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HOW IT RATES
A teenage camping trip turns into a nightmare when they disturb a psychotic witch hunter. Think FRIDAY THE 13th meets BLAIR WITCH PROJECT Scary, sexy, funny... welcome to Hudson Falls.
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Reviews of Hudson Falls 10
by swarren on 05/04/2010People think slasher films are junk. That they're quickly thrown together and easy to make. The bad ones are, sure. But there's actually an art to making the good ones. It's actually one of the more rigidly structured genres you can tackle. The classics have rigid structures based around often extravagant set pieces. Murders tend to happen about every ten minutes. This... People think slasher films are junk. That they're quickly thrown together and easy to make. The bad ones are, sure. But there's actually an art to making the good ones. It's actually one of the more rigidly structured genres you can tackle. The classics have rigid structures based around often extravagant set pieces. Murders tend to happen about every ten minutes. This allows time for the audience to relax and then build the tension for the next kill. Character needs to be delivered quickly and economically. Theme needs to tie in with your killer's motivation. It's hard to do a good slasher. That's why there's so many bad ones. Unfortunately I don't think you managed to write a good one.
You take your time dealing with witches and the history of the place. When the actual slashing happens, it feels like that's all lost. It becomes a very standard take on the genre. It feels, in a way, like the Friday the 13th redux that came out last year, with the two groups of kids on opposite sides of the lake. It would be nice to somehow see the witchcraft stuff carry through the piece and ultimately tie it all together. The Witchfinders did all kinds of screwed up things to potential witches. If you look into that dark past and you'll come up with dozens of horrible ways to dispatch victims. They'll certainly be more interesting than a plain old axe to the back.
When you finally return to the witchery, it feels like an after thought. George should probably be more pro-active in catching Dana. Right now she just kind of stumbles into the woods, because of her friends, and George only finds out she's there because of a coincidental radio conversation. That just feels all kinds of wrong. Junk that. This should be all about destiny and fate and all that jazz. George should know where Dana will be the moment he sees her.
Another issue with the set-up is how long it takes. We're halfway through the piece before anything happens. And by anything, in slasher film terms, this means kills. Taking 45 pages seems a bit much. Again, the conventions and expectations of the genre, dictate a lot more blood and gore being spilled at a quicker pace. You really should break the kids up some more and dole out more stalk and slash fun. 45 minutes is a long time to go without bloodshed of some sort. It pays to deliver on genre expectations.
Stock characters are fine, but they have to work in believable ways. There were several little moments that just seemed false to me. A lot of the references they made, Schindler's List, America's Funniest and Junkyard Wars all seemed dated and not really age appropriate. Maybe if this were five or ten years ago, but not now. The characters also behaved in weird ways; Monica being bored right after witnessing a decapitation, Dana going from terrified to fascinated by the woods. Just weird mood swings that took me out of the moment and made me question what was going on. I also think everyone was far too chatty for the circumstances, like when the car crashes. Would they really have time to do the exchange they make?
Overall I was let down by the script. I do think there's plenty of potential here to do something fast, fun and exciting. I just don't think it's all there. You just need to get everything working together and get this into a cohesive script. I hope my comments are helpful should you pursue another draft of this. Good luck with your material. read
by Nightmare18 on 07/12/2009i just fin finshed reading your screenplay and it was awesome, and i'm not just saying that, it really had what i would look for in a horror screenplay, it had murder, sex (or striptease in this case), it had likeable characters, you wrote them in a sense that makes you feel bad that they died, also great suspense element, i diddn't think sean was going to die. and i just gotta... i just fin finshed reading your screenplay and it was awesome, and i'm not just saying that, it really had what i would look for in a horror screenplay, it had murder, sex (or striptease in this case), it had likeable characters, you wrote them in a sense that makes you feel bad that they died, also great suspense element, i diddn't think sean was going to die. and i just gotta say i liked the ending but it could have been better, sorry if you take it the wong way but yeah it was kinda unsatfiying, so if you can rewrite the ending i would defitly read that ending cause this is a awesome blend on slasher and supurnatural.... overal great story 9/10
love: Steve G. JR aka Nightmare18 ^__^ read
by CMeziere on 07/09/2009Even though I am not a fan of rehashed horror movie cliches I must say that reading your script didn't make me cringe as much as I thought it would. Yes, it takes place in the woods. Yes, there is a small town sheriff involved. Yes, there is an axe wielding maniac. But you add a very fresh voice to the genre. It didn't feel like reading a half-assed attempt at making a few... Even though I am not a fan of rehashed horror movie cliches I must say that reading your script didn't make me cringe as much as I thought it would. Yes, it takes place in the woods. Yes, there is a small town sheriff involved. Yes, there is an axe wielding maniac. But you add a very fresh voice to the genre. It didn't feel like reading a half-assed attempt at making a few bucks by a philosophy major drop-out, rather, a well thought out (though not very original) story, written by a seasoned writer. I hope to read more of your work in the future.
A few notes from me if you don't mind:
Apart from a handful of typos and mistakes such as on pg. 13 where Nitin says something that I don't think was meant for his character, I haven't as many notes as I usually do, which is a good thing.
It appears the story takes place in NY. Correct me if I'm wrong. If it does, you need to change things like kilometers and torch, to miles and flashlight. But if I'm wrong, then I'm wrong.
And lastly, I think that one move to improve the story by leaps and bounds, would be to give Billie any weapon other than an axe. It's been done too many times. Perhaps a baseball bat with long nails driven through it. Or maybe a spear. Just a suggestion.
But like I said, you have a wonderful voice and your work is a pleasure to read. And the story flows very well from scene to scene. Good luck in all that you do! read
by dbenamor on 07/08/2009p1 "flame torches" it's 1692 we will assume torch is with a flame. p2 writing "SOUND CROSSOVER" may be taken as the writer telling the editor what to do. It's already there in the action description, no need to force it so much. p2 Judy Simpson has a speaking role and a name but is not capitalized upon introduction p4 "JACK PROUD" silly-sounding name. p5 Schindler's List... p1 "flame torches" it's 1692 we will assume torch is with a flame.
p2 writing "SOUND CROSSOVER" may be taken as the writer telling the editor what to do.
It's already there in the action description, no need to force it so much.
p2 Judy Simpson has a speaking role and a name but is not capitalized upon introduction
p4 "JACK PROUD" silly-sounding name.
p5 Schindler's List line is funny but REALLY dates your script. People might be less likely to
by a script that says "Present Day" is what, over 10 years ago?
p7 really noticeable to me that I am having difficulty distinguishing the voice of the characters,
they all sound similar.
p13 accidentally wrote Nitin where it seems like George is the one speaking line "Nice bunch of kids"
p14 again might want to watch out i think you're not supposed to "edit" a spec, putting fade to black in the middle of it might be considered that.
p14 different cars should be different headings not subheadings.
p18 weird out of left field use of "nigger"
p21 unclear why it is time to go, just because some alarm on jack's phone? for what reason did he set alarm?
p22 "We hear" avoid "We" in spec script. It's a no-no and just takes the reader out of the story.
p22 how would we see Billie's eye bulge if it's from Billie's POV?
p25ish a ton of expository dialogue, probably worthwhile to just cut to a montage or something then go back to Nitin finishing the story, visual is better than exposition.
p27 straight up racial stereotype. "I'm black. It would take all of you guys to just lift it."
p29 very cliched fake out.
p33 "could have been killed" how?
p34 she is afraid of area so being ALONE is her answer? This is another horror cliche, the strange insistince on being alone.
p36 typo "extorsion"
p38 the friend arriving as shock scare is also a big horror cliche.
p41 Dana completely ignoring Jack basically being pulled underwater is ridiculous. It also
doesn't fit her character, she's the only one who has the most reason to be truly scared.
p41-42 there is an almost identical scene with a camera in the film "House of Wax" (the Paris Hilton version)
p42 Nitin has 2 lines in a row, it looks like one was supposed to be Tom.
p45 Hallejuh. Finally something happens. I think you took too long to get to the first kill, personally, but you did a nice job setting it up "Nothing is going to happen"
p46 cliche friend-trying-to-scare-you bit again.
p48 finding some way to make noise at the worst possible moment alerting the killer another horror cliche.
p49 typo "sides" instead of slides.
p50 "Bored, she pulls out her nail file" ludicrous, approaching satire at that point.
p53-54 funny that he puts down axe and kills her with nail file.
p54 you can't just do subheadings for inside cars it's a new location.
p55 misuse of subheadings again. Subheadings are for small areas within a location, i.e. if it's
INT. KITCHEN - DAY
a good subheading would be
BY THE SINK
p56 Seriously? He stabs a knife next to her as a joke? You are beating this dead horse into the ground. What's next? He almost shoots her with a gun, ha-ha? This feels unbelievable.
p60 "She follows" implies Jack went first, confusing.
p66-67 this worked. Good character moment, provided reason to miss Billie leaving without resorting to some horror cliche. Do more of this!
p70 why would he wriggle out? because there was a silence for a SECOND? When the audience is smarter than your protagonists, that's not a good thing.
p71 somehow making noise at worst possible time, even if you dropped mp3 it would probably not turn on, either way this is big cliche.
p72 isn't their camp nearby? shouldn't she have looked for the keys there?
p78 format error with george dialogue middle of page.
p80 "skips" skips?
p83 missing punctuation on mary line "Simon, no"
p85 slamming into man right in front of you who magically appeared there while you looked away
for one second. Horror cliche.
p86 falls inside cowboy boot, pretty convenient.
p90 Jack falls over twice without getting up.
p91 last gasp of bad guy after he should have been down for the count...cliche.
p91 "What happened?" what'd he pass out for 3 seconds?
p92 if Zachary had vest why didn't he do anything this whole time?
Some teens get killed by some dudes. For the 1,000 time. The ghost/spiritual possession angle offers something fresh, but i didn't feel it was enough to reinvigorate the otherwise tired concept.
Kind of a collection of cliches, the nerdy guy, the horny couple, the girl with a haunted past, the unrequited love interest, the big silent killer manchild. Not a lot of new characters here with the exception of George, who is sort of chatty and funny until he reveals his true nature later.
It was very tough to tell the difference between the majority of the characters voices. It's a hard thing to pull off, but characters should speak differently enough that if I pulled out one line of Tom's dialogue, for example, it couldn't be spoken by Nitin or Jack. That's not the case here.
This could easily be Jason 27, you know what I mean? You've already got the lake, the big silent killer, the dying teens, it's all pretty familiar. The fact that the script indulges in standard horror cliches only heightens the feeling this is something we've all seen many times before.
It was a quick read though, which in my book means you did a nice job with the story structure. That being said I think you could get to the first teen kill sooner, I think it occurs here around p43.
I don't think I have to tell you you've got a very average horror script here. I suspect you realize this is not reinventing the wheel. You even say in your notes you aren't going for anything clever. But even if all you aimed for was a typical horror setup the execution can be much stronger. Lose the cliches, amp up the characterization and dialogue, pump in some originality even if you want to keep the setup the same.
It feels like a regular horror movie. I have seen tons of these. It is no different. So....
Dan Benamor read
by agilitygsd on 07/07/2009Hudson Falls is well written for the genre, very visual and the story has the requisite scary scenes that will make the audience jump out of their seats. Jack jumping out of the lake, the axe and decapitation of Nitin, the axe embedding in the wood at the dock, rope over Jack's neck all should have their desired impact. The back story, with the flashback scenes and the resemblances... Hudson Falls is well written for the genre, very visual and the story has the requisite scary scenes that will make the audience jump out of their seats. Jack jumping out of the lake, the axe and decapitation of Nitin, the axe embedding in the wood at the dock, rope over Jack's neck all should have their desired impact. The back story, with the flashback scenes and the resemblances of Dana/Mary, Zachary/Simon and George/John is very well done.
You incorporate all the conventions of the slasher genre, target audience/age appropriate stereotypes, with the cliched dick jokes and banter. The characters do stupid illogical things and the killers have something convenient at their disposal (in this case the spikes to put the corvette out of commission).
I am not your target audience - a slasher film aficionado - so it is difficult to separate genre conventions from plot holes but -
Things that didn't work for me -
We start off with the group loading into an SUV filled with camping and video gear - yet no one but Nitin knows where they are going - so why did Jack bring the camping gear? Ok, he likes to be prepared. But you've also got 3 girls coming along for the ride - they surely weren't planning on going camping and for Jack to have 5 identical tents just doesn't make sense. If he is trying to get closer to Dana - having fewer tents would make even more sense. But I have a real problem buying an unplanned camping trip. Dana and Jack are 17 - her adoptive mother would have to give permission - Better to have them the same age as the rest of the group so that you can eliminate this one obstacle to plausibility. I also think making it a planned trip - but with the destination a surprise would still work just fine. A girl like Monica going on a camping trip really stretches the bounds of plausibility and her reactions to the events just don't do anything for the story or tone.
Dana wants to go home immediately and after the fake attack, insists on being taken home, goes so far as to try and take the Corvette - and when prevented - wants to stalk off into the woods alone. Just does not make sense. If you want to get Dana and Jack alone do it - but Dana has acted too rationally to go off in the woods alone. You also have the gang insisting she can't walk through the woods to the highway alone - but then everyone lets her walk into the woods alone? Just seems contradictory.
Also, Billie seems to get around the lake pretty fast considering he is transporting bodies and killing in between. He got Nitin's, Sandy's and Monica's bodies from one side of the lake to the other in almost superhuman time.
Where does the rowboat come from? It's just left on the lake for 30-40 years and is still serviceable?
As soon as Sean was introduced I just knew he was going to get the chop - but then you had him appear at the modern burning at the stake scene and I thought - here's a twist - he didn't kill off the token black guy - that's breaking with convention - but alas - you go ahead and give him the chop. I really think this would have more impact with Jack being the one this happens to. Jack is not really the romantic lead - Simon is - so you could kill him off and let Sean live. This would be unexpected and give us something a little different.
Billie is just kind of a typical psycho - adding George into the equation elevates the story out of just a standard slasher - but I think I would have liked to have seen him involved sooner. His reaction to Dana at the store should have been a little more mysterious/foreshadowing. Why would he warn the kids about the lake if he wants to end the curse. I would have liked to see more of a tie in with the other missing, since this is written off as all being tied into the curse of Mary Black. We know because of his resemblance to John Goodwin, that he is involved - so there needs to be more to tie him into the disappearances.
pg. 1 - Some differences in American English / British English: but miss-deeds should be misdeeds & practising / practicing, torch / flashlight (this also would make it where you don't have to say flamming torches - they could just be torches), kilometers / miles.
Your miss-deeds are matters of
I think this would read better as a matter of record rather than historical fact.
pg. 2 - The thug tosses the flame torch onto the pyre, which
ignites. FLAMES spread quickly, smoke rises. Mary coughs.
The crowd JEER and shout various abuses.
You don't really need the "which ignites".
The crowd JEER[S]
Mary’s nightgown catches
fire, turn[s] her body into a fireball. Mary screams...
pg. 6 - NITIN
What are you talking about? I just
brought along the video camera stuff.
The camping gear is Jack’s.
Maybe just video  stuff - sounds more natural.
pg. 13 - Nitin smirks, leaves.
George watches the group through the window. Fran joins
Nice bunch of kids. Nice car, too.
Shouldn't this be Fran or George's dialogue instead of Nitin?
pg. 33 - JACK
What were you playing at? You could have
Why would Jack say this - he's the one that threw himself in front of the corvette?
pg. 34 - DANA
I said, alone.
Dana disappears between the trees.
If Dana is really so scared would she go off into the trees alone?
pg. 34 - OSCAR (V.O.)
Ouch! Are you still mad about the result
last weekend? It's not my fault that the
Red Socks are a team of pussies.
Ouch! Are you still mad about the [game]
last weekend? It's not my fault that the
Red Socks are a team of pussies.
pg. 42 - Nitin gives him a cold stare.
Are you gay?
I’m not gay.
Should the first bit of dialogue be Tom's?
pg. 74 - There is a red
mark on her forehead (from the shotgun).
You do several things like this and it just isn't necessary - we know its from the shotgun.
pg. 78 - Where would a grocer get sodium pentathol or whatever is supposed to be in the syringe?
pg. 83 - Mary strokes Simon['s] face.
pg. 84 - Same note as when this scene appeared before.
Also - don't really need to say flame torches - it is implied (except in the UK where it means flash light.)
by J.G.Blodgett on 07/07/2009Hudson Falls is the story of a present day, deranged killer possessed by a past, deranged killer - and in that respect, it was a success. I like the classic plays on "Friday The 13th" and other slasher flicks. The beginning teaser was a good way to start, and the road trip to camp was good - I think maybe some more drug play though. All of the scares and killings were done... Hudson Falls is the story of a present day, deranged killer possessed by a past, deranged killer - and in that respect, it was a success.
I like the classic plays on "Friday The 13th" and other slasher flicks. The beginning teaser was a good way to start, and the road trip to camp was good - I think maybe some more drug play though. All of the scares and killings were done well. It was slow at first, but when the killings started, they did not stop until the end - good stuff.
There were a few typos, and mentions of "we" a few times. "we" indicates the audience, and is frowned on by most of these critics on this site. I don't mind them personally - as long as it helps the story - necessary sacrifices.
I enjoyed the dialogue very much - very smart and witty throughout. All of the characters were classic horror dummies - good job.
I felt the story played out well throughout also. The flashbacks, or "visions", were placed very well. And the ending was kind of cool too - love the cheesy one-liners.
The following are mostly typos - thought I'd help you find a few:
pg 13 - I think you wanted either GEORGE or FRAN to say "Nice bunch of kids. Nice car too", but you had Nitin saying it.
pg 35 - "jam jar on *he* window ledge"
pg 35 - OSCAR says "I'd thought they'd" only one needs to be the *'d*
pg 42 - should be "I think I'm going to *cum*" not *come*
pg 42 - should be TOM asking "Are you gay?"
- that reminds me, you have quite a few questions with no question marks - sorry, I didn't note them.
pg 49 - says "she *sides* off the blades, should be *slides*
pg 60 - says *ANA*, should be *DANA*
pg 67 - DANA says "That was cheap shot", needs an *a*
pg 78 - GEORGE'S dialogue "Mary? Mary?" is in the action line area
pg 87 - DANA says "So why go *though* this again?", needs to be *through*
So as you can see, all my notes were mainly typos. The story I thought was very fun and well portrayed. Your story needs some rewrites of course, but who's doesn't. Keep up the good work.
by FsuBuckeye on 07/06/2009Hey, I just finished reading your script, Hudson Falls. Here are my thoughts, let me know if you have any questions! Overview: (Where's the Title Page?!?!?) Pros: The story had a very interesting beginning, I enjoyed how you appealed to the sense of sound in the script also, using it cleverly as a transition to get from one scene to another. You also had some pretty solid... Hey, I just finished reading your script, Hudson Falls. Here are my thoughts, let me know if you have any questions!
Overview: (Where's the Title Page?!?!?)
The story had a very interesting beginning, I enjoyed how you appealed to the sense of sound in the script also, using it cleverly as a transition to get from one scene to another. You also had some pretty solid horror/ slasher film elements when it came to building suspense throughout the script.
There were also some points in which I chuckled because of the situations that your characters found them in. Speaking of characters, I think that the way you introduce them (as far as descriptions are concerned) was fairly well done; I had an image of each character in my head at all times. I think of all of your characters, I was drawn to Jake the most because he was the purest of heart so to say, of all the characters and I genuinely wanted him to succeed.
Another thing that I thought was well done was the pace of the script, it definitely was just long enough to give me a satisfying feel of slash without dragging on. The last thing I have to say is that you came up with some very creative ways to kill off your characters.
I would say that the characters fell almost too cleanly into their stereotypes, it was as if they were completely brainless and interchangeable. In fact, the only person I actually cared about in the entire script was Jack...the only problem with that is he is not your main character.
While I thought they were interesting to have, I do feel that the role of most of your characters was to actually die, I don't even believe that they were friends with each other, which kinda showed throughout the entire script with their less-than-shocked reactions from their friends being slaughtered. Throwing in Humor at awkward times (like after someone's head being cut off and Monica saying 'I'm bored') made the script hard to take seriously.
There were also things about Dana I didn't understand; on page 16 she is terrified and wants to leave but then on page 19 she is off exploring by herself, I don't think someone that is genuinely terrified would actually do that. Stereotypes, while funny, actually kind of pushed the limits here and my suggestion is to omit things such as freely throwing around the n word; you never know who is going to read your script and the last thing you want to do is give them a reason to write you off because of those remarks.
I think it would be much more of an interesting story if you cut out maybe half of the characters and made them unique. Maybe the black guy is the nerd and the Indian guy has the hot blonde girlfriend; but on top of that, you should cut out characters so that you can spend time building relationships between them, because (once again) I didn't care about anyone other than Jack. Also, all but 3 of your characters die...that seems a bit much.
Your writing was pretty strong, but there were moments where you had unnecessary additions; those came in the form of either over explaining something (like when Jack watches Dana in the diner and you say 'obviously fancies her' which was already implied). Or even randomly assigning names to characters that have no significance; for example, rather than just calling him CHEF, you gave him a full name which is completely unnecessary.
Also, be careful about directing too much in your script, things like “We see this or we see that” really belong in a shooting script, the job of this script is to tell the story with as little directorial directions as possible.
There were definitely a creative group of characters. The only thing is that I felt that I only cared about Jack; maybe because he was the only one that wasn't playing a social stereotypes.
The writing again was pretty good, just try to not direct us so much and remember that less is more! Instead of telling us through dialogue, show us through their actions.
It came full circle, but some of the actions didn't really make sense and I didn't understand why your characters behaved the way they did.
I honestly couldn't buy the concept of the story, and then I didn't buy how lighthearted everyone was when the people around them were being killed.
I have a few more detailed notes if you need to know more specifics. Please feel free if you have any questions about anything! read
by 1987brian on 07/04/2009Your writing is excellent, very professional, clear and straight to the point. No long paragraphs of needless information which made this a breeze to read through. It’s probably one of the quickest screenplays I’ve read. The story was fairly standard and nothing ground breaking but that can be said for nearly every slasher on the market nowadays. The most important thing,... Your writing is excellent, very professional, clear and straight to the point. No long paragraphs of needless information which made this a breeze to read through. It’s probably one of the quickest screenplays I’ve read.
The story was fairly standard and nothing ground breaking but that can be said for nearly every slasher on the market nowadays. The most important thing, however, is that this was fun. The interaction between the characters was the strongest point of the script. I laughed at many of the lines and was counting the pages til the next guy made a joke about the size of his or someone else’s private parts.
You handled the two time periods well. The dialogue in the scenes from 1692 sounded natural to me, although I’m far from an expert on that subject. It did confuse me for a minute when George said he had been waiting 300 years for this, and to be honest, it still isn’t 100% clear to me. Maybe you could add a few lines of dialogue to fully clarify this. The opening scene was powerful but little else happened for another 40 or so pages, which runs the risk of disappointing slasher fans.
Characters were good. The dialogue helped immensely with that. Dana, however, came across a bit flat in places. There were times earlier in the script when I was wondering why her friends put up with her. Like when she completely over reacted after the ghost story and wanted to drive home, it didn’t do anything for her character. In a good number of her lines early on, she did nothing but moan and question things. There are other ways you can show her having fun with her friends while showing the problems she had with the letter are still on her mind. First impressions are everything, and I can’t say I liked Dana in the first 30 pages. In contrast, later on in the script, she shares a joke and laughs with Jack while the killer is in sight standing by the boat. Talk about bad timing. The end result was, when she was tied to the stake, I didn’t really feel bad for her, which I should do as she’s the lead.
The only other character I had a problem with was Billie. He is our main bad guy but I don’t think we really got to find out how scary he really is. There was a great opportunity for some suspense when Jack and Dana found the earrings while he entered the house. Instead of a chase around the creepy old house, or even just them hiding while he passes by only a few feet away or something, they bail out quickly with only Jack’s jacket getting caught in the window the only obstacle. Also the name struck me as rather odd. Billie Piper? It was hard to imagine a psycho killer called Billie Piper when he has the exact same name as the famous English ‘actress’ or pop star, whatever. Maybe die hard Dr Who fans will find this a little distracting, it was not a major problem for me but I’ll mention it incase it does bother others. The rest of the characters did their job, Monica did seem a bit odd as she wasn’t scared when the killing started but other than that, you did a great job.
The death scenes satisfied me. Special mention for Sandy running into the blades she found earlier. That was different and unexpected. I also liked the nail file in the eye death, it was a welcome change from the axe. All the deaths were very sudden though. There wasn’t much in the way of long chase scenes or suspense or tension before the deaths. Maybe you could someone trying to escape in the car and Billie giving chase in his truck or something to mix it up a bit. Or a longer, more suspenseful scene in the junk yard as Billie tries to find someone hiding there, maybe have someone fight back and get the better of Billie at one point. Things to consider anyway.
Small note, I didn't find much mistakes but I wasn't really looking. I did notice two cases of you using Nitin's name in the dialogue when you were meaning other characters. Nitin should be George on page 13 near the bottom and Nitin should be Tom on page 42, last line of dialogue.
Overall, I was very pleased that I got to read this. It was very professional writing from someone who obviously knows what they are doing. It was a fun read and a very quick one at that. Well done! read
by fencik on 07/03/2009“Hudson Falls” is another “killer in the woods” story (a sub-genre all its own), shockingly unoriginal right down to the choice of locales. Cliched characters drive out to the spooky woods and spout flaccid dialogue (the black guy talks about his big penis) until the killer shows up and then things get really predictable. Like Norman Bates the script suffers from a split... “Hudson Falls” is another “killer in the woods” story (a sub-genre all its own), shockingly unoriginal right down to the choice of locales. Cliched characters drive out to the spooky woods and spout flaccid dialogue (the black guy talks about his big penis) until the killer shows up and then things get really predictable.
Like Norman Bates the script suffers from a split personality disorder. Although compared to “Friday the 13th” it often reads more like “Idle Hands.” One is a horror film, it may be unintentionally funny but it’s supposed to scare you. The other is a comedy, it may look like a horror film but it’s supposed to make you laugh. You have to decide what kind of film “Hudson” is supposed to be. If it’s a horror film it needs to be scarier, if it’s a comedy it needs to be funnier.
If you want to scare people, once the killing starts the characters need to behave as if their lives are in mortal danger–at all times. For instance, when Dana and Jack are hiding out (pages 65-68) they don’t seem all that concerned about the guy with the ax, hunting them. I understand Jack wants to get laid, but come on.
If you want to make people laugh the dialogue and situations need to be funnier. There are several humorous lines in the script, but too often the dialogue only undercuts the supposed tension and jars the reader’s suspension of disbelief.
The scene where Dana pulls the nailfile from Monica’s eye socket could work in a horror film or a comedy. It’s an inspired moment, funny, grotesque and memorable. Whatever you decide to do, this script could use more scenes like that.
The most interesting character in the story is George. Where the other characters are soulless cardboard cutouts George has an interesting back story which provides his character with strong motivation. The scenes between him and Dana are some of the best in the script.
Finally, where does this story take place exactly? It sort of reads like it’s set in the U.S., but then the road signs are in kilometers. Have you ever considered setting this story somewhere in England?
No title page?
Page 1 - “His clothes are torn and dirty, vents anger in Goodwin’s direction.” Huh?
Page 2 - Don’t reveal that Dana’s a dead-ringer for Mary until after she pulls off her helmet.
Need to do a better job of setting the scene. “EXT. LOWELL, HURD STREET” doesn’t reveal very much. You don’t have to be specific or even factual, but is this a small town or a big city? Is it near the coast or in the mid-west?
Judy’s name should be in caps.
Page 3 - “Dana and Judy stand at tables, note down food orders.” You mean “take orders”?
Page 4 - Why is Mark Simpson’s name in parentheses?
“What is this? Pay per view?” Funny line
Page 5 - “Schindler’s List”? What year is this “present day”? And they already did that joke on “Seinfeld.”
Page 13 - Nitin says, “Nice bunch of kids”?
“A sign reads, ‘Hudson Falls, 10 Kilometers.’” Kilometers? Is this story set in the U.S.?
Page 14 - It’s not the screenwriter’s job to decide what’s shot in slow motion.
No need to write “(MOS)” or ”FADE TO BLACK.”
Instead of “INSIDE THE SUV (PRESENT),” simply use a standard slug line: INT. SUV - DAY. Presentation is important. Your script should have a clean, uniform look.
Page 34 - What is the point of the conversation between George and Oscar?
Page 42 - Nitin asks Tom, “Are you gay?”
Page 46 - Dana doesn’t hear her friends screaming?
Page 50 - Monica files her nails? I thought this was supposed to be like “Friday the 13th,” not “Idle Hands.”
Page 51 - “This is the last time I go on one of your camping trips.” Funny line.
Page 54 - “The file pierces the eye, edges deeper. Monica SCREAMS... then dies.” End on Monica screaming.
Page 57 - “Dana SQUEALS...” Lose the, ”...because Jack is wet." part.
Page 60 - “With Jack’s help, Dana identifies...” This paragraph is redundant. We already know the jewelry belongs to the missing teens.
Page 61 - Sean fell 30 feet to the bottom of a shaft littered with “old timbers” and “broken boards” without getting injured?
Page 72 - “Can’t lose these. I’ve already lost a pair today.” It’s hard to suspend my disbelief with lines like that.
Page 83 - How exactly does Dana free herself?
Page 85 - The bit with Dana pulling the nailfile out of Monica’s eye is great.
Page 90 - Jack says: “I told you I was prepared.” Funny. read
by Agent Cooper on 07/03/2009The Billie Piper thing – is it intentional? It seems an odd thing to have. Every time “Billie” appeared in the screenplay all I could picture was the failed pop star turned Dr Who actress, not really what you are going for (I would guess). Being from England I would have to assume you have heard of her. Another strange thing is the reference to Schindler’s...
The Billie Piper thing – is it intentional? It seems an odd thing to have. Every time “Billie” appeared in the screenplay all I could picture was the failed pop star turned Dr Who actress, not really what you are going for (I would guess). Being from England I would have to assume you have heard of her. Another strange thing is the reference to Schindler’s List. Is the modern part of the story meant to be set in 1993? If not, would they be seeing Schindler’s List? It seems there purely to have a making out in Schindler’s List joke (a joke that was already used in Seinfeld 15 years ago).
These are both just small things, but they are symptomatic of much larger issues. Too often I found myself scratching my head more than anything else. The odd machinations and characters actions meant I was constantly brought out of the script, rather than being drawn in.
Look, this is a tough one. Generally it is quite well constructed. The mechanics of the writing are good, but... it doesn’t really click, for a wide variety of reasons. I apologise if I am too rough but unfortunately to me this pieces seems seriously problematic.
My take on the slasher genre is you need to do something original to set it out from the pack. The storyline is paper thin and that is okay for the type of film, but then there has to be real invention in the manner in which the kids are disposed of. There didn’t seem to be anything here that would make this stand out from the pack (maybe the eyeball being pulled out). The original thing might be the modern day slasher mixed with the 1600s backstory, but in the end the combination of the witchcraft and the crazed backwoods killers never mesh properly and only serves to muddy the issue. You seem to be having a bit of a bet each way. If they are the reincarnations of John Goodwin and Mary Black, what is with all the other missing people? Alternately, if Billie and George cause all of these missing persons, then the whole thing with Dana being Mary Black is irrelevant.
My gut feeling on this would be pick one and go for it. It needs to be one or the other. This place in the forest is either a place where random kids get chopped up or this particular group of kids gets targeted because the whole Mary Black/Dana thing.
There are a few issues with the telling too. Having the burning at the start is fine, except then it gets repeated again at the end with no new information. We don’t learn anything from pages 78 to 84, which is a big chunk of nothing at what should be the most exciting point in the script. Also, Nitin’s big long slabs of diao/exposition around the campfire aren’t particularly compelling.
Overall, the dialogue isn’t terribly strong. There are many examples of characters saying things that should be in the action, like on page 52 – “I can’t move.”
This might be more of a personal taste thing, but characters talking to themselves really rubs me the wrong way. Like:
Dana: Where did Sean go? He left us. That bastard!
One of the difficulties with writing slasher scripts is getting the characters into these perilous situations, situations which often defy logical thought. The whole big breasted girl going to investigate a strange noise thing. This is part of the fun with these sort of films. But it’s a fine line between a character doing something the audience knows is foolish and the characters doing things which make absolutely no sense. Often in Hudson Falls the actions of the characters seem to miss the mark. Take Monica and the nail file. It is clear what you are trying to do, but they see their friend Nitin decapitated and his skull burned in the fire – one minute she is terrified, the next she is bored and filing her nails?
Same with Dana and Jack laughing and kissing when they are trying to outwait Billie and take the boat.
Dana is terrified at Billie’s house and wants to leave immediately, until she comes across a nice pair of earrings?
In fact Dana’s actions the entire way through don’t seem to follow any sort of logic. At first she is desperate to get away from camp, enough to try and steal a car she can’t drive, but then she goes and sits by a lake? And where is she going when she gets in the boat? It’s dark, it’s the middle of the night and she is supposedly scared. I don’t really buy her going to find a creepy house to explore.
Again, this is more a personal taste thing, but I am never a big wrap for false frights in horror. This screenplay has a bunch of them. Sean covered in sauce probably works the best of these, but the corvette, “Oh no, he found us” thing just kind of happens, with no build up or suspense. And just as quickly it is over. Maybe if the car had been following them for a while and somebody else brought it up, not Nitin. Later, I have no idea why Jack throws the knife at Dana other than to set up Jack’s knife throwing for the climax. Work needs to be done on the suspense throughout. There are precious few moments that seem especially scary or that I found myself concerned for the characters and wondering what would happen next.
The false endings is kind of like the false frights thing. It felt as though characters come back to life and the baddies aren’t quite dead just the right amount of times, not because it suited the story but because that is how it is supposed to happen in this sort of film.
Just a handful of other small things:
“George points to Tom’s rock hard abs, then to his own beer belly.” This makes sense reading it, but would it translate on screen? I would find it confusing. I wouldn’t think “Oh, abs” so I wouldn’t know why George was pointing at people’s stomachs.
How exactly does Dana escape being tied up on Page 84? Her arms swing wildly and she wasn’t tied well? Again, it’s that plausibility thing.
I didn’t understand what the point of the video camera filming at the end was either or why it was there or who had set it up.
Anyway, I hope this helps in some way. Best of luck going forward with it. read
- Writer: CJ Knight
- Uploaded by: CJ Knight
- Length: 93 pages
- Genre: horror, mystery/suspense
- Here is my attempt at the horror/slasher genre. I'm not attempting anything clever, just trying to have some fun. I hope you enjoy it. Kind regards CJ
- Bio: Done some acting, singing, song writing, screenplay writing, reviewing... still waiting for Steven Speilberg (or Simon Cowell) to call me!
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