Some will take issue with the wordy, description heavy first page but I thought you set the scene rather well and showed you are able to write, at least in terms of screenplay writing; punchy and visual.
“ Levi cautiously peels the quilt away. He is dressed in
well-worn wool coat and corduroy jeans, several sizes too
small. Frayed work gloves cover his hands.
His eyes dart from one end of the cabin to the other as he
mechanically slides on a pair of hiking boots.
He sticks his hand under the rolled up sleeping bag he uses
as a pillow. When it emerges, a rusted pocket knife is
clenched tightly in his fist.”
- This should be broken up into two or three blocks and by the look of the formatting I’m thinking you meant to.
“He stealthily descends the ladder, carefully navigating past the broken rung.”
- Nice visual nods to suggest he has been in this cabin for awhile now.
The troubled V.O. adds an interesting tension and urgency to the otherwise tranquil, if eerie surroundings.
- Should it be “canned”?
“Levi pulls his arm from the fire and gingerly cradles it to
his chest, like a dog with a wounded paw.”
- Sh?t, I thought he had thrust the glove into the fire...until this line.
- I just learned a new colour! Sounds like the name of a Pokemon.
“Outside, the wind HOWLS against the ramshackle structure.
The DOOR BLOWS OPEN, nearly ripping off its worn hinges.”
It’s coming. It’s coming. It’s coming.
- Just a suggestion but I wonder would this dialogue be more effective coming before the door is blown open?
- Like the cubed letters he left behind earlier, this is an anagram of “death” right? Is she a physical representation of Levi’s impending demise? Reading on...
The writing is rather bulky and cumbersome at the bottom of page 8. It could be tightened up a lot without losing any of the information. Stick to terse sentencing, focus on the essentials.
“There is a huge pile of snow in front of the door.”
- How can we see this if we are inside the cabin? Through that 3 inch gap?
“He looks down at Thade, silently beckoning for answers.”
- Looking down? Is this the young Thade from the flashback? If so, why isn’t it the young Levi too? As if by going into this room that have somehow gone back in time...or has she just mysteriously shrunk!
“Much to his surprise, he finds HIMSELF lying there”.
- You know, something told me this would happen, like his fractured consciousness has come full circle akin to “The Machinist”. The room, Thade, the cabin, all symbolizing an inner fear of some past trauma or loss. I’m also thinking that perhaps Thade was the cause of this or Levi hurt her in some way in the past.
That’s my half baked reading of it anyway. I get that a lot of it is open to interpretation. I did like the motif of the snow and Levi locking himself into this metaphorical cabin, the voices in his head, his encounters (real or imaginary) all give the aura that we’re in the harrowed psyche of a sick man.
To your credit, I thought you did a great job there in setting that mood and tone.
However, while I enjoyed those elements and was invested in the world you created and Levi’s psychological torment I was left at a bit of a loose end when we got to FADE IN. A little let down, a “Is that it” feeling. As its appears, he seems to enter the underground pantry, than into this room, meets himself and finds peace with Thade but I’m not really sure why.
Why does getting to this room alleviate his pain? What was the significance of meeting himself under the quilt? Is Thade actually with him now? Are they still alive or have they died together? Is this room the afterlife, a purgatory of sorts?
Was the annihilation of the cabin really the crumbling of illusion he had wrapped around himself? If so, what was he hiding from? We never find out and that mystery is both fascinating and frustrating/unsatisfying.
I thought the warning voices in his head were telling him not to open the door in the first place to let Thade in. Because when he did, the snow entered, the cabin weakened and started to collapse, trapping him. As if his curiously and desire to help Thade and bring her into his world (i.e. cabin) brought about his death..but luckily there was that underground door, eh
Perhaps the meaning here is something much more simpler than all my wayward speculating and I’m over thinking it. Of course, on the contrary it could be the opposite and I’m dumbing it down. I would like to hear your explanations if you chose to divulge.