Review of: Rehabilitation 

reviewed by Paul Clarke on 01/06/2012
Credited Review
Paul Clarke
Would you survive rehab? Credited Review
Well, thanks for such a fun and quick read. Your script is a real page turner. I loved the long action scenes. I'm so sick of all the dialogue heavy scripts I usually find here on TS. A welcome change. And boy have you got skill with the descriptions. I found myself visualizing what was going on and forgetting all about the words I was reading. Forgetting I was reading at all. Exactly the idea.

I'm not sure what your plans are with this script. I think it makes a wonderful writing example, but I'm not sure how sellable it would be. There's simply so many slasher horror movies made and this one doesn't really have a particular hook to make it stand out. Having said that, horror movies are cheap to make and there are plenty made from worse scripts than this. It was a gruesome horror, mixed with a scooby-doo mystery, and just a hint of One flew over the Cuckoo's nest.

To make it to the next level I think the biggest let down is the middle. The setup is nice, it works, it's interesting. The final showdown, which goes on for around 30-35 pages just flies by, and it brilliant. But in the middle it's a little muddled. We lose focus from the protagonist. My mind wandered a little. I was a little bored, waiting for something to happen. If you could add something intriguing to the mix, and simply add it to what's there. Maybe make it obvious earlier that there isn't a real Billy Ray so we can start wondering who it really is? Maybe just come up with another specific goal for Joel. Something that he fails at, and leads into the wonderful action. The gruesome slayings. All that fun stuff.

I liked your dialogue in that there was very little of it. Basically, all you needed to get by. However, what was there was fairly plain and simple. None of the characters really had their own voices, unlike their visuals, which were wonderfully described. It's only a minor point, and probably not very important in a horror script, but could be worked nonetheless.

I'm thinking you could do a little more with the supporting cast. Make better use of them. All they're really there for is to distract, and as possible candidates for the killer. I found Craig annoying. Probably the goal, just not sure why. It would be really good if you made him, or another character, into a likable empathetic character, or have their interactions with Joel arc them into a likable character, so when they die we care more. We don't want them to die. This would happen if Joel doesn't want them to die. I don't think he really cared about any of them. Except maybe Brooke (lovely irony). If the Craig character tool Joel under his wing and helped him deal with the place, then maybe Joel could help him with his own problem (whatever that may be) and this could be the goal during the second act, along with trying to conquer his demons. But in the end it's all in vain as he's killed. Pushing Joel further, somehow helping him to better remember.

Anyway, here are some notes I made while reading:

- Interesting title. Simple, to the point. I thought ‘Rehab’ could be a bit more catchy, but it’s probably been used a million times.

- Great opening page. Awesome visual descriptions. I can see it in my head without trying. I can go entire scripts without getting that on TS sometimes.

- Opening 8 pages just fly by. So easy to read. So compelling. If anything, could be a fraction shorter maybe. If it really took up the first 8 minutes of the movie it could be a little overwhelming. Just being picky though. What you’ve written is top notch.

- P11: Brilliant descriptions of the doctors. Love it. This script is turning out to be a pleasure to read after the last one I reviewed.

- P20: The first sign of the villain. The attack by the pickup, seen it a million times but you still manage to make it interesting. Wonderfully described. I still feel Mountains fear.

- P21: Bursts like a grape - Brilliant.

- P22: I’d love to get a better description of the masked man’s voice. Is it deep and menacing, or surprisingly normal?

- P35-36: Maybe just mention Joel, wasn’t sure he was there. Just maintains the story POV.

- P37: Billy Ray pulls the trigger - I don’t follow this reference.

- P39: Half way down the page: dan need capitalization.

- P44: I don’t think you need the Memento reference. It’s well enough explained without it. No need to break the fourth wall.

- P47: Okay, so now I find out his name is Buddy Ray. Did I miss that from earlier? or did it slip through a revision?

- Has a real “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” Vibe about the scenes at the facility. Crossed with a Friday the 13th horror. Sounds like an interesting combo, Let’s see how it pans out.

- P58: Doc says head trauma can cause temporary memory loss, then he says if it was from the injury they’d be gone. Kind of contradicts himself. And he’s right the first time. Amnesia from an injury to the brain can sometimes be healed.

- P63: You describe Dr Dan’s thoughts in an unfilmable fashion.

- P67: Why is Dr Dan not doing what he promised?

- It’s funny, but mildly off-putting that Jackson’s wife was called Janet.

- Seems like the middle of the script is wandering. There’s a lot of things going on around Joel, but he’s not really involved in it. He’s just a passenger. Very passive. No goals, little actions. Also, he doesn’t seem to be struggling with the withdrawal of alcohol, or whatever other things he was on.

- The deaths of Jackson and Skye are again brilliantly described action scenes. Great stuff. But again it’s a few pages without Joel being involved. Maybe give him something else to to. Have it cut back and forth between him and the killings. Maybe make it obvious he wants to go apologize to Skye. Maybe have him talk to Craig who’s unconscious, so he’s really just talking to himself, and we here him sway back and forward between wanting to go and not. Adds more tension, that he might walk in on the act.

- P81: Is it his brother? I love the mystery, but half of the suspects just died.

- P83: Is it Brooke? That would be a nice twist. Female killer and she’s strong and skilled enough.

- P97: at the bottom: from of a man - should be form of a man.

- P99: Nailed it.

- He learned his lesson. Nice. Maybe another scene foreshadowing further threat from Brooke? Her plotting a plan in jail or something. I guess that’s kind of clichéd.

So from around the point where Randy is talking to Dr Dan, I wandered off a little. Don't think a scene like that need to be so long. Just mention he's going looking for Billy Ray and leave it at that. Get back to Joel, stay focused on Joel.

You have no gimmick, no hook, and I think leave it that way. Focus on a truly moving script and it will be better anyway. They always talk about characters arcing (not so much in horror scripts) and while Joel has an arc of realization, it would be really nice if there was more. It doesn't have to be Joel that arcs. Have him help his sidekick/mentor character to be a better person, to overcome a hurdle. It makes us like Joel more and makes it more moving when it's all for nothing and the person dies. Just a suggestion anyway.

Good luck with any future rewrites, I'd love to read them.


Other Reviews by Paul Clarke 76

  • by Paul Clarke on 07/30/2013
    Well, you have an interesting story here. It is very, very dark. So be aware that it may be a hard sell. Child abuse, rape, you have the works. While there is some good writing and nice moments, the entire thing is held back by one huge problem. You’re not telling a story, you’re telling two separate stories. Even though one character is in both, they are completely unrelated... read
  • A review of Mottephobia
    by Paul Clarke on 07/12/2013
    Well done. A nice read. Something that I can imagine seeing on the big screen. A good example of something the same as what we’ve seen before, but different. For my liking, it just wasn’t quite different enough. My advice would be to work on two things: Firstly, the originality. The idea of giant killer moths is cool and unique (I think). But in your script they don’t really... read
  • A review of Children Not Admitted
    by Paul Clarke on 06/24/2013
    I’m sorry but this simply wasn’t my kind of script. I like stories where stuff happens, so you’re always going to struggle to impress me with a plain talking heads script. However, it is possible with great interesting characters that I care about, in interesting situations. Unfortunately the only character I liked was Murray. He was the only one with any common sense, and... read
+ more reviews