An excerpt from my script review for The Lodge which will be available 02/10/2020:
2.) Plot Stability
“Scary as Hell. The next great horror film is here.”
If the finished film follows the script, I’d argue the opposite.
I mentioned earlier that this was a modern day The Others more or less.
Stories with huge twists like The Others, Sixth Sense, or even The Matrix can’t really be worked into new projects because it’ll feel too close to that initial intellectual property.
It’s what made those films fascinating, but also why they’re generally only good the first time through.
But this script tries to implement it anyway.
We’re given hints that the date has progressed more than a night. Buried “memorial” pictures of the kids with flowers and black ribbons. Items in the house shifting around, or gone completely. Not being able to stray too far from the house because…fog.
All techniques that were implanted in The Others.
And as a reader, that pissed me off.
But!…You know what pissed me off even more?
When you deliberately lead us down that path and then throw in the twist that it’s NOT The Others!
Ah-hah! The kids were playing a prank on Grace the entire time because they blame her for their mother’s death!
…You can’t do this, because it doesn’t fix anything.
(Not to mention was pretty predictable based on how early the “death” notion was introduced by Aiden.)
It’s almost like you’ve been caught plagiarizing a school paper and then throw in a quick fix at the end so you won’t fail the project.
All writers please listen up…be original.
(And the “religion is bad” theme isn’t enough originality, lol.)
You want to toy with audience expectations? That’s fine, but you need to know how to do it.
Giving them a carbon copy of what they’ve seen before isn’t it.
And “copying” doesn’t refer to common tropes used in storytelling, like “the butler did it.”
Monsters don’t always have to be the bad guys, remember.
Sometimes it’s more impactful if the hero (meaning “us” since the audience identifies with him/her) is the villain in the end.
Aside from that, the other main issue the script had was it was called The Lodge but we didn’t get to the actual lodge until a third of the way in.
This script could have easily started with picking Grace up and then the drive to our final destination.
All of the preceding plot could have been inferred via the subtext of characters’ dialogue and actions. We didn’t need to see it.
This script was only 79 pages and it took us until page 24 to get to the location the script is named after?
It’s almost as if the writers included the beginning, with all the wacky religious videos, because they knew there wasn’t enough plot to sustain things happening at the lodge once the characters got there.
This is one of those scripts you encourage new writers to read because it’s an excellent examples of why the rest of us need to “come in late” to the plot of not only a single scene, but the story overall.
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