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Nightmares in 'The Mystery House' by Gegia David (datha) - Thriller - There is someone in this mansion who kills people. Is it a ghost? Perhaps but... Ghosts do not exist! Do they? 99 page. - pdf, format
Thanks Don and all who gave me adwise to convert my doc. file into pdf, It is my script which i entered in the Bluecat screenplay competition 2006. And there is the feedback i got from them:
Nightmares in “The Mystery House” Archive 1399
What did I like about this script?
The details and buildup in your script are outstanding. Seeing the gloved white hand and the mysterious sounds and sightings give the picture an excellent of feeling of suspense, drama and horror. The fake out scenes which turn out to be dreams are great. You’ve really taken advantage of the concept of dramatic irony by allowing the audience to know what the main characters do not. I would however be aware not to overuse any of your devices otherwise they may undermine their own effectiveness.
Your twists are effectively “twisty.” The film takes such sudden turns in plot that it keeps the story fresh, suspenseful and will keep the audience glued to their chairs.
The character of Herodotus is wonderful. His human qualities combined with his dark background make him a riveting choice as the new protagonist once Linda and Mike disappear from the story.
By the third act you’ve created a wonderful dilemma for the audience as they are not sure who to believe or how the story will end (something which we should always strive for in a suspense/thriller). The mysterious background of Herodotus and Teresa combined with what we don’t know about the killings at the house really drive the action to the climax of the story. Overall I think you’ve found a good balance of plot and perspective to really create some good drama.
What do I think needs work?
Please proof check your work. Right now there are is a glaring issue of incorrect grammar and spelling within the construction of the manuscript itself. From a professional standpoint it will become a turn off to a potential producer (or whoever reads it for him) and robs the script of its clarity and dramatic impact. I would just have it proof read by someone else just to make sure you are using all of the correct and grammar and spelling.
Setting a haunted house film in a place like Long Island is very tough to pull off because it is such a familiar and contemporary location that our minds aren’t quite able to accept that the supernatural would ever really happen here. I do however think it is still a great choice because it is unpredictable. You can, if you want, consider putting it somewhere more secluded and rustic but I would opt that you simply establish the universe of this story at the very beginning of the film. Are we to believe that some sort of ghost lives in this house? Are we to believe there is a curse? I would perhaps start the film off with the a scene depicting the previous atrocities that happened at the house before our main characters even arrive there. Within most myths, bad things happen to the main character when they make a deliberate and conscious decision, usually against counsel, to commit an unwise act. I would suggest possibly changing the structure to include Mike and Linda’s decision to actually buy the house and include some sort of omen warning them about it.
When the twists happen, do be sure not to gloss over them. You wouldn’t want the audience to miss anything. When the murder happens (around page 64) I was so caught off guard that I was a little confused until the very end.
The end reveal of the character of Alan and his motives come off as very sudden and almost dissatisfying. He needs to tie in with the characters themselves and the plot from much earlier on. I would suggest that he become a major player in the ensemble.
The overall action of your film could be compressed because it feels a little long. I would go through and throw out any scenes and sequences that the story could possibly do without. For instance I think there are too many scenes of Linda lying in bed frightened. Since we spend so much time with them, it becomes very frustrating to see them exit the story at about halfway through. When the main character of Psycho is killed it is much earlier in the plot and thus gives us time to re-attach to the new set of protagonists.
A problem I often see with suspense thrillers is that the characters are not compelling enough. Herodotus is very compelling but I would like to see the same amount of complexity given to the rest of the ensemble.
Overall I think the story needs to be tighter and faster. The twists and the important details should be appropriately emphasized (while not becoming too obvious). The suspense element is great. Good job.
I'll be happy to get more bad feedbacks... Thanks.
Hey dave. I read some of this because it sounded interesting, but couldn't really get into it. To me it played like an episode of Scooby Doo. And I'm not trying to be mean or anything, it just wasn't doing anything for me. And it was hard to read the way it was written. I assume that English is not your first language (or at least I hope so, cuz if it is you've got major problems) But I know it's not your fault if your English isn't so great if it's not your first language, but it was still difficult to read. But I did get up to page 13 though, and hope my comments will help.
pg 2 - solidly build cooker. Should be Solidly built cook, or a cook with a solid build.
and you should change all the cookers to either cook or chef
Cut out all the cut to's. When a new scene starts that already signifies that you should cut. putting cut to every scene is overkill.
Herodotus says it's a new house, but If the house had 2 previous owners. How new could the house really be?
bottom pg 7 - hitting system. Should be heating system.
top of pg 9 - After Teresa asks if the ghost killed them, I think there should be some response from Herodotus. A laugh, a look, something before the transition.
eliminate exclamation points in the actions. That doesn't make it any scarier.
pg 10 - split of second. Split second does just fine.
Mike - You are enough grown. Grown enough.
mike - can't wait summer to come. Can't wait FOR summer to come.
You wrote "makes" the light off. TURNS light off is better.
pg 12 - sigh of relive. Sigh of RELIEF
CREATURE APPEARS behind her. Instead of creachure appeared behind her.
Describe the creature.
pg 13- You f...g. bitch. You shouldn't censor yourself in a screenplay, and if you do, why leave in bitch but not f***********?
Anyways, I hope this helps. Once again, not trying to be mean, just pointing out some things. Good luck.
"Picture Porky Pig raping Elmer Fudd" - George Carlin "I have to sign before you shoot me?" - Navin Johnson "It'll take time to restore chaos" - George W. Bush "Harry, I love you!" - Ben Affleck "What are you looking at, sugar t*ts?" - The man without a face "Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day must be put to death." - Exodus 31:15 "No one ever expects The Spanish Inquisition!" - The Spanish Inquisition "Matt Damon" - Matt Damon
Thanks a lot Sryknows. Your comments are very helpful. You are righte, English is not my first, (even fourth) language. I came in NY 6 years ego and what i knew was: "How do you do". Though even now, I write with enormous difficulties! I "spelled" my script for 3 months and was sure that there were no errors. I'am tupid! If not your comments I did not know that there were so many misspellings in first 12 pages. It's just funy, I'm a cook and I was olways thinkig that I was a cooker.
2 previous owners lived in this house, each just for few weeks . First owners were seeng the ghost so they left it (How long you stay in the house where your children see the ghost? But we learn about it on page 25 so you could not know about this). Second owners were mordered in a few weeks too. Anyway you are rigte Herodotus must say that house is allmost new, or 1 year old, or something like this (even house is 1 year "old" it is ready "old"). Thanks again for your time and for your comments. I will read your script. (Maybe I did it ready) But i don't comment too much what i read because i'am not as good as anothers, plus my English and 10-12 hour (6 days per week) job makes it allmost impossible. Thanks and good luck to you too.
The first thing that struck me when reading this script was the whole style and mood you have captured for this story. it is so "french" so New Wave euro cinema they keep talking about from back in the 60's. This script had a real nice feel to it.
the big open space of the house. the cocktails, Almost every scene had a character with a cocktail in their hand or close by with in easy reach. plus the food and and enjoyment of food. It is very stylish and la Nouvelle Vague. I'm not sure if this is your intention, but it works- it's perfect! -and you should play around with it some more in any future scripts you do. it makes your writing distinct and gives it a personal touch.
Herodotu is one cool cat. A fantastic character. The silent, serious type who is a whiz cook and spins a great yarn. he is the highlight of your script. He reminds me of the french cook from the movie called The Cook, The Theif, His Wife And Her Lover.
The one thing for me that sort of does fail for me is the plot. The first half gets a bit repetative with all silhouette lurking in the shadows and in the curtains. You need a bit more variation. The suspense and mystery is tame and domestic and was as frightening and unsettling as an episode of Scooby Do. You need to make the events more scary and you need the husband and wife to be more upset and stressed out ot the point where they turn on each other and risk destroying their marriage. This will give your script much needed drama and conflict.