An excerpt from Reals’ script review for Lou which will be available 10/23/22:
What Needed Work
The Page Length – This comes in at 115 pages (114 plus the title page) which made me hesitate. Typically, you can do a horror, a survival horror, an action piece, etc., in 90 to 100 pages easily.
110 is about the maximum length I would consider for a project like this, so the extra 5 pages are noticeable.
The Storm – This isn’t a note about the storm, but on Page 5 there is a Sales Associate who gives us some lazy exposition with lines like:
You sure? This storm’s supposed to be a doozy. Big time wind. The island’s definitely losing power.
My comment here is that we get it.
By this point, the script has already had people at the bank talking about the storm, scenes of locals buying supplies to prepare for the storm, and, visually, the exterior scenes will look like a bad storm is approaching.
Because of all of this, the writer didn’t need to beat the reader over the head with yet another reminder that there is a storm coming and that the island will likely lose power.
Slow Start – There is a lot of nothing that happens in the beginning of this script and I feel it could have been trimmed to tighten it up.
The plot is pretty bland, too, so keeping things moving is a must and this script made my eyes glaze over in boredom more than once.
A Generic Plot – A kidnapped daughter, a parent (or grandparent, in this case) with a “very particular set of skills”, a one-note bad guy, disposable goons for the hero to kill or beat up along the way.
We’ve seen this all done before. This script tries to set itself apart in subtle ways (like with the storm shutting off power to the island), but it didn’t do enough to stop me from thinking of all of the other films/scripts that it was clearly drawing from.
Hannah – I personally didn’t care at all about Hannah. She seemed more like a plot necessity (since she’s the one who gets Lou involved in the search for Vee) than a fully realized or important character. Really, this script could have done without Hannah and just had Vee living with Lou, or maybe living in an orphanage where Lou was watching out for her from afar.
Also, there is a long, long scene of exposition about Phillip (our bad guy) that Hannah just vomits out on Pages 38 and 39. This was the laziest way to give us this information. Better yet, I hope they kept some mystery to Phillip’s character in the final film, because I was at least curious about his history and his motivations.
Unfortunately, after Hannah’s exposition dump, I kind of tuned out.
Kaycee and Deacon – I don’t know if these two were meant to be comic relief, but they were just annoying and should have been cut entirely.
The FBI / CIA Interlude – I didn’t need this – we bring in agents from the CIA and FBI to look into the case and it just slows the pacing down to a crawl. I did not care about any of them and just wanted to get back to Lou’s story.
Very Little Action – This may not be totally fair to the script, but when a story cribs this heavily on Liam Neeson’s Taken, it sets certain expectations in a reader’s mind. One of those expectations is the inclusion of exciting action scenes… which this script did not deliver on.
In fact, it seemed to be purposefully ignoring all attempts to give us some action. Like when Lou catches the two Men in the forest by surprise and just ties them up and leaves them, or when Hannah steps on a tripwire and… a tape deck hits her in the head.
Subverting expectations can be a good thing, but, above all else, you need to tell a compelling story. This one seemed to subvert expectations for no narrative reason, and it left us with a script which primarily features two women trudging through the woods slowly, rather than a tense race to save a kidnapped child from a monster.
Want EARLY access to our videos, uploads, and movie/script reviews? Members get them FIRST! Follow this link to our Discussion Forum.