Our beloved 3way had some time on his hands, and wanted to weigh in on the Blood List’s 2018 Fresh Blood script Small Town Murder Mystery:

Genre: Horror / Thriller

Logline: Journalism student, Carly Hamit, just accepted a ride-along to be “Sheriff for a Day” at the annual “Mystery Fest” in Storyville, Iowa, where not everything is as it seems. When a series of murders leaves nothing but mystery in its wake, the townsfolk refuse to let their “acting sheriff” leave. She must solve the murders as they happen one after another,
after another, after another… weekly. It’s Groundhog Day meets Murder She Wrote by way of Twin Peaks… Carly is stuck in a Small Town MurderMystery.

I will admit the logline here seemed to be trying to fit in a bit too much, but I’ll give anything a shot that claims to be a hybrid of Groundhog Day, Murder She Wrote & Twin Peaks.

The teaser opens with a Sheriff retiring at 43 years old, stating that he “put in his thirteen.” While that seems young for retirement, I assumed he meant he had been Sheriff for 13 years.

Turns out that’s not what he meant, but he’s killed by someone we don’t get to see before we find out much more.

Being that this is what I term an “express review,” I’m going to quickly summarize the rest of this pilot.

Carly, a young reporter, arrives in Storyville to take place in the town’s Mystery Fest, where she will be acting Sheriff for the day, solving what she assumes will be staged crimes.

Apparently, no one who has acted as Sheriff before has ever commented afterwards to anyone about their experience. So Carly pulled some strings with her boss to get the gig and see what goes on for herself. Pretty soon she’s involved in what seems to be a real murder as she slowly begins to realize the town itself will not let her leave until she has solved 13 murders as Sheriff – and maybe not even then based on the example of the previous Sheriff in the teaser.

It’s clear the townspeople are all aware of what is going on, but it also seems like they themselves are prisoners of the town, with a character stating at one point that he doesn’t “make the rules.” During an escape attempt, Carly does manage to briefly reach someone in the outside world, so there’s another storyline to be explored as at least one person not in the town knows she’s in trouble. The last scene shows a room with the names of at least thirty prior Sheriffs, so it’s obvious this has been going on for a long time.

I have to say I really enjoyed this script. It reminded me a bit of Wayward Pines, another recent series where the characters can’t get out of town. A few scenes felt a bit awkward, and it could probably use a rewrite or two, but overall it was a fast and fun read, and it set up a handful of mysteries that would keep me reading were any further episodes available.

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