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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Unproduced Screenplay Discussion    Short Scripts  ›  The Call Moderators: bert
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  Author    The Call  (currently 1298 views)
Posted: August 10th, 2010, 5:37pm Report to Moderator

So, what are you writing?

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The Call by Shawn D. Kelley (shawnkjr) - Short, Horror - Mild-mannered Jay is preyed upon after receiving a distressed late night phone call from his troubled sister. 12 pages - pdf, format

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Posted: August 10th, 2010, 7:55pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

Los Angeles
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Thanks for posting this, Don. Any comments appreciated.


Scarefest 2 presents: Home Malone - Short/Horror
Spoiled - OWC Horror/Milk Exercise
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Posted: August 10th, 2010, 8:13pm Report to Moderator
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Buy the ticket, take the ride

That's me in the corner
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This builds up nicely until the end, which was a bit of a disappointment for me.  Your revelation for this disembodied voice seems a little too out there for my tastes, and leaves me wondering why Lauren was even necessary at all.

That, and once we know where you are going, the things he said were pretty "out of character", for lack of a better phrase, and hopefully avoiding spoilers.

The writing itself was fine, though, and the violence that abruptly goes way over the top actually worked pretty well for me up until those final pages that kind of let me down.

The hand sanitizer thing is kind of odd.  Is that supposed to be a character quirk?  It is not wrong or anything, and I have to admit I have not seen it before.  But I also found it kind of odd that Michele goes to hop into the bathtub right after using half a bottle of the stuff.

Also, Lauren is pretty beat up once she reaches the hotel.  Was she like this at the phone booth also?  You give us no indication of that.  The way you have it now it seems like she got beat up on her way to the hotel.  Her initial introduction could use a fix.

I do not have any suggestions for you to conclude this story with an alternate ending.  I liked the build up well enough, but for me, the final reveal takes it down a notch.  This is good, but with a different direction, I think it could be better.

Hey, it's my tiny, little IMDb!
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Posted: August 10th, 2010, 9:47pm Report to Moderator
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I just finished this and - WOW -

I personally felt involved in every twist and turn you presented. It was quick paced, well written and right on regarding timing.

I really enjoyed this up to the very end. Well done my friend.

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Posted: August 10th, 2010, 10:01pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer

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The violence in this was cool, but I think you need to set the story up better.  How exactly does Lauren come into contact with this demon?  All you show is her in front of an old diner, then at the motel looking all roughed up.  That's just too vague.  Does she dabble in the occult?  

While the writing itself was good, the setup and ending fell flat to me.  For 11 pages, it flew by, but this felt like a story in search of a twist.  
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Posted: August 10th, 2010, 11:23pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer


About a thousand years from now.
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PDF page 7 / Script page 6
>> LAUREN - Where is that sidity psycho compulsive girlfriend of yours?
JAY MICHELE- In the tub.<<

MICHELE should answer that OS from the bathtub - before closing the door.
And I didn't find what "sidity" was.

Jay’s ringtone sounds again. He answers.
JAY -  Hello? <<

No caller ID? No call back?

pg 8/7
>> Lauren grips her stomach. Lets out a groan. She gags. Vomits.
BLOOD POURS from her mouth and onto Jay’s feet and the floor. <<

into the carpet

>> He goes to dial when- The ringtone sounds again. He answers.
JAY (CONT’D) Hello? <<

Whatadouche. His kid sister is puking up blood, puked blood on him and he's gonna answer the phone before calling 9-1-1. Jerk-off.

By page 10/9 there's all this freaky sh!t happening but little to no lead in or background as to "why". Now, if this is an intro scene that will flesh-out the evil bad-guy later in the feature - then fine.

>> Jay groans. He crawls back. Away from the corpse. He screams.
A deep guttural cry. He pulls at his hair. Inconsolable. <<

He's a cooler cat than me. I'd be shrieking.
And he needs to drop Michele's decapitated body, it makes an unnatural splatting thud before crawling back.

>> Lauren staggers up behind him and SLAMS a lamp over his head. He falls to the floor, unconscious...
She looks up toward the sky and screams out.
There! I did it! You’ve got them! I
did what you wanted! Now please
leave me alone
!... blah blah blah...
No! No! We had a deal. Two
lives...two souls in exchange for
mine. That means you have to leave
me alone now. You have to! PLEASE! <<

A: Michelle gets boiled, glass stabbed & decapitated.
Lauren pukes a lotta blood and presumably gets ripped in half.
But ol' Jay get's off with a good doink to the noggin.
Jay needs to man-up to a respectable "gore death" to keep up with his fairer costars.
B: He's knocked unconscious but that's supposed to count as one of the two souls she's tasked to providing the bad-guy? Poor jay needs to die, not fall to the floor unconscious.
The unreasonable mob demands brains.
C: Is Lauren "possessed" when she clubs Jay with the lamp? Well... THAT doesn't count as one of her kills. The demon gets that one. She's gotta go put on her big girl panties and kill her own vic. And she needs to just keep pounding and pounding brother's skull till little jelly bits of brain drip down the bathroom mirror where a demonic smile grins in the condensation.

Okey doke.
Definitely a part of something larger.
Not a stand alone short.
Cheezy without any history or context beyond what's given, but a rippin' good gore sequence for what it was!
Two thumbs up!

Personally, I would have steam boiled Michele's flesh and hair right off into the tub, entrails pouring out like bloody logging chain, but... that's just me.
And I woulda saturated splatted the curtains with Lauren's blood as an EXT. HOTEL ROOM shot.

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Posted: August 11th, 2010, 2:42pm Report to Moderator

Scotland, UK
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Hi Shawn,

I quite enjoyed this one. I'm not a great fan of horrors to be honest, but here's a few random thoughts:

Quoted Text
Page 1: "The small motel room is efficient at best."

I'm not quite sure what an "efficient" motel room looks like, can you be more descriptive - maybe "simply furnished".

I would try to avoid naming a specific piece of music, even for a ring tone. It's unlikely to be cleared unless you have a pile of money at your disposal.

I got a little confused at the start of page 3, we're in the motel room, and "Lauren looks around", I know you're intercutting, but maybe another slug line is needed.

You probably mean moisturizer rather than sanitizer, unless Michele has an obsessive compulsive disorder and needs to be germ free all the time

Taking a bath at 3 in the morning - weird!

Otherwise a gripping read - if you can get me past page 2 you're doing something right.


If you get a chance please take a moment to have a read of:

I Love Him Not (4 pages) - Read Script, Leave a comment

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Posted: August 11th, 2010, 3:31pm Report to Moderator

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Hey Shawn.

Liked it. Flowed nicely. Looked good on paper.

Story could have used some foreshadowing of the *the thing not named* so we could get more of a build-up of this monster's hold on her. Otherwise, it comes across as gratuitous violence.

Also, maybe something with the sister showing remorse for what she's done or at least telling her brother she was sorry. I didn't get any feel for the brohter or sister relaitonship ohter than he's been "babysitting" her entire life.

Again, I liked the story and style. Just a comment or two to consider.

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Posted: August 11th, 2010, 8:57pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

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Nice touch with the sister sacrificing her own brother in order to save her soul.  Though the devil allows collects what becomes rightfully his.
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Posted: August 11th, 2010, 9:06pm Report to Moderator
Old Timer


About a thousand years from now.
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Quoted from AdamW
I'm not quite sure what an "efficient" motel room looks like, can you be more descriptive - maybe "simply furnished".

Red Roof Inn as opposed to Hilton Garden Inn.

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Posted: August 12th, 2010, 1:22pm Report to Moderator
Been around a while

Los Angeles
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Sorry that you were disappointed. Yeah. It's a character quirk. Michele is a bit of a germophobe. I tried to be ironic by having her getting boiled in the end. I'll clear up Lauren's appearance in the rewrite. Thanks. Your comments will help make this better.


I'm glad you enjoyed this. Thanks for posting.


Good that you liked the violence in this at least. I wanted what was happening to be left the the imagination. To leave it as a bit of a mystery but I plan on elaborating in the rewrite.


Thank you for your dissection.This post will really help me out. I agree on having Jay's death be more gruesome.


Happy you enjoyed this. About the music: My take on it is, if someone wanted to produce this....the ringtone could very simply be removed.
Another slugline is needed. It's a bit confusing. I agree.


I plan on more foreshadowing in the rewrite but I really want the villain to remain mysterious.


Thank You.

Scarefest 2 presents: Home Malone - Short/Horror
Spoiled - OWC Horror/Milk Exercise
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Posted: August 24th, 2010, 10:48am Report to Moderator
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Hey Shawn,

Technically, for the most part, this was well-written, sticking pretty good to a well-developed format, so I'm guessing you've been writing for awhile.

My only niggles with the writing aspect is that there are too many adverbs, mainly in the beginning, that distracts a little bit from the fluid rhythm of the story.  'Womanly', 'provocatively', 'intensely', 'soundly', 'lightly', 'loudly'.  All those are only on the first page, and some in the same sentence.  A favorite joke of mine goes 'Lately, recently, I've found it best to minimally and sparsely use adverbs.'

Also, the (Cont'd)'s are a little useless because the name of who's talking is right there for us to read.  We already know who's talking.  (Cont'd)'s just add more clutter to take us out of what's happening.

Storywise, though, I have to admit that this one didn't do it for me.  I understand that it was written as a supernatural horror story and I went into it with an open imagination.  This story, however, and this is only my opinion, asked me to suspend belief for way too long and just take for granted that all this stuff was happening without any explanation.

I understand that this is the devil we're dealing with and everything, but in that case, he never really needed Lauren's help to get to Jay and Michele, and she becomes useless in the story.  Someone who was just there to waste time and take up space on pages.  If the devil could make the bathwater instantly boil and rip the woman's head clean off, I'm sure he didn't need Lauren to hit Jay over the head with the lamp for him.

(And, in my lengthy experience of motels, any kind of hot water is good water to me.  :-)  )

The story just comes off as a little bit of a seedy B-movie done just for gross effects, which come off as humorous when you see them done onscreen.

Like I said, the writing was good, it's just that the story fell flat because of the believability factor.

-  Mark

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Posted: August 24th, 2010, 11:28am Report to Moderator
Old Timer

Wherever I go, there Jwent.

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Your slugs are inconsistent. I use Mini slugs too when inside the same location. You use MOTEL ROOM, then INT. BATHROOM - CONTINUOUS. I Think BATHROOM would suffice. Whether you use full or mini, I just think you should be consistent throughout your script

DISTORTED MALE VOICE should be (V.O.) if he's on the other line of the phone.

I liked this. The visual of Michelle's decapitated head staring back at him. Could be very creepy on film. It's a good build up. Then just ends in a myriad of violence. With no explanation. MOst horror seems to go this way nowadays, so I can't fault you for following. Good work. Could be better, as always. I liked it though.


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