I actually think this a very good script. It's a quick fast read... It's a strange sort of serial-killer-in-training buddy picture. Part John Waters, part Grindhouse, part MAY. This would be an excellent small indie film with the right director who knew how to make the tone work with it.
The hard part will be keeping the spec from getting tossed in the first 15 pages. I think you tone down the initial schlocky B-picture trappings and ease the reader/viewer into the whole serial-killer mentor thing slower, that would help things a lot. I'd like Harry to befriend Ned and get to know him a bit before he reveals what he does. Stan needs a little more depth - I know he's the villain but could he be something else? Maybe a neighbor guy Ned's mom fooled around with? He's just too one-dimensional of a gay rapist, as are his cronies. I know this is part schlock so I know you're going for that, but I think you can be more diabolical in the levels the characters display. Harry should be a slower reveal. You need to be more careful with the "we almost kill the tomboy girl" scene...maybe if you played that Harry has absolutely no intention of killing her but wants to see how far Ned will go it could be more of a nailbiting scene than a slapstick one.
Essentially...I think black comedy works in this, but I don't think the characters should *ever* know they're in a comedy. Ned shouldn't run around going "OH MY ANUS HOLE!" If you've seen MAY, you know what I mean. I don't want "Forrest Gump Becomes a Serial Killer". Can we be let in on *why* Ned is slow? If he is actually a "tard" like all the characters keep calling him, I don't buy how cold and slick he becomes at the end.
I think you could even extend the terror of Stan's death a bit. Maybe have Harry just hit them from behind like he's planning originally and chain them up in the living room to extend the torture-kill. They wake up and don't know what's going to happen. Ned argues that he just wants to end it, puts the gun in Stan's mouth, then the phone rings. That makes Selena Stan's first kill, then it can be much more disturbing at the end if he douses them alive with the lighter fluid and flicks his cigarette and walks out of the house.
Just suggestions. This is definitely not a mainstream movie - I hate to give you that review again, but this would definitely have genre fans if you make the characters at least *two* dimensional and adjust up some of the white-trash "yeeehaw I'm a rapist!" sort of scenes.
Reading notes below:
1-5 Like the narration so far. It's not indulgent since you don't start off with an entire page of it right off the bat, and it's punctuating what's onscreen.
Be careful that you make clear what at the beginning is a *bike* and what is a *motorcycle* I was confused a bit at first. It sounds like he's talking about how mom died when he was a kid, but I inferred that he's 35 although childlike. Can you make this explicitly clear, however it works? I'd drop the "present" "past" tags, and via the narration fake out the audience that this is a flashback by contrasting the motorcycle with the bicycle more clearly. Then when Mom gets run over you whip to Ned...and he's 35 in a surprise...this didn't happen long ago.
8. "I am bad." seems like the perfect place to stop the narration, although you said you were going to have it throughout. We'll see if it's necessary.
9. You could skip the VO before and pick up with "I used to think it was all Mother's fault"
12. Selena says "Stupid tard" after she hangs up, I don't know why he responds to it as if she said it to him. I don't know if you're going for stream of consciousness in what we're hearing. It almost seems the VO should say this. NED (VO): I'm not stupid. (He crushes the cockroach.)
13. I think you should drop the VO as he prepares to sell the house...it would be *much* more disturbing to let the audience piece together what's going on.
17 "Your house sucks" I think is a bit too blunt. Ned either needs to show Stan around a bit, perhaps with grand verbiage he might assume a realtor would say, culminating in "What do you think?" "It sucks." ... or just have Stan react more patronizingly since he knows Ned is "special".
You've used "cackles" twice too close to each other.
18 Too awkward "flies buzz around like it's laden with corpses" - suspense wise I don't want you to specify "corpses". "Flies buzz like it's a butcher shop with broken A/C." or something.
You *definitely* should cut the VO here. I know exactly what he's thinking and don't need to hear him loop it. Perhaps pick moments of ripe comedy or when he's alone. If a scene is happening where he's talking to someone else, I don't want the VO.
19 Too much "retard fucking". Cut the first one at the top "You better have something to wipe off my shoe" then "What are you nuts?" and then I think you earn "You are a retarded fucking nut job". He shouldn't declare it until just here, even if he's not a nice character - give Stan some tact so we see how he changes after seeing inside Ned's place...
20. And...you lose me here. I know you're going for total scum of society, but his dialogue "Your ass is mine Neddy boy" doesn't work. Why does he become suddenly gay when his toupee comes off?
If you seriously want a rape scene, I'd try justifying it as "You just tried to kill me. I'm calling the cops...and you're going to retard jail for the rest of your life...unless...."
If you *really* want to continue your VO, skip it until they're mid-coitus then start with "I remember when I was seven..." as a distancing gambit.
If you're going to have a rape scene, you need to clearly draw the line if you want John Waters sort of "yeehaw white trash!" or something disturbing and serious even if blackly humorous. I almost think it's creepier if he convinces Ned to do this to keep him quiet about trying to kill him and controls him verbally rather than beating him up.
21 And he cackles again. Quit that!
We've made a turn into exploitation...we'll see how this turns out.
You've had a brutal rape, followed by one stereotypical line "That's what I'm talking about girlfriend" then they savage Ned too. Here is where people will walk out of the movie.
I notice the guy gays "hoot and giggle" rather than cackle. I'm giving this perhaps five more pages to stop insulting my intelligence.
28. Okay, the kindly paternal serial killer. Still on thin ice but *potential* to come back. Could you skip the stereotypical queens and just have Harry just be the first potential gay victim who turns out to be more than he bargained for and see potential in Ned?
Then I’ll choke the life out of
her. Watch the bitch’s eyeballs
roll back in her head and her
tongue bulge out all purple...
This will require some very delicate handling. It's so offensive.
35. Could you perhaps hold off that Harry's a killer right off the bat? Maybe not until he sees Ned's potential for a serial-killer lair does he level with him and let him know what he's about. Perhaps he can just be the first person to be nice to Ned?
38. I'd prefer "All you all right? You sound sick" "I'm not sick, but I'm all right."
42. "Maybe we better start with something that requires less finesse. Like guns."
I'd redline the VO in the middle of the page. You don't need it here.
50. Two montages . Could you possibly just run one into the other? Ned and Harry have fun shooting, then it moves onto him teaching how to ride a bike paternally?
53. like/with simile - pick one or combine. "The store is brightly lit as a hospital morgue" or "the store has the ambiance of a hospital morgue".
I see how the Asian Clerk's line can be funny but you need to give him a little more to land it. "Naw, it's slow. Seriously, boring as hell tonight. Why should it be any different than any other ?..."
I seriously like the madcap...itude (?) of this scene.
59. If you don't use "anus hole" previous to this, this line is actually funny.
I like that you bring back the VO here, but like with the Asian Clerk, the line is too short to land and bookend the scene. "I don't know if you'll believe me, but this was the first fun day I've ever had. Oh wait. Except for that one time Mom got ran over by the car. That was fun too."
60. "We're out of money." "Mulgh go kuph muh fuhftuh." "What?" "Let's go kill my sister." (Classic.)
61. (Shows drawings) "All right Ned. That's a good plan. Maybe we...just need to fill in some of the details."
62. Don't think Selena should be angry when she picks up the phone. She's a princess, she probably would hope to have gentlemen callers. She should be a princess till she hears it's Ned. I love that she's in the exact same place we last saw her.
64. EXCELLENT callback, telling her he's selling the house, just as I've forgotten about how this all started.
64 I love "one hundred...two hundred...THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS." Could it go farther with Harry writing in crayon on the plan more and more zeros: "Three THOUS...THIRTY thousan...THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS."
Then, after he shouts $300,000 into the phone it should stay on Ned and Harry and there's a long pause while they listen. He hangs up sheepishly. Harry shakes his head. "She's flying down tomorrow" (spit take).
67. I like that you resisted a "cleaning the house montage" but it almost seems appropriate.
69. Great use of VO here during shaving. That's the right place for it.
70. I'd almost prefer you don't foreshadow that it's going to be Stan at the door and let your act 3 twist be a shock instead.
72. Find another word besides "cackle".
Alternate choice possibility - Instead of "Fuck you Stan" (nut shot) could he just either go all serial killer here and just say it kind of dead and cold? Maybe instead he could say "Actually. Stan. I've been waiting for you. I've been waiting for you this whole time."
73 "Male model" is great, but don't underline it by having the cop crack up. That's a good enough line that the audience will laugh so you don't need to have him do it.
74. Don't think he should say "No! I'll bite it off..." just let him keep his teeth clenched as they try to pry them apart.
75. I'd stay with Selena on the highway, it's not worth the intercut just for the attackers to "wince".
76. Don't know if you could work it, but it would be better if Harry rushing in is a surprise. I like how you intercut between him almost getting arrested, could you just have the male model line as he asks for his id and then leave the scene there indeterminate if he will get back to rescue Ned?
Why does Stan's knife slide from his pocket and clatter to the floor?
Make it clear when it happens that Stan's foot is pegged to the floor. Why is Harry hopping?
78. Love the idea that she's near the mannequin factory. You could almost cut right out of the scene on that line "Does your friend know it?" *Possibly* add in the "Tard" but let the audience fill in the reaction.
82. Could you have something more bizarre than having her hog-tied? Perhaps duct taped into a chair in a line with several other variously decapitated mannequins, or having a tea party with them or something?
86, Good entrance of VO again, it works best when Ned is alone, not during an opposing dialogue scene.
I'd either drop "Such an asshole..." or make it "He was an asshole, but I'd never forget him, that's for sure."
88. Just an idea - can you (somehow hopefully without calling a camera shot) have Ned standing spread-legged in front of Stan's corpse, then we see a stream like he's pissing on him, but when the camera whirls he's holding the bottle and it's lighter fluid?
90. Not sure if the last line works. It almost feels like you need another folksy VO that starts to make you think it's going to "And that's how I became a man...(roll credits)" but instead it's ends something like, "Your legs around a harley, a girl's legs around you, and nothing but open road. It was all anyone should ever need. It was all I never needed (and they fade off down the shimmering road) But even though I changed, things never change. I still want to kill. I want to kill. I want to kill." Or something better than that. As written it's a bit goofy but it almost needs the switcheroo tone you've maintained through the script.
Review of: i WanT tO kiLL
reviewed by Jayberwock on 09/16/2009
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