Today’s script has marketable written all over it, and it was highly touted, even by non-vampire fans. But does its second half live up to its first?

Genre: Vampire/Thriller
Premise: (from writer) After their medical rescue aircraft crash lands above the Arctic Circle, a terminally ill flight navigator must lead the crew to survival in the face of plunging temperatures, the impending arrival of 6 months of permanent darkness – and a horde of vampires taking refuge in a nearby shipwreck.
About: This is…. Amateur Week SMACKDOWN – 5 scripts, all of which have been pre-vetted by the SRF (Scriptshadow Reader Faithful), vie for the Top Prize, an official endorsement from whoever the guy is who runs this site. Good luck to all!
Writer: Eye Gore (at least that’s what it says on the title page)
Details: 95 pages


Well, if there’s a script this week that had the best chance of being purchased based on the logline alone, this would be it. We have the eternally marketable vampires in the mix. We have a contained situation. We have a spooky Arctic backdrop. I’d say you’d be a rotten producer not to at least consider this screenplay.

As for me, I’m torn. I love set-ups like this. I love planes crash-landing in cold desolate places, crews stranded in the middle of nowhere (as evidenced by my love of The Grey). I’m just not sure how I feel about vampires sinking their fangs into this mix. There’s a certain lack of irony or any sort of logical connection at all when you think about it. Vampires in the middle of the Arctic? I mean, I could imagine werewolves. Some sort of deep-north wolf-were-hybrid you can only find in snowy places. That could be cool. But that ain’t the case. The only real logical way to connect vampires to a ship in the Arctic is if it would have been the Ship of the Demeter, which carried Dracula. Then again, what the hell do I know about all this? And in the end, it all comes down to compelling characters and a compelling story anyway, so let’s see if Mr. Eye Gore achieved that.

Ship of the Dead starts off a long time ago with a ship that picked up a couple of sick folks floating around in a raft. One of those sick folks turned out to be VERY sick, as in “Vampire” sick. That’s, like, the worst kind of sick. Since you’re DEAD.

So this Robert Pattinson wannabe starts biting everybody in sight, turning them all into vampires before the ship is compromised and drifts off up towards the Arctic. Vampires are really good at sucking blood, but apparently terrible navigators.

Cut to present day, where a U.S. military plane flying near the Atlantic can’t handle the extreme cold and goes crashing into the ice. Luckily, these guys are a lot better flyers than those vampires were navigators, as they’re able to save everyone during the ditch. But this ain’t no Flight of The Phoenix. There’s no fixing this plane up. It’s dunzos. And since their S.O.S. signal apparently didn’t go out, nobody knows they’re stranded here. Well, that sucks.

Lucky for them, a mile down the snowy road is an old ship stuck in the ice. If you look closely, you’d notice this is the SAME ship our Twilight fans were sailing in. Uh-oh. Thing is, it’s really cold out here, and our guys need wood for fire. So they have no choice but to go say hi to Captain Vampire and his crew. They don’t know there are vampires yet, of course, since there are no such things as vampires. But they’re about to find out that fairytales do come true sometimes.

There are a ton of characters here, but Lieutenant navigator Reno turns out to be, well, our navigator. Reno’s had a tough life. His kid and his wife died, he didn’t graduate flight school, and he’s also got this really rare blood disease that’s probably going to kill him within the year. As a result, he’s not exactly organizing karaoke nights for the crew. He’s the human equivalent of a mumblecore movie.

One person who no likey Reno is the always agitated co-pilot, Hawke. After pulling in a surprise 35 million at the box office this weekend, you’d think Hawke would be a cheery dude (wait– this isn’t Ethan Hawke, we’re talking about?). But plane crashes tend to bring out the worst in people, and he doesn’t like that Mr. Don’t Talk To No One is in charge of getting them out of this situation alive.

Eventually, after a couple of wood runs, the long-gestating vampires attack our flight crew and start turning THEM into vampires, a situation that is so sucky it bums pretty much everyone out. And to make matters worse, the Polar Night is coming, which is like a 6 straight months of night deal wherein the only benefit is a non-stop Late Night talk show marathon. Unfortunately, before the debate can begin on who’s better, Jimmy Fallon or Craig Ferguson, the vampires leave the safety of their ship and attack the plane, hellbent on not leaving until they can officially call this place Vampire Land.

Ship of the Dead was a bit like reading a political article. At first you’re just trying to figure out what’s going on. Then it becomes surprisingly interesting. Then as you get to the end, you’re a little let down, wondering why the heck you clicked on a political article in the first place.

The first thing that threw me was I didn’t know Reno was our main character until about 20 pages in. So many characters are introduced during the plane crash that he got lost in the mix. There’s no rule that says you can’t do this, of course. In a chaotic plane crash, people will be introduced chaotically. But I just don’t like to be a fifth of the way through the script and still unsure who I’m supposed to be relating to and rooting for.

The good news is, once I was able to discern who all the characters were, “Ship” got a big burst of wind. I thought the setup was clever, with this Vampire ship being their only lifeline (needing it for fire), and the conflict that emerged from that (vampires attack!), while derivative, was still compelling. When you think about it, if you can set up a compelling conflict in your story, you’ve taken care of most of the story. Scenes will emerge naturally from that conflict and all you have to do is write them.

With that being said, once we hit the third act, I was feeling a bit exhausted. The vampire attacks were getting repetitive, and there seemed to be very little character development to keep us invested on an emotional level. Reno’s special blood disease that killed the vampires was a nice twist, but it was so forced that it never sat right. Reno has a dead son and wife. He’s a flight school drop-out. He’s supposedly responsible for this crash. And on top of all that, he’s dying with a rare blood disease. I’d wipe out all the other backstory and focus exclusively on this character who – coming into this crash – knows he’s dying because of this rare blood disease. That way it’ll seem more natural when his disease actually ends up saving him.

I’m going to be honest. I’m not entirely sure why the second half of the script didn’t work for me. At first, I thought it might’ve been because it was sloppy. I see this a lot. Writers spend so much time working from the top down, that the second half of their scripts inadvertently get 1/5 (to as much as 1/10) as much attention. So a script that feels deftly crafted in the first half, all of a sudden feels sloppy and rushed in the second.

Then again, this structure is built to descend into madness. At first, everyone’s organized and focused, but as we get to the end, since everyone’s dying, it’s more of a mad scramble for life. There’s less talking, and more trying to stave off vampires. So you could argue it’s messy by design. Then again, I remember Aliens, which is constructed in a similar fashion, and Ripley always has a plan. No matter how crazy shit gets, she’s always got goals (get the remote ship down here, find and save Newt), so amongst the chaos, there’s still some order. I’m not sure I ever felt order in this third act, and for that reason, I mentally checked out.

With that said, there is something here. Without question, if I had to pick a script as a producer to go with this week, it would be this one. It just hits all those necessary market-ready sweet spots. So maybe there’s someone out there who wants to do the work and guide this one to a script sale. But as it stands, despite its potential, it was a little too messy for me.

[ ] what the hell did I just read?
[x] wasn’t for me
[ ] worth the read
[ ] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned: Beware too much clipped sentence writing (“CAPTAIN’S there. Waiting. Directing. Wishing he had a wife instead of a brigantine.” “The door CREAKING closed. Turly at the table, holding on. For balance. Then grabbing a FACE, yanking it. SLAPPING it.”) It shortens your sentences which keeps the page count lower, but too much of it and your prose loses its natural flow. The first act of this script has way too much clipped sentence writing.

What I learned 2: Don’t over-backstory your character. Too much backstory, though you may THINK adds more depth to your character, actually confuses or detracts from him. You don’t need multiple tragedies or sicknesses or issues. You only need the backstory that’s relevant to your present-day story. So in this case, with our antagonists being blood-sucking vampires, all you need to bring up is your protagonist dying from a rare blood disorder.

Why this script isn’t ready for a script sale: The second half needs to have the same commitment as the first half did. Too many writers spend all their time making their first half (or first act) amazing, then get sloppy. Readers can spot a drop in quality immediately, so don’t think for a second you can get away with this.

  • Poe_Serling


    I’m happy to see that this script has finally docked at the SS port. It felt like it was adrift in the Amateur Offerings Weekend waters forever.

    Though everyone and their mother pointed out the overuse of ‘ing,’ I just tried to go with the flow and dived in headfirst with the stylistic choice made by the writer.



    >>A supersonic read at 94 pages (about an hour of my time). The writer’s descriptive lines and page layout kept things humming right along for me. Solid dialogue (except maybe for those couple of lines about not wanting to be a vampire bitch or some such thing). Heroic/sympathetic main character in Reno.

    >>After the plane crash, the story morphed into a pretty exciting contained thriller in my opinion. Basically one set: the tube of the wrecked LC-130 with the occasional trek across the slab of ice to the bow of the brigantine.

    >>A real sense of urgency with the fading sun and the arrival of Polar Night, the need for firewood to keep warm, etc.

    >>How the opening on the masted vessel mirrored the ending on the sub. A nice play on past vs. present, old-fashioned vs.modern, and so on.


    >>Technical expertise regarding the ship, airplane, sub. Whether it was accurate or not I can only take a guess, but it sure sounded like the writer knew what he was talking about.

    >> The way the odds kept shifting to the vampires’advantage as the story went on, and with the hint that it was about to happen again on the rescue sub.

    >>The title of the project – very Hammeresque in nature. Plus, it worked on more than just one level, especially in regard to the different modes of transportation used throughout the course of the script.


    >>A long roster of crewman introduced in the first ten pages or so. Here you could always use The Thing 1982 script device and have a quick character list after the title page… this way it cuts down on the dreaded character confusion later on in the story.

    >>Even though it sounded realistic, I got lost with all the airplane mumbo jumbo as it was falling from the sky during the opening pages. Perhaps more images of what is happening and less chitchat about it might help.

    >>Finally, the ‘ing’ thing again… I believe I read where the writer is taking care of that… so problem solved. ;-)


    One of my favorite amateur selections so far this year. An inventive spin on the flight crew of the The Thing From Another World facing off against the kin of Dracula (and other vampire lore) at an Ice Station Zebra locale.

    Thanks, Eye-Gore, for sharing your uniquely ‘monocular’ vision of bloodsuckers
    with us. ;-)

    • Palangi

      Thanks! I really appreciate the effort you put into your analysis and comments. All good points you’ve made, and I will certainly consider them in my re-write. And, yeah, the “ing” thing is gone. :) And the note that too many characters up front, too quickly, will also get a hard look. Thanks again!

  • Tschwenn

    This script did not work for me. But I found the general idea and location tempting. I think there’s potential here. However, it needs quite a bit of work. Here are my suggestions:

    1) give them a deadline/ticking time-bomb. Such as: a rescue ship is coming in 70 minutes. So they MUST survive the vampires for the next 70 minutes in order to be rescued. But there supplies are dwindling and the vampires are figuring ways to get at them. They need small goals to reach/scenarios – to keep working both against the vampires AND also to help themselves prep for the arrival of the rescue ship.

    – I would also not let them be aware of the vampires right away. Perhaps one of them disappears/dies (but the reader knows they were attacked). Then mysterious shit starts happening on their ship – THEN reveal the vampires.

    -I suggest that the writer take a closer look at Alien and The Thing – in terms of structure and pacing.

    2) cut the comments about the dead wife & son. They’re out of place. Seems forced on us by the writer. What do they actually contribute to the story? I would say nothing.

    3) Page 19: forced conflict regarding the argument over who is in control (it goes on for way too long). Plus, these are professionals: they should not be running from control – they should WANT to be in control! Watching/reading characters running from control is not interesting for the reader/viewer.

    4) Page 26: “Mention my wife or my son again and I’ll personally feed you to the polar bears” is such a ridiculous line. Cut it.

    5) Page 31: If they are in such a hurry, why keep reading then? This script lacks urgency.

    6) Page 34: I don’t think calling them ‘vampires’ makes any sense in this story. Call them the “undead” or something else. They are not vampires.

    7) Page 35: typo: should be “known”

    8) Page 35: Seems rather late and irrelevant to mention that Reno & Flick have known each other since high school. Seems too coincidental.

    9) I find it problematic that they call the beasts ‘vampires’. How can they know at this point what they are? I don’t think it adds anything by labeling them.

    10) I’m noticing that all this script really consists of is arguing – yet it lacks any real developing conflict. They need to have scenarios where they’re working towards something and coming up against adversity. They need to be in a vice and have it slowly taking hold of them.
    -One way to accomplish this would be for them to split into 3 groups: one is helping the wounded, one is working to keep the beasts at bay, and one is working to communicate with the rescue ship.

    11) The writer uses many of the same terms too much: CREAKING, PENUMBRA OF DARKNESS, etc. – they lose power the more they’re used. And it indicates the writer is rather lazy.

    12) Besides Doc, none of the characters felt unique or distinct. He’s the only one with dialogue befitting his character. Everyone else seemed too similar.

    • Palangi

      Thanks. I’ll add these to the mix. The re-write has begun and I’ll certainly consider your points and how to work with them in the best way. I appreciate your time in crafting your comments. Really, I do. :)

  • Scarface(withoutthescar)

    In my mind, Craig Ferguson is funnier than Jimmy Fallon – his use of quips if on such a high level, on parallel with Russell Brand, and Craig is quite good at stand-up – if you don’t notice, he improvs a lot on his show which is quite impressive because he keeps it funny the whole way through. Unlike Jimmy Fallon, I believe, because most of the show is scripted and the jokes sometimes are forced and they only result in laughter at home because the audience is laughing which forces you to laugh.

    Two top comedians – Craig Ferguson and Russell Brand.

    • Mike.H

      Fallon is taking “the chin’s” spot soon…. and his pay will prolly double or triple. Seth Myers will slide in the old spot vacated by ‘Jimmy… um…. it pays to network. :)

      • IgorWasTaken

        “and his pay will prolly double or triple”??? Have you followed what NBC’s been doing to budgets?

        And so, maybe they said to Fallon, “We can’t give you a raise, but how about we give you The Tonight Show?”

      • klmn

        Look for Leno to land at Fox.

    • GeneralChaos

      Ferguson – great at improv.
      Fallon – can’t even get through scripted jokes without laughing.

    • IgorWasTaken

      Unfortunately, I think Ferguson being better than Fallon is akin to Betamax being better than VHS.

  • William Mandell

    “if I had to pick a script as a producer to go with this week, it would be this one” Does that mean he’s already read all the scripts? Or just conceptually?

    • Abdul Fataki

      Based on the loglines.

      • William Mandell

        I hope that’s the case, my script is up Thursday!

      • William Mandell

        “I am Jack’s sigh of relief”
        I sent him a new draft, but I don’t know which draft he’s going to review. I’m hoping it’s the new one.

    • Gregory Mandarano

      Read ALL the scripts? Aint nobody got time for that.

      • William Mandell

        No, I’m wondering from that comment, if Carson has already read all of the scripts. Or if he just said this is the best choice conceptually.

        • JakeBarnes12

          He’s saying it’s the most marketable idea, the one a producer would most likely go for based on its central idea and might be willing to help develop though the script still needs work.

          I’m willing to bet the vampire writer gets a few producer reads out of this.

          We (writing partners and I) had a script with a few (funny!) scenes with a professor in his 60s. Our manager told us to cut the character because, and I quote, “no one wants to read about an old guy.”

          That’s the mentality you’re up against.

          This is why I gotta shake my head when some idealistic young guy who’s never dealt with any insiders starts mentioning properties based on books or by established writers and argues if it’s good enough even though it’s about seventeenth-century goat herders, there’ll still be interest.

          Dream on, man.

          Unless the goats are being attacked by werewolves… now we’re talking.

          Anyway, good luck with your Thursday read — WWII, right?

          • William Mandell

            Yeah, I hear you. This is a pretty cool little vamp spec he’s got here. I didn’t get to finish it, but I liked what I had read so far.

            My script is “Fortune Cookie”

          • JakeBarnes12

            Your one sounds intriguing too — I’ll try to read much as I can.

          • William Mandell

            I’ve got a new draft if you want. I’m not sure which draft Carson’s going to review. I sent him the new one, but I haven’t heard back from him about it.

          • GeneralChaos

            No one wants to ready about an old guy? Wow. You can’t even be old when the profession calls for it. “Can’t he be a 20 something professor? Maybe he’s the Doogie Howser of the academic world.” “Wait… people don’t know Doogie Howser. He’s like that young guy on Big Bang Theory that Sheldon was in competiton with.”

          • JakeBarnes12

            It’s Logan’s Run — life ends at 30!

  • carsonreeves1

    Yeah, I felt like the love story came out of nowhere, which is one of the big reasons the second half (and third act in particular) felt thrown-together.

    • Palangi

      I agree, as others have noted this too. Thanks for the observation. :)

  • TruckDweller

    There’s a ton of potential here. The writing needs to be cleaned up, swapping passive to active voice and allowing certain sections to flow, but if you push through, eventually the “ings” and clipped sentences begin to fade away. Which speaks to the story – fun and engaging and super produce-able.

    I had a few issues:

    1) This script suffered from a common issue among horror scripts: The characters have confusing/unrealistic reactions to the vampires. Okay, first, they accept right away that there are vampires without questioning the sanity of the group. Second, Guns is bit. So if they know vampire-lore, why are they ignoring the obvious?

    2) Flick seems to be there solely to be a love story in act 3. This is potentially the sole of your film, the emotional core. Build this from the beginning. Give us clues. A reason for her to be there such as requesting this assignment.

    3) Tease us with what is attacking them. Give the audience tastes but not a full reveal until later. And when you do the reveal, keep in mind, these are vampires that have survived on nothing for an exceptionally long time. What does that do to them and how can that make this edgier?

    I would recommend you consider getting your friends together and doing a reading. I think hearing your script aloud may help you find what we readers have to fight through to get into the story. Basically, it’s the difference between watching something that’s happening and being there with the action. Put us in the scene, not the process of sitting in a theater. Does that makes sense?

    Anyway, lots of luck. There should be a home for this project when you get it in shape.

    • JakeBarnes12

      Did a reading once with friends, including a friend of a friend who was in Cali visiting.

      Guy’s a teacher so we figured, he’ll do a decent reading and gave him the main role.

      Turned out when he read aloud the guy had a massive stutter. He massacred all the snappy lines we’d spent months crafting until we had to stop him and pretend we were rotating roles every few pages.


    • Palangi

      Thanks! Your point about Flick and her “function,” if you will, becoming evident so late in the script is well made. Will consider pulling it in earlier, perhaps building some relationship tension out earlier in the story.

  • Gregory Mandarano

    Everyone over the past few weeks has had some great input.on this script, but theres one thing which hasn’t been mentioned that I think would bring this to the next level. The vampires seem to be mindless beasts. Why.not have a ringleader with a superior intelligence that intends on using the people to hitch a ride back to civiliza tion. Having a real antagonist might add that something thats missing, other than higher urgency.

    • NajlaAnn

      Great idea – creates a lot more suspense.

    • James Inez

      I also think it should be stated why the vampires haven’t left in a hundred years or however long it was. If I were one of those vampiric dudes, I would have went to Europe with Brad Pitt and Kirsten Dunst.

    • Pheximo

      I Am Legend comes to mind, but the debate still rages there as to whether those monsters were zombies or vampires. i say that if it drinks blood and sun kills it, there’s nothing else it could be but a vampire.

      • Gregory Mandarano

        Youre forgetting politicians and bankers.

  • ripleyy

    The oddest thing is that this screenplay SHOULD work but evidently it doesn’t, and I do think that it comes down to Reno and his disease – the vampires, the situation, even the plot work but it comes down to character – not story – this time around.

    Honestly, if I had to do a rewrite, I would do two things: One is that I would merge both Reno’s blood and the Vampire plot into one: He’s a vampire, he doesn’t know it, and as the fight goes on, Reno changes, and now there is internal conflict: He’s turning, and the people he cares about around him is the only way to help him survive, both metaphorically and for the sake of the plot.

    That isn’t for anybody, so for the second choice is that I would maybe integrate the vampires into the group and one-by-one they crew die and Reno has to find out why.

    Thirdly, though controversially, I would swap: Vampires want to escape the arctic, but they have to kill the humans, and they aren’t going to give-up that easily.

    • Palangi

      Thanks, Ripleyy. I’ll re-examine Reno in light of your comments. Interestingly, I did give thought to him being a vampire, but struggled far too long on how to integrate that (this all led to the notion that his blood was toxic, etc…) Thanks again!

      • ripleyy

        Yeah, the choice of making him a vampire would be good but it would then turn into more of a drama than a horror, though you could always Ginger Snap it. :) Hope to see more of your work soon on here!

  • Citizen M

    There was some good action writing. I liked the increasingly bad odds as the survivors get fewer and the vampire numbers grow.

    I thought the Hawke/Reno confrontations were a bit artificial. They were dragging up issues from the past we were told about, not shown. I would prefer if the final break was an incident we witnessed onscreen.

    Personally i did not like the indefinite ending and I thought it dragged on too long. It’s better to end quickly. You don’t want the audience hanging on to their jackets, waiting to sprint down the aisle as soon as it ends. You want them a bit stunned, reading the credits as they assimilate what they have just seen. But admittedly it does set up an exciting sequel.

    A big problem for me was the treatment of arctic darkness. It is not a sudden line of cutoff as described with the “penumbra of darkness”. That happens on the airless moon. On earth the atmosphere glows even though the sun is below the horizon for a couple of hours of dawn and twilight before sunrise and after sunset. Again, I suppose it’s writer’s license, like some of the details in one of the Saturday scripts. Drama vs verisimilitude. Always a bit of a conundrum.

    • Palangi

      Will definitely look again at the ending (as well as your other poiints) – dragging on is not what I’d intended. Thanks!

  • Palangi

    I (a.k.a. Eye Gore) certainly appreciate all the comments and suggestions on this script. Thanks big to Carson. All good points from everyone. Will certainly consider the points on the second half, character “crunch” of too many characters, too soon, et al. What I appreciate most is that constructive criticism is given, points are made, and it’s all helpful. Thank you all very much!

    • Stank

      Hey Eye Gore,

      I wrote a similar type of script (a bunch of people are stranded and then they get killed off). I faced a similar problem you do in this script, it’s hard to introduce characters one by one, when a big group is getting stranded at once. While there is no easy way, there is a way that makes it more clear than the path you’ve chosen:

      By introducing the character to us a few minutes before the plane crash, we will hear the clear voices of each of the characters a little. In the plane crash everyone’s voice blends because they’re all in “oh shit” mode, but if we meet the characters just before their voices will be more unique and memorable.

      It’s what I did in my script and it worked for me. Carnahan did it in THE GREY and it worked for him. Just something to consider.

      Great concept, fun read, keep up the good work. Cheers.

    • Citizen M

      Maybe one guy could scavenge the ship captain’s cutlass as a souvenir, then have to use it for real. Give you more fight options than just shooting flares.

  • Palangi

    Thanks – good points all. The re-write is already in the works (especially the “ing” thing). And the relationship angle, too.

    • klmn

      Also, you might want to reduce your use of underlining, caps, and bold face. It gets a bit annoying.

      The good news is this is a great concept. With another rewrite this could be a home run.

  • rosemary

    Good Review

  • Jonathan Soens

    I like the idea of making the crash site (and plane) uninhabitable so that the ship is the only available shelter.

    I admit I haven’t read it yet (though I’ve got some time set aside later in the week to sit down with a handful of scripts I’ve been wanting to read), but as I was reading Carson’s description, I found myself having the same thought. Why give the guys their own shelter and force them to make “firewood runs” to the ship when you can just deprive them of any other shelter so they are forced to take the whole ship?

    I’m curious to find out if the script plays with any parallels between the two groups. If our hero is supposed to be the navigator who is blamed for the plane crash, it would be interesting for the vampires to also have their own navigator who they still blame for their shipwreck.

    I look forward to reading it.

  • Sullivan

    I know this may be a trivial comment about format, but what’s with all the bold and underlining? If so much is bold and underlined, then nothing really is, if you know what I mean.

    • William Mandell

      Yeah, it was a little overdone.

  • FD

    I thought the whole snowy, darkness vampire attack thing was done quite well in 30 Days of Night.

  • Elaynee

    @Palangi – congrats!
    You doing a re-write? Like to consider these (nitpicking – just me!) points too? (Though sorry I only read to P34 – not a fan of zombies/horror.)
    1) Did I get it wrong, but the crew had just picked up a patient from a sub? Don’t the navy use choppers for that?
    2) If they were doing a medical evac, wouldn’t there be a full and larger medical crew?
    3) Were they really without any hope of rescue even if the SOS didn’t get relayed? They would have been expected at their destination at a specified time – if they didn’t make it, search parties would get sent out? Also, wouldn’t they have dropped off any radar tracking devices? Giving any search party a clue to their whereabouts?
    4) Would a medical evac doctor know about Reno’s medical condition? Surely Reno would be seeing some specialist? And if the navy knew, would he be permitted to fly?

  • blue439

    Okay this an amalgam of 30 Days of Night, The Grey, Aliens and a lot of other contained horror situations. Nothing wrong with that, but as Carson has pointed out, the characters are wanting. A perfect opportunity to set up the plane crew just before the crash and after the introductory flashback is wasted when the writer is too impatient and just jumps to the crash without giving us much at all about the characters. Throughout the piece there’s not much effort to flesh out the characters, most notably Flick, who being the only woman, should stand out in the crew, but is ignored until very late in the story. Reno’s backstory doesn’t work. He initially comes off as a teenage loner type, feeling sorry for himself, refusing to accept responsibility, then changes 180 degrees into a calm, rational leader. WTF? The blood disease, while clever, seems too easy a way to fight the vampires, like kryptonite for Superman. The vampires too, are a problem. They seem more like blood sucking zombies than vampires, more like animals. Just not very interesting antagonists. If the crew were fleshed out more as characters and if their individual personalities followed them as they became vampires this would fill out the vampires, but the original vampires seem like prototypical monsters with no discernible personalities.

    Biggest problem for me after the pretty good setup is the lack of goal for the crew. The writer has basically left no out for them — nothing to pursue to get them out of the fix they’re in. Gathering wood is just a temporary fix and doesn’t help in the long run. They’re basically passive — waiting to get rescued or eaten. The lack of goal becomes increasingly clear with the ticking clock of the sun getting lower and lower. Arguments become repetitive. Nothing new about the situation or characters is revealed in the second half except for the effect of Reno’s blood on the vampires.

    The clipped, progressive form becomes wearing to read over an entire screenplay, as if it was one long action sequence with no break. The repetition of the situation on the submarine at the end is clever, but again, repetitious without being satisfying — it’s a way of avoiding a real conclusion. This is also way too expensive and gory even for a horror film — it really couldn’t be made as written. Airplane crashes and submarines are easy to write but if you notice most horror films have commonplace settings because horror films are basically low budget films. The audience is dedicated but small so the budgets have to be also.

    The writing’s good, but the story and characters really need work.