Review of: Prayer of the Headless Mantis (iii) 

reviewed by memery on 07/01/2011
Credited Review
memery
Very solid in many areas but structure makes for a bit confusing read Credited Review
I really loved the beginning. All of the action at the house is tight and the confinement of it and strong character development makes for great intrigue. Your dialogue is great - very real and specific for each character. One of those scripts where you could skip over the names and still know who is speaking. Overall the character development is great.

Love that Eliana told Theo that story about killing her previous boyfriend. Created amazing tension and a chance for the characters to really reveal themselves.

I also loved when she “shot” Olivia. Didn’t see that coming! Or that it was fake. Great moments. The only thing was that I wasn’t sure of Olivia’s motivation for going along with it. How would Eliana approach her about participating in this? And why would she think Olivia would go along with it? Did they know each other before Olivia starting sleeping with Theo? Then it would make sense. But the way it read was as if Eliana approached Olivia afterwards and I had a hard time understanding how they teamed up.

And Clyde (faking it as Nolan) and telling the cab driver he was going to kill his wife was a bit unbelievable. Seems a little strong and a risk that the cab driver might call it in or something. I was thinking it would be better if he hinted that he was going to catch his wife in the act of cheating. That way if the cab driver was interviewed (assuming this was supposed to set up the murders) he would still be able to say the motivation was there without being told that he planned to outright murder his wife.

Up until around page 60 I was thinking you could easily sell this as a low-budget film and solid actors would be interested. Unfortunately with all the flashbacks that followed, this quick easy read became a bit of a challenge. In a way, it undid all the great pacing that came before it. I don’t know how you could pull it off without all the flashbacks and yet they definitely slowed the read down. And pull you out of the script.

Up until the point where Clyde came in, I was completely invested in what was unfolding before me. Invested in the characters and their fates. But once it started cutting back and forth so much, I was reminded it was a script and felt distant from the action. The ending felt long. And all the bad people and twists and turns seemed a bit contrived. Yes twist and turns are good. But at a certain point, I started to feel a bit manipulated. And it was so complex I just read more to see how all the loose ends were tied up without feeling emotionally invested anymore.

I think you have a really solid script as far as the intrigue, tension, dialogue and characters that play out at the house. If you can somehow find a way to keep them in this confined space as it unfolds and lessen the flashbacks, I think that would heighten the story even more.

Thank you for a great read. Best of luck to you!

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