An excerpt from my script review for Oxygen which will be available 05/12/21:
2.) Plot Stability
It was a cool little story.
The thing to remember about contained plots is…
Make mountains out of mole hills.
I know we’re constantly told not to do that, but here we need to.
We introduce our characters to situations that take everyday little inconveniences and turn them into challenges.
For instance, trying to undo a Velcro strap binding one’s wrist.
The angle isn’t right, so the hero is contorting her wrist in such a way that it’s painful, impossible, and takes herculean effort to undo something a toddler does every morning when putting on shoes.
Trying to place a long distance call inside the parameters of a security AI.
Finding the right computer systems to disable to ensure one can live.
Stuff like that.
(This was also something we discussed in the Misery review a while back.)
In addition to the steep hills, there’s the inevitable ticking clock.
Here it’s Charlie’s oxygen levels. She’s racing against the clock, and not only to zero, but 2% is her “do or die” point.
Lastly, and this kind of goes for all thrillers, there’s the suspense of trying to unlock just what is real and what isn’t.
My one criticism of the script is that there were too many hallucinations inside the cryo pod, that things got a bit corny, but the rest was good.
Was Agent Marlow on her side? Why was the FBI number suddenly disconnected?
Who is/was the Older Woman?
Are the memories Charlie’s having real or just more hallucinations?
A reader asking these questions in his head is a good thing because it means he’s engaged with your story.
Then there’s the exposition…
The audience will need a bit of background, and one trick the script did with this inside a confined space was to allow Charlie to use a computer display for quick research.
Information about the pod. Other voyagers. Outside lines of help. Information about herself.
This is a simple technique to implement, and as the character discovers things, so too do we.
What wasn’t great was some of the dialogue delivered expo, but we’ll cover that in a later section.
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