Comments Made During the Contest
Aaron Scott (Level 4)
I liked the tone here. Very creepy and set up right from the beginning. The setting also helped with the tone.I liked the fact that she thinks she's imagining things because of how tired she feels. I can relate with the main character. The dialog could use a little work, but over all I enjoyed this.
Aralis Bloise (Level 4)
I liked it a lot. Even though I have seen the concept of the monsters that move only when you don't look at them, this was done in a different way and the ending was unexpected. The pacing is good and with good editing, it could be a very scary short.
Ashley White (Level 3)
All that because of a game of chess, huh? Brutal. This story was definitely creepy. Obviously there are some unexplained questions. How does Gina orchestrate this entire situation? Are those people really dead? Is Gina dead? I could definitely see this working as a longer screenplay. I really like the idea of moving inthe darkness. The corpses moved when she shut her; when it was dark. Definitely creepy.
Barry Katz (Level 3)
Wow! That was quite a twist. The ending totally threw me off. Great job building tension and suspense from the get-go. You captured the essence of "horror." The reader is in fear for Natalie's life and we are just waiting for something bad to happen. The story held my attention and I was really into it, BUT... I must admit, I was a bit disappointed that nobody was actually murdered, slaughtered, killed, ya' know. Call me a sick puppy, but that's what I was hoping for. As far as a 5-pager, I think you made really good use of your space. If you were to expand this, I'd say make Gina the killer. If I understand the story correctly, it was a set-up by Gina to scare Natalie, correct? If, at the very end, Gina were to stick a sharp object into Natalie, causing her to die, it would have been the icing on the cake for me. The ending was clever, but just didn’t fully quench my thirst for true horror.
Bill Delehanty (Level 4)
I loved the corpse moving and then laying down the wrong way, that got me hooked in right away. The script then becomes too wordy, too much description. A good exercise would be go back and see what parts you can make into 1 or 2 lines that are now 3.A different premise from the others this month makes this stand out for me. Good job.
Brian Wind (Level 5)
I believe the word View should be capitalized in the title. Torch means something completely different in the UK than it does in the US so that was a minor point of confusion (albeit not one that I would subtract points for.) I thought this story was going splendidly until the very end, which kind of confused me. Did Gina somehow cause all this? If not, who or what did? I loved this script up until the very end, which only served to confuse me. Anyway, very nice job. This was well written and paced. Very visceral. Overall, a very enjoyable script.
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
Good start with the chess game.Carrie’s body has rotated 180 degrees and is now lying theother way - well, it would be if it had totated 180 degrees!Do people REALLY rub their eyes in disbelief?...but then she dismisses it as her tired imagination - don't TELL us. The fact that she says 'I need sleep' is quite enough.Too much bewilderment, puzzlement, rubbing eyes...Really, wouldn't Natalie just get the hell out of there?I liked the beginning, as I said, liked the ending but the bit in the middle I was less sure of, less convinced by it. Perhaps it went on too long?
Chris Keaton (Level 5)
I like the opening moments. So few people forget they need to write visually and very few things start with you seeing everything, the picture normally reveals itself. A torch, what are you British, if not it'll be kind of strange for the dr. to be sticking a flaming stick in this chicks mouth. A goth chick really.Trim out those little extra words like 'instantly', when she dives we'll figure it was instantaneous.Oh, shit. Really? You do know that we get Dr. Who in the states. This is a big ripoff of 'Blink.' Sure these creatures aren't statues, but dead people that behave like statues unless you aren't looking. You know it's not far enough different to not be considered a rip off. I and many people don't mind seeing borrowed or similar theme's, but you have to twist it up and make it more yours. Just changing the statues to dead people wasn't enough for me. And the antag as a female isn't really living up to the requirements in my mind, she is going to be attacked by all sexes it just happened to be the first creature she sees is female.Nice writing but disappointed in the borrowed theme.
Chris Messineo (Founder)
Brilliant script.What a clever and original idea. I love it. Your craft is great.This was wonderful.
David Birch (Level 5)
"no windows" implies "only artificial light"...so one or the other, or it reads redundant...same with "frantically looks around her:...looks left...right...left again..i'd drop the second "looks"...reads cleaner...really terrific imagery...theatre of the mind...the first half (i thought) was the most compelling, but a pretty decent read with the right amount of "creep" to it...thanks
Elias Farnum (Level 5)
A nice cat and mouse repartee, by page four it was dragging for me though. I was thinking, at least I hope the chess game is revisited (as that was the set-up) and you came through marvelously at the end, bravo with that. Thanks for the payoff.I still think the game was too long. Cut down the corpse chasing, and add something more at the beginning to show that Natalie really deserves it. Good job with this and worth rewriting.
Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)
The CONT'Ds on dialogue are distracting to me and are not needed. If you use Final Draft this feature can be turned off.
Geoff Willis (Level 3)
Good stuff. I thought it was a pretty smooth, easy read. I thought your actions seemed a little to broken up at times. Although for that much action I guess it makes sense not to jumble it all together. Maybe a little too much "..." and "--". I actually enjoyed the light going on and off for a frightening effect. I liked the little twist at the end, but still feel like something is missing. Good job!
Herman Chow (Level 5)
I liked the story very much. It really gives me the tension and the creeps as Natalie and Carrie going back and forth...just like in a chess game. There are different beats in the story so it doesn't feel repetitive at all.The description is very clear, although I would go easier on the eclipses.The character Natalie is relatable as well.About the ending, I have some reservation. I don't quite get why other people are frozen as statue as well. Is Gina some kind of magician? I guess Gina is the true female perpetrator and not Carrie.Anyway, a very good job on this one. Congratulation!
Jacob Guerra (Level 4)
What a very interesting premise this is. The situation may seem a bit cliche, however there were enough elements (at least as far as I know) to set it apart from other stories. I actually found myself getting closer to the screen as I read. The descriptions set up the mood of the piece rather well (the hum of the refrigerators, etc.) and I thought it was nicely paced. Although the ending was a shocker, it didn't have quite an easy fit for me to the rest of what was going on, but it was still effective in my opinion. I think your overall goal was to make this appear as a chess match, and you succeeded in that. Nice work.
Jane Beckwith (Level 4)
I liked this script very much. I think the title might be improved upon. I know the writer had time constraints, but in a re-write, a bit more time could have been spent in playing up the rivalry. Is our character getting a comeuppance for bad behavior as a competitor? Is Gina just REALLY uncomfortable losing? Setting up the conflict while not spoiling the ending is a challenge, but I sense this writer is up to it! Making the attack a series of "moves" that the protagonist has a chance to fend off is brilliant. In the end, the tone eluded me. Is Gina showing off, happy to have won or is it curtains for the protagonist? (I never feel satisified when scripts that end with someone "smiling" and I don't take to movies that end that way either.)
Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)
Genius!I was really scared while reading this. Even though I did wonder if the chess game had a particular significance, I did not see the ending coming. It took it completely off guard!
JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)
OH MY GOD! WHAT A GREAT AND ORIGINAL STORY! Before I get to the bad stuff, I have to say I really enjoyed it. I didn't even see the relevance to the chess until you revealed it. That was just genius. I like how you added the refrigerator units hum, too. Nice touch of detail.The fact that she was walking away, and to reveal that she was going for the light switch, that is just hilarious! The whole "torch" thing was scary too. I just envisioned it in my mind, and if I was in a theater I would be scared.Now to the bad stuff...Very, very, poorly written. Your grammar, sentence structure, and the worst, you recycled words and phrases like crazy. As a screenwriter, your work needs to flow. I cringed at several parts because you had just used the exact phrase. Why didn't she just kick the girl down? That would of gave her some time. Who wrote the message on her paperwork, and was whispering "die"? Why weren't they attacking her? When she left, why would she lean against the door? I would only assume, since the zombie was no longer in sight, she would open it, and continue to attack. I would of ran out the building! The ending was clever, but some of it was not clear to me. Gina was killed by them and then turned into one, right? Why didn't they open the door and attack Natalie while she was in the room? None of the other zombies, other than the girl, were in the room while they were playing chess so Gina would be the only one that could of written "checkmate" on the board. If she is that conscious, why is she attacking her own friend? So many flaws in a GREAT story. I want to give you a very good, but I can't. ...I really want to, because the story is so original. You know what, never mind, I will. :)But don't think a good story can get you far in the business. Make no mistake, your writing needs a lot of work.
Joel Davis (Level 5)
This was really cool visually, and really captured the pacing and tone of a good horror flick. The little details like the breaking flashlight were great. I don't think there's much to improve on in the horror/scary movie department. However, I found the motivations and the means lacking. I wasn't sure why Gina was out to get Natalie, just being beaten at chess was certainly not enough. It wasn't entirely clear that it was a prank or real zombies, I took it as a clever prank but it would have been nice for the script to confirm that. Overall, great idea and nicely done, but I think the "closing in on her" bit could have been done in a page or two, and the rest used for more clarity and character development.
John Brooke (Level 5)
You have presented me with a graphic lesson in suspense through continuous conflict and crisis contrapuntally Intercutting momentary solutions. A symphony of highs and lows, back and forth like watching a high speed ping pong game. It was a classic entertaining, frightening experience.The final word “CHECK MATE” scrawled in thick black marker was a shocking ending indeed.But, between Natalie’s breathtaking successful escape from the morgue into the real world the unreal time warp of the people in frozen action really puzzled me. Some how it just didn’t make sense. I kown that the Carrie has been performing that stop motion ballet in the morgue, and you made me accept that. Somehow the conection of the walking dead frozen in time to a living bunch of people just didn’t seem right. Other wise from my “Point of View” which by the way is a good title, it was a visually viable story.Good if not better.
Jose Batista (Level 5)
What a cool title. You could've chosen something more defining for this great little piece, but this is not bad either. And what a great little horror piece this is. Excellent!!!From beginning to end, well written, nice dialogue and a quickening pace. The action was well described and the pauses of movement and stillness, coupled with the lights on/lights off effect, was simply amazing. Visually, this would be devilishly stunning. A dead body moving whenever vision is not focused on it or theres's darkness... Genial! The constant shift between these two POV's gave the script an erratic form of foreboding that succeeds pleasurably in causing fear at every turn of action.An original idea that refreshes the genre and creates a genuine sense of fear. The only story so far that has left scary images in my mind (and all I did was just read the thing...LOL!!!). Certainly worthy of being filmed and can be done with ease. Excellent Work.
Kevin Carty (Level 4)
Your writing is good but I'm afraid you set everything up in a rather lame fashion. There is a huge plot hole here. It starts at the beginning with the chess match. Why is gina even in the dang script, useless character. Sure she likes to play chess but why does the ghost or carrie want her dead. This is why I hate the grudge because everyone wants a ghost that kills for no reason in their story. Stuff like this doesn't scare me at all because you obviously forced in the check mate reference. If you'd put in a connection with her to the body then yes it can work maybe someone she affected but had no idea she was doing so. That would make for an original plot without all the Gothic references we get it black masscara is creepy, right. But we know nothing about Carrie except that she's Goth or even how she died. I don't see how chess has anything to do with this. Too many convenient plot holes that you didn't address for me. Nothing we haven't seen from the grudge the unborn the uninvited or any of the other films trying to capitalize on the vengeful ghost genre in the ways that I discussed earlier this is not that good in that context. Let me give you a bit of advice story wise. No matter what story or genre you are writing eventually You must explain everything to your audience even if you are making a sequel and everything has to tie in to the end in a way that is not just convenient for the writer. So in that way you have to give us a story not just execute the genre and yes that can be done in five pages an entire arc. Advice for rewrites connect them in someway, cut out the whole chess theme you got here and start from either snippets of how she died and reveal it at the last part and you will have at the very least an amazing story. Develop your characters, Character is not just being a mortician that plays chest to pass the time.
Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)
I think it's great that I couldn't tell who the killer was up untill the end. Kind of typical horror flick but with flair and reads fast. Well written, I think. And, also, you could pull off the mood very well through the writing and I appreciate that. All the images were powerful.
KP Mackie (Level 5)
Good setup. Perhaps "Checkmate" would make a better title, considering Gina's gotcha at the end. Like the story's bookends -- beginning with a chess game and ending with a chess game term, and the switch to Gina smiling triumphantly, as Natalie had.Three characters are easy to follow (even with Carrie and Natalie ending with same sound), primarily since Gina does not reappear until the end. Might add some variety to change Natalie or Gina's age, and would be helpful to include some description of these two doctors or mortuary workers. Carrie's description is visual.Much of Natalie's action is good, plus her character gives an actor lots to do. Her dialogue needs some tightening. Might want to let the action speak for her, without dialogue. After grabbing the replacement torch, she "stops in her tracks" when she notices Carrie's body had rotated. She doesn't need to say, "What the...?"Several instances of description that cannot be seen on a screen. She "realizes her mistake; remembers the situation; is consigned to defeat." The significance of the PEOPLE "frozen like statues" at the end needs clarification. Assumed they were deceased, like Carrie, and Gina lines them up like she had manipulated Carrie's body. Seems inconsistent, though, for Gina -- a friend of Natalie's -- to threaten or scare her by saying, "die."Would be an inexpensive movie to film with only the two locations.
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)
Very cool, very cool idea behind this script. No doubt about it.The ending is strange, because the purpose of the story's just not clear, how Gina caused all this to happen, and so on. Was her only motivation her disgust at losing at chess? The purpose seems thin, and the method unstated. Almost makes me wonder if hypnotism or something else is the explanation here. With a better ending, this would be Excellent.But the conception of the corpse moving whenever you don't look at it, why, that's just plain brilliant. But you already knew that, didn't you? I couldn't look away: it was the fastest read I've had yet.Very Good.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5)
I'm going to comment as I go through your story...You don't need to number page one. I like that you begin with a chess game that Natalie wins. I'm hoping this is a foreshadowing of what's to come. It is! Nice touch.I don't know that I've ever recommended this to anyone before, but I think you should use all caps for DARKNESS and LIGHT when you go back and forth between the two. The emphasis would work well for this story.I'm not certain what is going on here. Is this an elaborate joke that Gina and others are playing on Natalie, or is there something supernatural going on?Good work.
Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)
The visuals in the story were so good and VERY creepy. The end was a bit of a question mark though. Gina must be one overly competetive psycho! And how did she get everyone to freeze? It was cool but just sort of out there.Even though I wasn't nuts about the ending, very good job in creating great visuals and creepy vibe.
Martin Jensen (Level 5)
There were a few redundant action lines that you could cut to make it more tense. For example: "...but then she dismisses it as her tired imagination" is implied by her next line. That twist was strange, but I really liked it. I also liked the central conceit that Carrie wouldn't move if Natalie wasn't looking - it was creepy, even though you might think that it would be easy to escape, and the kind of thing that would really scare someone in that situation. Very good.
Matthew Belanger (Level 3)
Very scary situation! I think though that the constant "..." and "---" get a little distracting. I get that they are for tension and suspense, but I think there may be too many. Also, the description is almost more like prose in places such as:Darkness. Light. Carrie’s moved even closer. Natalie jiggles the key. The torch flickers. Darkness. Light. Carrie’s even closer, almost in striking range. The "Light" "Darkness" repetition would be good for a novel or poem, but is kind of jarring when reading in script format. Carrie is pretty frightening!
Michael Hill (Level 1)
I got the feeling of Japanese horror from this piece. Eerily cliche'd, with the off screen voice overs of the "monster" character. Although the horror genre needs to shy away from the hack and slash, torture porn such as Saw and Hostel, I don't feel that American horror should be copying the Japanese style either. I didn't feel a true sense of dread. I feel that we should have learned more of the bodily reactions such as sweat or shaking hands or other involuntarily responses to true suspense. Not a bad script overall.
Patrick Sweeney (Level 4)
Good rising tension with mysterious goings-on at the morgue.Dialogue CONT'D is out of fashion. Action text can be tightened up quite a bit. Show, don't tell - film's a visual medium; the audience has no way of knowing what Natalie's thinking unless you show us by her dialogue or, preferably, actions. Needs spell check for wrong words, verb tense, typos, xxx. Dance with Carrie drags on a little too long; I'm ready for some answers or a resolution by the time she shows up with the keys. Conclusion makes no sense. Has Gina cast a spell on Natalie? Why? A twist for the sake of a twist doesn't work; it has to be supported by the story so far, even if we don't put the pieces together correctly until the end.
Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)
Really loved this one. Thrilling and exciting. You really created a concept which would work so well visually. It's so fast-paced and edgy, you really play with the concept as well, trying to push it into different territories with the black-outs and such. That's so strong, I love that; when you create a unique take, then test it's boundaries. The ending is a little too much, but that's nitpicking. I could see this work on the big screen, the only thing that bothers me a bit is the chess at the start, bit unneccessary, although it builds up for the 'checkmate' at the end. Try to build something more unique in that chessgame, it's a pretty bland opening now for a great script/idea. The title could use a bit of polish too.BEST MOMENT: When she realizes the 'blinking'. Really neat how she 'tests'it.
Paul Williams (Level 5)
This was refreshingly different and parts were genuinely terrifying, especially when Carrie turns the lights out, and we don't know where she is in the room, good job with that. This had a real "Twilight Zone" feel to it, which surprisingly, only a few scripts had this month.My main concern is the lack of back-story and motivation for the characters. Unless I missed something, with no why or how to this all, it left me feeling a little unfulfilled.Why is all this happening to Natalie? Does she deserve it?Who exactly is Carrie and what's her story?What is the situation between Natalie and Gina? The chess game is a good metaphor for their relationship, but it doesn't provide enough answers.I don't need everything spoon fed to me, but it would've made the story feel more complete to me.Your screenwriting is good, it worked effectively for the amount of action text you have.Format overall appears in order. Only detected one or two minor typos.
Philip Whitcroft (Level 5)
This is the first one of these I've read that is really scary. I was biting my fingers and thinking about hiding behind my chair as I read it. It is very clever and well written. Being really picky I guess I wonder if the end would be stronger without Gina, and maybe it could end in darkness or with Natalie's eyes closed. Another possible suggestion would be to push the horror angle a little by making use of possible post mortem tools that are in the room. Either of the women could use them on each other with various possible gruesome payoffs.These are just minor sugestions on what is already great work.
Rob Dianora (Level 4)
I think you have a creative and interesting story here. The descriptions were terrific and really what made the story. I don't know how much I buy the intent of Gina. This is pretty elaborate revenge for someone who only lost a board game. I think maybe work on the intent a little more to improve and enhance yourt story. Also, I can easily see this being on the Twilight Zone.
Robbie Comeau (Level 3)
Cool ending, didn't see it coming, and I was wondering how the Chess was tied into this story..I didn't think it was necessary until the ending came up
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
This started off strong. A mortuary is a great setting for a horror story. I was confused though with the story. Why did Carrie come to life and go for Natalie, at the end it seemed like it was Gina who was paying Natalie back for beating her in a chess game? Not really plausible to me.I know that horror sometimes isn't too heavy on plot etc, but this didn't make sense to me. Especially as then there were a whole more 'dead people' at the end, evidently going after Natalie.I want to know why? What had she done that made Gina want to get her.. surely not something as insignificant as a chess game?It was pretty scary though, especially with Carrie freezing, and the lights going out etc.
Scott Merrow (Level 5)
Oh my God!!! This was absolutely terrific...until the end. What the heck happened?!? She goes out in the hall (after all that) and there's a group of people all frozen, staring at her? What for? And somehow it's connected to the chess game?!? How? If you can fix this ending and make some sense of it, you'll have a real winner of a story here. (Or maybe I'm just missing something.)Otherwise, it's great. Very well written. A lot of tension and suspense throughout. A creepy setting. Great visuals with the lights going off and on, and we viewers waiting to see how Natalie's situation has gotten worse each time. Great!Fix the ending, though. It's not scary or satisfying if it doesn't make any sense.My score: VERY GOOD.
Shane Shearer (Level 4)
Very original. I mean, wow. This was suspsense, horror, fear, all those things we like so much about the horror genre, all encapsulated into five pages of terror. Great work. Very orginal. If I didn't have so much confidence in my own work, I'd rightfully claim this the winner of the contest. Bravo.
Thomas W. Brown (Level 4)
Cool concept for the script, although I have my doubts as to how well it would play after a few minutes of screen time. I do have to give you points for creativity. I really like the ending, it seems to fit somehow. Your form is great and I didn't detect and spelling or grammatical errors. Good job!
Tim Westland (Moderator)
Hello British person! (Torch v/s flashlight - Grin)I like the concept of this and the visual imagery.Unfortunately, there seems to be no reason why or how Gina is capable of such a feat. There is no foreshadowing of anger, special powers, animosity, nothing. To me, that's pretty important for this piece to work to best effect... and it's what keeps it from being Excellent. But Very Good is not too shabby!Very good.
Comments Made After the Contest
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 11/1/2009 12:04 AM
Congratulations on second place. I thought this script was excellent.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 12:14 AM
Congratulations, Jon! Nice job.
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 12:34 AM
Jon, you're getting to be a regular place-holder! Great to see you on top again!
Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 12:38 AM
Congratulations Jon! Very well done!
Jon Hill (Level 4) ~ 11/1/2009 3:50 AM
Right then. Doctor Who.I'm sure some of you have already noticed the inherent similarities between my story and the "Blink" episode of BBC TV's long running sci-fi series "Doctor Who". Am I a plagiarist? Well, when I wrote my story I had three inspirations in mind --1) Doctor Who. Let's make no bones about it, my story and the good Doctor's story are similar... Corpses that move off screen/ statues that move off screen. Does that mean I plagiarist? This brings me to inspiration number 2....2) I wrote a short story a few years ago called "The Ungrateful Dead". To summarize, a police officer is left alone in a morgue whilst two corpses argue with each other behind his back. Eventually they come to life and attack each other, all out of sight naturally. I can't pinpoint when I wrote this story but it was certainly before the good Doctor's episode aired. So, does this mean the Doctor Who creators are plagiarists? This brings me to...3) "Statues" -- A schoolyard game I played as a tiny child. ("http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Statues_game" in case you're interested). To summarize the game, somebody stands with their back to a group of people who slowly edge closer. However, they must freeze when every that person turns around. Sound familiar?So then. As lawyers point out, you can't copyright and idea, only an implementation of an idea. How similar is my story to the "Doctor Who" episode? No idea. It's been years since I saw the episode so I can't comment (I'm not really a massive Dr. Who fan in the first place). All I can say is that any similarities (apart from the basic concept) are either a) me arriving at the same idea from the same basic idea ... or b) Subliminal plagiarism! :)
Scott Merrow (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 7:42 AM
Congratulations. Nice job. Very creepy and suspenseful.
Jose Batista (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 10:13 AM
This was a horror masterpiece. A well deserved placement. Reading it, it reminded me of a similar game I played when I was a kid, "Red light, Green light, 1,2,3." Congrats.
Paul Williams (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 2:21 PM
Carrie turning out the lights was the scariest moment out of all fifty-two scripts this month. Good job and congratulations on your second place finish!
Chris Keaton (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 2:37 PM
Apparently the similarity to a recent popular program had little effect on your placement. Congrats. I imagine you were cringing a little when the few us noticed the similarities.
Herman Chow (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 7:50 PM
Congrat! I was so happy that you placed. This is the only script that I gave Excellent.
Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 8:40 PM
Very much deserved! Congrats!
Erich VonHeeder (Level 4) ~ 11/2/2009 12:22 AM
Very fun script, Jon.A good read...but I bet it would be NEXT LEVEL visually. Hope to see it get made.Congratulations!
Jon Hill (Level 4) ~ 11/2/2009 1:25 PM
@Chris Keaton,On the one hand I was kind of cringing when I later read the synopsis of the Dr. Who episode, but on the other hand I'm not too bothered as the statues aspect is only a small part of the Who episode (albiet important). The full story branches off into other fantastical aspects like hidden DVD messages and people being banished into time.
Chris Keaton (Level 5) ~ 11/2/2009 11:43 PM
Well they did have a whole hour to work with. :)
JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator) ~ 1/6/2010 7:29 PM
I wish this script was entered in the film contest. I would have jumped out of my seat with the biggest five year old grin on my face.