 3:25pm Report to Moderator
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Excellent. I hope a top filmmaker does it justice.

Keep it deliberately ambiguous. The story is better if it;s open to interpretation whether it's real or not.

Coming down strongly on either side weakens it.
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khamanna
Posted: July 13th, 2017, 4:02pm Report to Moderator
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Hey, Rodriquez, a very atmospheric script you got here. I liked it very much, great job.

The ending feels undone, but I dont think you need to do anything at this point. I think it's up to you and the producer if it's goinng to be picked up.
I do think that somewhere at the very end it should be said that even though the Mother got rid of the unicorn it happened too late. It'll have bigger impact I think because we expect new Daniel, redeemed sort of by his mother. But we really shouldnt - as Daniel is serial killer at this point. And looks like he knows it.

But like I said I think that for now you shouldn't add or alter anything.
Really nice job
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RodriguezFruitbat
Posted: July 15th, 2017, 12:50pm Report to Moderator
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Thank you Scar Tissue Films and khamanna!

I can see the ending will be the most contentious part of the script for sure. I think you're right, if any producer or director were ever interested, they would definitely have strong opinions about which way to go with it. I'll keep thinking about it anyway though.

Love the feedback.
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RodriguezFruitbat
Posted: July 15th, 2017, 1:26pm Report to Moderator
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Yay! Just made the quarter-finalists for the Page Awards.
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khamanna
Posted: July 15th, 2017, 1:28pm Report to Moderator
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Quoted from RodriguezFruitbat
Yay! Just made the quarter-finalists for the Page Awards.


I'm glad it did. Best wishes for the next round! And congrats!
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RodriguezFruitbat
Posted: October 27th, 2017, 11:24am Report to Moderator
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Quick update - I just signed an option for this script to a filmmaker who found it on this site. Thanks SimplysScripts!

Also, it was a 2nd rounder in the Austin Film Festival script competition. Thanks for everyone's feedback!
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