An excerpt from my script review for On the First Day of Christmas which will be available 12/13/21:

2.) Plot Stability

Taking a page out of Reals’ style…

(Because I think it’s appropriate for this particular review.)

What Worked

There were a few implemented techniques that worked really well for this project.

The package.

Right from the get go we’re shown a gift being wrapped and delivered to Amelia.

We’ll learn later who that is, but right now knowing the genre, we know the package isn’t good.

What works is we’re teased with character introductions as people start their morning “bumping” into the package but moving on to other things never opening it.

We know it’s bad news, and the tension builds for us as the characters narrowly avoid discovering the horror inside.

This was the right amount of “teasing” too. Too much and your audience gets frustrated. Too little and they get bored.

Knowing your relationship with your audience is necessary, and this was one example of us being in good hands with the writer.

Video of Riley.

Around page 34, as things are heating up for the crooked Sylvan family with these anonymous packages, Nick is given a video link to someone following his wife, Riley.

It’s a creepy bit of voyeurism, and taking into account the earlier nefarious “gifts” Nick has every right to be worried.

He’s in full blown panic mode trying to get in touch with her because Riley’s life is realistically in danger.

The danger escalates as the video shows the first person view of the stranger going into the house behind her only to cut out!

And when he gets home?!…everything is fine.

The video is revealed to be from a day or so earlier.

Now, similar to the first technique, done incorrectly and this can be as lame as a jump scare or a dream sequence.

Here though? It’s a complete mind fuck.

We know “Santa” has been in the house. We know he knows their schedules.

It’s only a matter of time before the worst happens.

Even though everyone is safe (for the time being) it still registers with Nick that the stranger was in their house.

If you’ve ever had someone break into your own home, you know there’s a certain sense of being violated that comes along with that.

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