The production notes said this script was written in 10 days and I think it's fairly evident. Structurally everything is there but the story and the plot require much rethinking if the author hopes not only to retain our interest for 108 pages but also make us care about what's going on. The setup establishes a tone of something dark and foreboding, but that vanishes entirely as we meet the Whitmores on their way to moving into their new house. The POV seems to shift throughout, and we're not sure through whose eyes we're seeing the story. In the first act it's the parents and then the daughters, then later in the script it's largely the brothers.
Everything that's supposed to be scary in this script is diluted by the matter-of-fact reponse from the characters. Told by Harry that the lights are to keep winged creatures from eating them alive, Jack's reaction is merely to look into the sky inquisitively and then later insist his daughters "stay in the lights" when they attend the party at the church. When Buffy leaps into the darkness, her apparent suicide doesn't even elicit shock or horror from the others, and a few pages later when she reappears as a beast (never explained how or why) everyone responds with matter-of-fact sarcasm and resignation. It just doesn't ring true and consequently the story suffers greatly.
The current iteration of this story also requires an incredible suspension of disbelief: If these creatures have such power of the night over this town, why are the townspeople so casual and cavalier about their presence? And it seems too coincidental that the very week this family is moving to town is when the 100 year annual eclipse is about to happen. What if it was a different week? Would things be different? And there's no satisfying explanation for any of this, the origin of the creatures, the legend of the brothers, how the townspeople have been able to survive all these years before the Whitmore's arrival.
In the first act the author introduces the brothers as "something good about those two" in the eyes of the father. And as we learn more about them they seem to have some sort of power and sway over their classmates like they're not ones to mess with. In fact, I was almost thinking they were going to turn into some sort of malevolent creatures themselves, which would have been cool. And surprising. That's what this script is lacking right now. Twists and turns and unexpected moments that keep the audience guessing. I'm not trying to bash it. The author is not a bad writer, and again I think the structure and characters are there to make something compelling, but right now it's strictly an "A to B to C" story that doesn't hold up under scrutiny and, especially with the current Twilight Zone-esque ending, doesn't make sense.
Review of: HUNTERSVILLE
reviewed by Dodgeball on 05/22/2005
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