An excerpt from my script review for 10 Cloverfield Lane which will be available 03/14/16:
2.) Plot Stability
Going to come right out and say it, I loved this script!
(What’s more, I wrote a script about two people stuck in a bunker so, as a writer, I should be trying to pick it apart arguing any flaw I can!)
The story’s simple, yet tense.
We’re wondering the entire time, along with Michelle, who’s actually telling the truth, and what the complete version of that truth is.
Some of you may remember a YouTube video I did a while back, using Twilight Zone episodes to generate contained thriller ideas.
That’s what this story was, a ninety plus minute/page well done episode of The Twilight Zone.
Page 7 – Michelle doesn’t buy into Howard’s story about a bomb and the world ending. Being locked in cinderblock room in your underwear, that’s probably wise to question.
Page 15 – Michelle, still doubting, finally gets her first glimpse outside, and we see two dead pigs, their skin peeled off. But did the toxic air do it, or a twisted Howard?
Page 30 – Finally having enough, Howard gives Michelle the option to leave, but she can’t come back once the door closes behind her. Now she’s questioning whether to call his bluff.
Page 33 – Nate, sexy fella in a hazmat suit, is let into the bunker, and he’s thoroughly washing the suit, either genuinely concerned about the outside chemicals, or putting on a show, but he has Michelle strip to her undies and wash down…for her own safety of course.
Page 45 – Now Michelle faces Nate and Howard. Which one can she trust? Can we trust either of them?
Page 52 – Michelle gets her first glimpse of darkness in Nate, who’s been all flirty flirty up to now, when he throws one too many punches on an older Howard.
Page 55 – Via flashbacks, we discover Howard ran Michelle off the road, or at least we’re pretty sure he did.
***This part was a bit confusing, or perhaps I made too much of it. Did Howard actually do it? We don’t see the truck until Nate shows up, so part of me was expecting a twist at the end that Michelle blames Howard when it was actually Nate.
Page 59 – Now we get to it…Nate will take care of Michelle if she “takes care” of him. Cover your eyes, kiddies, that means sex.
Page 61 – Nate goes super dark. He’s got the only gun, he’s got the keys, so he’s in control of the bunker. But remember, Michelle, the sex was good!
Page 64 – Wanting out, Howard “admits” to Michelle it was all a ruse to tag team a coed, and he wants to leave for help. But was it?
Page 77 – Howard and Michelle are left in the bunker, Nate having “gone away”, when a vehicle comes up. Is it help? Should Michelle scream out? She tries, but Howard sedates her. Who was in that vehicle?
Page 89 – Tricking her way outside, Michelle and Howard finally have their showdown, her stabbing, and then shooting him. Turns out he was telling the truth about being a family man though, and she trusted the wrong person.
Ending – Driving off anyway, she discovers the world did actually end. (Via bomb in the script, not a silly monster.)
This “not knowing” had me turning the pages. Sure it was only 95 pages of script, but I flew through them.
Build this doubt and tense situations into your script, and you’ll have your reader doing the same thing.
There were a few things I was left wondering about…
Page 47 – For toxic chemicals being in the air, they sure opened that door a lot. On top of that, they can just wash it off their clothes with water?
Page 53 – Where were they putting all the trash after eating and drinking?
Page 72 – Nate knows it’s not going to end well with Howard, so why does he keep letting Michelle talk him out of throwing Howard out?
Page 80 – Michelle tricks Howard into drinking, saying it’s her birthday, but this is the same girl who doesn’t even know what time of day it is. Sure he finds out later, but he’s already too drunk.
Page 84 – There’s a vent down in the crawlspace that leads Michelle outside? Not exactly airtight, given the toxic air. Wouldn’t it seep in and kill them all?
Ending – Was lame how a blanket equaled protection against toxic chemicals, or that the rain could just wash them all away. Also, no sign of a bomb until she’s 10 miles outside Chicago? Have the writers ever watched something post apocalyptic?
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