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Movie premise - What do you think?

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    Movie premise - What do you think?

    "A mentally ill man returns home from the asylum and suspects that his brother is poisoning their mother in his absence. "

    I don't know what the point of me posting this is. I have been stuck on the screen play for a while now and starting to think there is no way to get unstuck. So I just thought I'd post this.

    Also, for whatever it's worth, I want the ending to be the two brothers going hunting, just like they did when they were children, but the brother pre-emptively shoots the mentally ill brother at the moment in which he turns around to tell him about a buck he sees some distance in front of him.
    Last edited by Rehdarh; 12-14-2016, 01:44 AM.

    #2
    so hero dies?
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      #3
      The "poison" themes have obviously been done before - so has every story and every premise - so it's about the execution of the story line, exposition of the characters and the building/culmination of suspense.

      I'd make the characters very close, which ought to make the decision of shooting someone personally heartbreaking. Of course, there's a need to show why poisoning is taking place and what a mentally disturbed/incapacitated individual can do about it in the court of law or by a common sense approach such as contacting the police.

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        #4
        Originally posted by Josh Bass View Post
        so hero dies?
        The hero (or protagonist) dies in lots of films. Sometimes it's a tragedy; sometimes it's the only way to accomplish their ultimate goal (Gladiator, for example).
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          #5
          yeah but usually he/she still "wins" even if he/she dies. His ending sounds like villain wins. Which is more of a modern horror trope, to me.
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            #6
            Originally posted by DLD View Post
            The "poison" themes have obviously been done before - so has every story and every premise - so it's about the execution of the story line, exposition of the characters and the building/culmination of suspense.

            I'd make the characters very close, which ought to make the decision of shooting someone personally heartbreaking. Of course, there's a need to show why poisoning is taking place and what a mentally disturbed/incapacitated individual can do about it in the court of law or by a common sense approach such as contacting the police.
            The motivation I had for Mike poisoning his mother is that he saw it as an opportunity to persuade his dying mother to sign over the family net worth to his name now that their father had already died (which is what caused Kyle, the other brother, to become mentally ill in the first place -- this isn't apart of the film but rather a backstory I would include somehow) and Kyle, who was assumed to take over the will, shouldn't anymore because he is sick.

            Why didn't Mike just kill both parents before hand? Because the death of two parents would look suspicious and because Kyle was healthy at the time when his father was alive, and thus he would have gotten the estate. I feel this "works" - but there is something about this backstory that I feel is just too complicated. But who knows, maybe it's possible to make this clear and sensible to the audience.


            I agree with your point about depicting the two brother's as close. I was going to depict Kyle in the last scene as finally happy while he is hunting with his brother. The idea is that his mother was actually sick, and he just believed that his brother was poisoning her (albeit with some justification). So with his brother no longer the enemy, and the death of his mother as kind of "over with" (it was painful watching her die) the audience sees Kyle finally healthy and very in the present moment while hunting. Only to be shot. But I was also playing with the idea of the audience not knowing this, and thinking, along with Mike, that Kyle might actually kill him - but the idea is that when there is in fact a buck, Mike knows he wasn't turning to kill him, and that he was actually interested in just hunting.

            How I am to arrive at this I don't know, I have been at a standstill for almost all these questions.

            The reason I had for him not contacting the police is because he is on a probationary period from the institution, and he is afraid of reporting any "crazy" ideas to the police/to his psychiatrist he is required to see regularly. This would require me to make the way Mike is poisoning his mother be kind of bizarre to justify Kyle's reasons for not reporting on them. I have in mind that Kyle believes Mike is poisoning his mother by adding mercury in her tea every evening; thus causing her "dementia" and ailing state.

            The best,

            Reh

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              #7
              Originally posted by Josh Bass View Post
              yeah but usually he/she still "wins" even if he/she dies. His ending sounds like villain wins. Which is more of a modern horror trope, to me.
              In one version of the film, the brother is not in fact poisoning his mother -- it was all in Kyle's head, albeit justifiably. So when Mike preemptively shoots his brother, it's not so much an act of the villain winning as it is him instinctively protecting himself.

              It's not clear how Mike finds out about Kyle's "suspicions" of killing their mother. I am trying to connect the therapist into the story to make it work. Say, the therapist, unsure whether Kyle is crazy or telling the truth, investigates the matter himself and in so doing he tells Mike of his brother's suspicions.
              Why doesn't the therapist just call the police?
              Why doesn't Mike just tell his brother, now that he's heard from the therapist, that the "mercury" he is putting in their mother's tea is in fact medicine for the dying mother who neglects to take it?

              I don't know!

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                #8
                I'd make "poisoning" as some sort of an intentional prescription pill overdose and not something like arsenic (and old lace).

                I'd also make mother as someone really suffering from her ailments, making her overdose almost inevitable.

                Just suggestions, mind you. The point of your plot ought to be about the brothers relationship but the whole family milieu can also add to the conflict setup and its resolution. The question then becomes whether you want a thriller or more of a relationship drama.

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                  #9
                  Originally posted by DLD View Post
                  I'd make "poisoning" as some sort of an intentional prescription pill overdose and not something like arsenic (and old lace).

                  I'd also make mother as someone really suffering from her ailments, making her overdose almost inevitable.

                  Just suggestions, mind you. The point of your plot ought to be about the brothers relationship but the whole family milieu can also add to the conflict setup and its resolution. The question then becomes whether you want a thriller or more of a relationship drama.
                  Why do you think that it should be switched to prescription overdose? I certainly open to seeing if that could open some doors for me somehow and get me unstuck.
                  I am still unsure if I want the overdose to be intentional...I feel I can make the entire movie seem like it is, thus drawing suspense. But I don't know - it's not that I think this is a bad idea for a movie i just cannot seem to iron out the knots/develop it!

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                    #10
                    Originally posted by Barry_Green View Post
                    The hero (or protagonist) dies in lots of films. Sometimes it's a tragedy; sometimes it's the only way to accomplish their ultimate goal (Gladiator, for example).
                    'Man on Fire'. Great, great ending.

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                      #11
                      First and foremost, I'd advise you to decide on what genre this is supposed to be. Because the genre will dictate in what direction the plot will go and where the dramatic emphasis will be. If you just sort of meander trying to make up a plot without deciding on the genre, odds are that it will end up a kind of mess, I'm afraid. Try to feel your way forward - what is it that excites you most about this scenario and premise. Is it the thrill of the dark deed, the mechanics of the crime and psychology of the criminal, the drama of the relationship between the brothers, the tragedy of the brother unable to save his mother or understand his own brother.

                      Once you've figured out the genre, you will establish the parameters of everything: how much backstory to provide (more for relationship drama), where to focus the audience attention, how to play with audience expectations and so on. It will provide stuctural elements and dictate a lot of what follows and allow your ideas to develop in fruitful ways toward an actual goal, rather than being adrift and meandering.

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                        #12
                        Originally posted by Rehdarh View Post
                        Why do you think that it should be switched to prescription overdose? ...
                        It seems like the "modern" way of doing it, since the crime labs would be able to find a more exotic poison and trace it to the source.

                        And read what OldCorpse wrote just above.

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                          #13
                          Don't have any advise but you might take a look at Jon Josts "Slow Moves", has a hunting theme in it . This filmmaker has made truly independent films his whole life. I find it useful to look at avant garde filmmakers when you're blocked. I don't think its cleaning the pallet of Hollywood films, just reminding one of the possibilities.

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                            #14
                            Thanks a lot for your input guys. I might have to abandon the idea, and maybe a significant amount of the plot will return but in a different form with a new burst of inspiration

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                              #15
                              i liked your double mind**** idea...bro thinks other is poisoning mom, turns out all in his head. although the double twist thing his itself a trope now...I have seen a number of films that climax with a big reveal followed by another reveal that the first was a lie/mistake/not real/etc. to the point where a viewer might come to expect it, especially with certain movie genres.
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