Comments Made During the Contest
Annie Hunt (Level 2)
Overall, a good story. The characters were well developed. I liked how the plot was centered around the dog esecially toward the end of the story. There were times when I was a little confused with the plot especially when the scenes switched from the nursing home to the funeral home.
Aralis Bloise (Level 4)
Interesting idea, definitely original. I liked that the "deadly female" in this story wasn't your classic evil person but rather someone trying to make a point. It's an old cliche that the dog in any story always survives, so it's always a big shock when one doesn't.I think I would like it better without the voice over tho. It would be interesting as a mostly silent piece, just showing the family's neglect and Ione's disgust through images and then that would make the one line at the end "that's what a funeral should sound like" much more powerful.
Ashley White (Level 3)
I thought this script was well written. For most of the story, you were never quite sure who the "villain" was going to be. First thought was the daughter, not the old lady. My only real problem was the fact that Ione was satisfied by the wailing of the family. They were finally acting in an appropriate funeral manner, but it was towards a dog. I would imagine that would anger someone more than satisfy them. The expected emotions were there, but for the wrong death. I would have expected Ione to be disgusted and angered by that.
Bill Delehanty (Level 4)
Nothing really happens for a long time. Too much describing what the place is like. I almost started to think the main character was the dog, was it? Is one of the characters, or the dog, dead throughout the whole thing?Looks like you had a good idea but some difficulty executing it, I was very confused.
Brian Wind (Level 5)
This is written and paced quite well. With the exception of one spot where Kristine is refered to as the Kristine, I didn't notice any errors. You are obviously a talented writer, but I'd be surprised if you are a horror fan because this doesn't even come close to the genre in my point of view. If you ask me, this is 100% depressing drama, 0% horror but it hasn't been deleted so I guess at least one of the moderators shares your idea of horror. I think it's a cool script that would make a good short, but I didn't find it creepy, scary, tense, gory or any other adjective commonly associated with horror.
Caroline Coxon (Mod Emeritus)
I like this a great deal but don't consider it to be horror in the accepted sense. Of course, the family's complete disregard of their mother/grandmother is horrific in itself. Ione to me is a heroine rather than a villain (much though I love dogs!)Great drama and pathos. I was totally absorbed.
Chris Keaton (Level 5)
Oh, no the second script in a row that overused VO. I guess this could be horrific, but for some reason I just couldn't get sucked in. Maybe it was the VO. That in my opinion is distracting. Other than that good job.
Chris Messineo (Founder)
Your craft is great and this is a compelling story.However, It feels a little light on the horror. Also, I wish this was told with a little less voice over narration.Trust your visuals (which are powerful) and let them carry more of the story.
David Birch (Level 5)
the ending brought your story up a notch...nice rebound...seemed more maudlin that "horror" but worked on some levels...social commentary worked in well with theme...things to like...
Elias Farnum (Level 5)
The writing here is exceptional, very crisp and easily visualized. I just don't understand the story. The death of a dog? It would be horrific for the dog owner, but for me didn't cut it. A retirement home is a great environment for horror, but you did not take advantage of the setting. Your writing skills do net you a good however.
Erin Arbogast (Level 3)
I worked in a retirement home for quite a while so this script really resonated with me. I saw (or, didn't see, really) families like Betty's all the time.This is another favorite of mine for this month. I loved it, until the end. I felt a little bad about Ione killing the only likable member of the family, but then she really wouldn't have been a villain if she hadn't. I'm probably just overly sentimental when it comes to dogs. ;-)Nice job!
Faith Friese Nelson (Level 5)
I missed something in this story. Were you saying that everyone cried for the dog but not for the people? It just was not clear to me.Not sure what you mean in this sentence: "KRISTINE DAVIS, 40s, wiry and plastic." when you refer to plastic.
Geoff Willis (Level 3)
First of all, this isn't horror, I'd consider that more drama than anything. I thought the message was good, but not presented the right way. A very slow build up to a disappointing climax. I thought the story could have used a lot more.
Herman Chow (Level 5)
This is quite good by the way. It starts off a bit slow and I was wondering where this is going to go, but I was satisfied with the payoff. I am sure all those dog-lovers can feel the horror of the story.The only thing that it could be improved is the pacing. There seems to be too much description and details on the first two pages that left me confused. I think those two pages can be tightened.Other than that, I really enjoyed this piece. It's haunting in a different way. Good job!
Jacob Guerra (Level 4)
I'm not one hundred percent sure this can qualify as horror, however it could under the black comedy type. This is especially apparent at the end, when everyone is crying more for the departed dog than Betty. That is when the story really picked up for me. I think this story is something a lot of people can relate to as far as the apathy that some families have for one another, and the anger that burns beneath. All of those themes were conveyed very well. Good work.
Jane Beckwith (Level 4)
I'm giving this one a very good for its impact. It's sooo bleak. I am not "against" voice over, but I do think this short might be improved by taking the exposition of the voice over, and putting into dialogue, or just trusting the imagery. All the "25 minutes, once a month" business could be handled via dialogue delivered by Ione or attendants if you want to keep her a spectator. Ione could definitely ask Betty how long she was in labor as a pointed reminder to the family. "We were all thinking it" could be done visually, etc. The "problem" with voice over is that it does not of itself create conflict, but just testifies to it. That said, the read was fast, and the tone perfect.
Jeannie Sconzo (Level 5)
Very good! Simple, yet not predictable - what a short script should be. Ione was telling a sad tale. She was no monster. I'm on her side.
JeanPierre Chapoteau (Moderator)
I LOVED IT! Finally, out of thirty-five scripts, I've found my second excellent. Your dialogue and the way you described everything was perfect. I definitely see this one placing. I loved in from the beginning with "a sea of wrinkles" and "Only to be outranked one day, by a dog" to the end with :"Ione's face tightens and shakes a bit as the animal struggles. Her lip curls, hinting at the fury burning inside." I thought you described that perfectly. It was so well written. This is my second excellent, but my favorite out of the two.
John Brooke (Level 5)
A super story idea, superbly shown.Every nuance dignified and emotionally controlled.Your revealing ending is a masterpiece of the gut wrenching calloused reality of our times.Excellent script.
Jose Batista (Level 5)
Wow. That was an unexpected twist, indeed. I haven't been caught like that in a while, Thank you. That was excellent, by the way!I felt the sadness and overall sense of depair from the elder characters. I was hoping that neither of them would turn around and start killing the younger characters. That would have been corny. But the Dog? Genial. Especially because of the way you set the whole thing up. I liked the way the script built up to the finale with two simple scenes that managed to communicate the disrespect suffered by the elders at the hands of the younger generation. Although this was not Horror, you created a sort of suspenseful air that hung heavily through to the end, just wondering who the hell was gonna get it and which of the old ladies was gonna wield the knife. Your delivery presents us with an example of a script that is worthy and induces fear. Cheers to you and your great entry. Your writing is Top-Notch.
Kevin Carty (Level 4)
Finally a good well written script. Not great kind of underplayed and the twist was sort of just expected and not really emotionally jarring for me. The voice over seems to be the choice for all old ladies in this contest. I wish you spent more time with the family rather than more time with just her narrating the whole story. It has a beginning and an end but it doesn't really disturb me and the plot is pretty simple despite the long build up, I was sort of thinking the whole time that she might have done something that was clever and an aha moment. I mean you were telling us the entire time how much she never spent time with her family. I'm expecting horror and I got a nice drama. Suggestion: Why not have her kill the roomate to get there but I guess you want us to feel for her but this is horror there has to be some level of dipicable in the script not just a grandma that wants to kill a dog. I was sort of let down by that.
Khamanna Iskandarova (Level 5)
This seems thought through. Very good pacing. A very good story, very well told for me. And I cheered at the ending. It's a different take on the theme - your perpetrator is a hero - and I apreciate that very much. I liked all the voice overs. And I could feel for the old woman... for both of them.I'm thinking Excellent. Thanks for the read.
KP Mackie (Level 5)
Thought that the most difficult part of this month's horror submissions was going to be getting through the blood and gore...This screenplay is gut-wrenching. Exceptional story -- the twist with the dog is brilliant -- and exceptional characters, dialogue and descriptions.Sincerely hope that it's a product of writer's imagination and not personal experience. Hit close to home -- thankfully, I have never encountered anyone resembling the despicable Kristine and her family.Excellent.
Kyle Patrick Johnson (Level 5)
The moment of Kristine "saving" was unrealistic, I thought. If Kristine was visiting her mother (already a good thing to do), one would suppose anybody would replace the tubes in her nose before they'd reprimand their mother for playing nicely with a dog and mussing it's hair. Kristine's character seems too extreme and motivationless. It was just too much. Tone that moment down a little, and I'm happily back on board your story.Otherwise, the overall mood of that first scene is remarkably poignant.I'm still waiting to be scared. :)I wonder that the dog, tiny as it is, still couldn't overpower the frail old hands of Ione. Again, here's a moment that seems just too extreme, just too over-the-top to fit your overall message and mood.Not extremely horrorful, but a well-mooded piece full of sorrow and evocation.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5)
This isn't a horror script. It's a drama. A tragedy. I love it, and I'd rate it the same in any contest Chris and the mods allowed it in.Excellent work.
Marnie Mitchell Lister (Level 5)
This story was written amazingly well. And what a point it made. So sad...so true. But, I didn't feel the horror. I felt it was more of a dark drama. I didn't see Ione as evil, even though killing a poor little dog isn't a sane thing to do. I was never afraid of her, I don't think she's gonna join forces with Michael Vick. I don't think she's going to go on any kind of killing spree, I don't think she's possessed by the devil, I didn't even find her to be creepy in any way...I just wasn't afraid of her, even after she killed the dog. I think there needs to be some fear in order for it to qualify as a horror and I was never afraid or creeped out. I actually felt sorry for Ione. She was obviously overcome with sadness and did something horrible and impulsive...but just because someone does something "horrible" doesn't mean it's a "horror". I know the writer isn't going to be happy about those of us who scored lower based on lack of horror. There is an on going debate about it in the forums and I'm sure this screenplay in particular, is the one people are talking about. Because it's very good but it just doesn't fit the theme. When I score, one of the big considerations is how well the writer interpreted the theme. For me personally, this is very, very important for a couple of reasons. First, if you write something awesome like this but it doesn't fit the theme, when people score it high it takes away from others who did meet the challenge. Another reason, and I'm not saying you did this, is to keep people from submitting something they've already completed if it sort of meets the theme. Also, this is a place for learning. If the theme is horror and someone thinks they are writing horror, isn't this the place to let them know that their story didn't feel like horror at all? That way next time they're faced with having to write a horror, they'll have a better knowledge about what it is...or isn't.Anyway, I think this is a powerful piece that someone will more than likely want to shoot. I hope so.
Martin Jensen (Level 5)
I like how you captured the disconnect between the two different generations, twisting it to disturbing extremes. It seems strange that all the elderly people at the wake would have the same reaction to the death of the dog. It's more of a conventional story with a horror twist, but it still manages to shock well at the end. Good.
Michael Cornetto (Level 5)
I thought this was well written but I'm really not sure it's horror. It seemed more like a domestic drama to me. It read a bit slow, so I would take another look at the prose. The V.O. was a bit bothersome. I really wasn't sure why you needed it. Lastly, I thought there was at least one too many characters for a 5 pager. Good luck.
Michael Hoffman (Level 4)
This is an interesting tale. I love the atmosphere that is created. Your descriptions are excellent and really convey the mood of decay and sorrow but you are still able to keep a fun texture to the storytelling.The message is pretty cool too and I like the way you twisted the tale. Things are simple and this allows you to never stray from the theme. Good work.I'm not taking points from this but I don't exactly see this as horror. Personally, I see it more as a drama. However, if the old women are supposed to be ghosts, then I think this certainly qualifies. Truthfully, I'm not sure if they are supposed to be or not. The "something is wrong with the puppy" line sort of confuses this issue.Like I said, I'm not taking points based on my interpretation and I'm not quite sure of your intent. If they were ghosts, I think that would be an awesome horror element. If they are not, it is still a great and thoughtful little drama.Well done.
Paul De Vrijer (Level 5)
Sweet, thoughtful, lot's of emotion. Plenty of compliments for this script. The truth behind it all, i really love it. It's so true. It's not a real horror per se, but it's something that connects to it. The death of the dog is perhaps a little horrific, but not overly so. It's really visual too, although I wish you toned down the voice-overs a bit, it's a little on-the-nose. Other than that, it's excellent. Thanks for the read.BEST MOMENT: The ending, the calling of Kristine. Lovely sweet revenge.
Paul Williams (Level 5)
The set-up to all this is tense and suspenseful. In these five pages, with the assistance of narration, you make me care for Ione and her point of view. Great job with all that.The pay-off with killing an innocent dog, while it obviously punished the Davis family, made me lose some of my sympathy for Ione, but perhaps that's the character arc you were aiming for.You might catch some heat for the voice-over narration, but I think it's executed here effectively. It's delivered in short clips at a time, not in long lines of dialogue.There will probably be a debate in your reviews as to whether or not this is in the horror genre. It's definitely on the border, leaning more towards not horror, but I didn't score down for it. I think others will, though.Your screenwriting is good, maybe a little bulky in spots and can be pared down some. Only relay to us what is necessary to move the plot along as quickly and efficiently as possible.Format appears in order; there are a few typos throughout.
Rob Dianora (Level 4)
I like the theme of your story. You're script is high in imagery, which is kind of cool. I did think it dragged at points..... I didn't really get why they even had to kill the dog, it felt a bit weird for the character to do that. Characterwise I liked Ione for the most part, (cool name by the way)she's plenty good in that voice over.
Robbie Comeau (Level 3)
Nice! Good revenge haha. I really like the way you wrote this (or just write in general).A nice style of writing and it flowed perfect. I'm not into animals dying in movies, but this was great!Robbie
Sally Meyer (Moderator)
Ohh very good. I liked the story, the title and the characters. I wasn't sure if it was horror enough, as it just built up and the horror was toward the end. But I do think the story is one of the strongeest I've read so far this month. I liked the line 'Now that's what a funeral should look like" That was awesome!!Good title that says a lot, when you read the whole screenplay. I like Ione a lot, she's a very strong character in the movie.Well done!!
Scott Merrow (Level 5)
I'm not sure if this is truly in the horror genre, but I guess that's for the contest administrators to decide. I guess it'a horrible thing for an old lady to strangle a dog, but it doesn't really make for a horror movie. At least, not in my opinion. No tension, no suspense, not scary -- not a horror movie, in my book.Anyway, whatever the genre, this is pretty well written. You've selected a very emotional topic -- it's truly sad to think of old people abandoned in assisted living facilities, and it's especially heartbreaking to read a story about a family more interested in the mundane things of life than in their aging loved one. So you have a built-in emotional tug in your story. But that's really it -- that's the whole story. We don't really get to know Betty that well, we just feel sorry for her because we can imagine what it must be like for her. Likewise, we don't really get to know Ione very well, but we can imagine her range of emotions, too. So, we understand it when she kills the dog, but we're not really feeling it along with her. We're not full of rage, as she is.It was an enjoyable read. An emotional topic. But not really horror.My score: GOOD.
Shawn Cottrill (Level 3)
A thought this story was beautiful. It was very well written. And it had a great mixture of horror and drama. my only problem in it is that I don't feel that it meets the goal of this contest. who was the villian? was it supposed to be Ione, an old lady seeking the farewell that her friend rightfull deserved. I think not. Was it mrs Granger's daughter? The only thing that she was guilty of was getting tired of waiting on her mother to die. Oh, I know the dog must have been a female, because if there was a true villian in this story then it had to be the damb dog. I'm playing of course. for real though I did not see a well defined villian. I assume that it was supposed to be Ione, but I saw her as a slightly eccentric hero more than aythin els. Again, great script!!
Shyama Kant Misra (Level 3)
It’s more of a philosophical theme than actually being a true horror story. All the same, a very good one that seems to touch the heart.Your dialogues are very good. In fact, your command over the English language is excellent. Your formatting was also good except the end – you probably forgot to place FADE TO BLACK at the right extreme followed by THE END at the bottom. (I also wonder as to why you put two hyphens after the location name - although that may be considered okay by some experts.)
Sylvia Dahlby (Level 5)
The set-up was good. I liked the juxtoposition of Ione and Betty, nicely done, especially since I'm not a fan of VO in general. The ending was shocking, unexpected and PERFECT.However, what this needed was a little more emotion in the middle and build up to the dramatic end. I suggest adding more character interaction. As the VO went on until the end, it kept me disconnected me from what the characters where feeling because it EXPLAINED everything rather that showed thru any meaningful dialog or subtext. That diminished the impact of the ending.
Thomas W. Brown (Level 4)
Great take on the contest. This is a well written piece that speaks volumes. The progression was great and sad, and the ending brutally satisfying. Great job!
Tim Westland (Moderator)
This was excellent. Just such a great bit of writing.My only comment would be that, you guessed it, this isn't really a horror piece. There is a single horrific act (by Ione), and the treatment of the elderly by their children could be viewed as, essentially, horrific. But there is no sense of dread, no real tension or whatever else makes horror - well - horror.However, having said that, it seems pretty clear that horror is often in the eyes/mind of the beholder, I will not grade this down.This is my favoriter piece of the month (31 of 51) so far. I predict it will win.It's so poignant, so clever, so REAL, and so well written. I gobbled it up.Thank you for writing this.
Tyler Jay Washburn (Level 1)
Beautiful. This was a great read. The story is clever and fresh. The characters are wonderfully fleshed out for such a short piece. This is my favorite yet. I love that you found an honest and unpredictable way to bring about the desired effect. Great job. Beats me how you could possibly improve it.
William Bienes (Mod Emeritus)
I enjoyed this script. While I understood and saw what was coming, it didn't detract at all from its power and point.Very well done - poetic descriptions that add rather than seem out of place.Ione is a fabulous character, well-drawn and interesting, as well as Betty.Lovely piece of work.
William D. Prystauk (Level 5)
How would the audience in the theatre know that Greenwood is "affordable"?Not so much of a horror than a drama - and a perverse one at that. How can we feel for Ione and the rest of the gray hairs, when she strangles an innocent dog to death? This makes no sense because the audience cannot have sympathy for the character(s). It just didn't add up.
Comments Made After the Contest
Chris Messineo (Founder) ~ 11/1/2009 12:05 AM
Congratulations on third place. It's good to have you back in the competition.
Margaret Ricke (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 12:15 AM
Congratulations. I can't believe that anyone gave this a poor rating. One of my excellents.
Brian Wind (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 12:40 AM
Jose Batista (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 10:16 AM
This was the finest entry this month. Congrats.
KP Mackie (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 12:57 PM
I agree with Jose. Congratulations.
Matias Caruso (Level 5) ~ 11/1/2009 5:29 PM
I have no idea why didn't this script kick my script's ass. Not the boo kind of horror, but it has an underlying creepiness and tension that keeps building till the end.Nice use of V.O., since it constantly enriches what we're seeing on screen, adding a quite interesting dramatic layer.Perhaps you could have an edgier approach and have the old woman try to kill a human instead of a dog. It would increase the tension and the scare factor.But it works pretty good as it is, and I would have scored it an Excellent.Oh, and by the way, I just ran an IP search on that "poor" vote. It came from Bombay. Thought you should know. :D
Paul Williams (Level 5) ~ 11/5/2009 1:05 AM
Hey Erich, I thought I commented after the contest, but I see I didn't. I'm just reiterating my above words about this. It's well done and one of my favorites of the month, as noted below. I guess I was right about the horror debate ensuing about the script, but I'm glad it ultimately didn't stop this from placing. Congratulations!
Erich VonHeeder (Level 4) ~ 11/5/2009 2:36 PM
Thanks to everyone for all the compliments. Nice to plant my flag back in THIRD PLACE. It had been too long.I must say Paul, I was actually a little surprised that I placed, for the exact reasons you brought up. Clearly, this script didn't really meet a lot of the standards that people have in their minds regarding HORROR.I don't know. GENRE, in my opinion, is a useful way to organize the NETFLIX homepage. Beyond that...well...it's a synonym for STEREOTYPE.Movies are exactly like people, I reckon. You can group them by their similarities and, from 30,000 feet, you can do that pretty accurately. But you also do that at the peril of a narrow, narrow world view. In reality, when you look closer, you notice that very rarely does a great person/film color within the lines of an established stereotype/genre.It's why KILL BILL is my favorite "romantic comedy" and THE GODFATHER might be the greatest "coming of age" movie of all time.DEFINITIONS are really necessary for neurosurgery and small engine repair. In ART, they serve the same purpose as pieces of wood at a martial arts exhibition: to make the crowd gasp when they splinter.Just my two cents... (it's a fun conversation, ain't it?)