An excerpt from Reals’ script review for The Dead Girl (2006) which will be available 07/26/18:

Initial Thoughts

First, I want to say that it is great to read the work of a female writer, as this is, unfortunately, a rarity with most of my reviews. And Karen Moncrieff (who I wasn’t aware of before this review) is not just a screenwriter, but also a successful director and actress.

Secondly, I want to talk about what drew me to this story and that was the logline: The clues to a young woman’s death come together as the lives of seemingly unrelated people begin to intersect.

You see, I recently watched The World of Kanako (2014) which was about A former detective named Akikazu searches for his missing daughter, Kanako, and soon learns she has a mysterious secret life. This is a film I enjoyed, but holy crap was it one of the darkest, most nihilistic films I have seen in a long time. If you are going to watch it, be prepared for an unrelenting assault on optimism (which, actually, should have been the tagline ).

Once I saw the trailer for the John Cho film Searching (2018), I immediately thought it was a new take/reimagining of the film Kanako (though, if it is, they will almost certainly have to cut portions that I doubt would be allowed into an American wide-release feature).

Which brings me to Deadgirl (2006). This film follows a similar plot, but, interestingly, was both written and directed by a female filmmaker. I wanted to see what a female voice and perspective would bring to a tale like this, so I decided to give this script a look!

What We Can Learn

  • Know your theme! What is your story really about? Is it about loss? About hope? About something else entirely? It always helps to have a clear theme in mind before you start writing or even outlining, even if the theme starts to change as you discover your story.
  • Pacing is key! This script meandered all over the place and felt very disjointed and slow, even at only 93 pages.
  • If you want to do an ensemble film, that is fine, but it is a very thin line you have to walk and you want to be sure that your film/story is moving along (this one was not) and that there is a through-line or a character that the audience can follow and root for or at least care about.

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