Dark Matter

  Media

© 2018 by Dark Matter Media LLC

 
where creatives control
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Logline: During the strangest of happenings, a unique friendship will blossom.

Dark Matter Review

 

Overall Impression:

The Peculiar World in Which We Live is a paranormal coming of age story with a thrilling finale.  Think Ghost meets The Sixth Sense.  While Caleb, the reluctant hero, is at times listless to the point of being boring, Peculiar World authentically captures modern teen angst.  After a slow Act I, and despite a few gaps in narrative logic, the story gains steam and finishes very strong with some great twists down the home stretch.

What We Found Most Effective:

 

The overall story structure is well thought through, but what stood out even more is the clear and compelling emotional goal and through-line.  Even though Caleb is occasionally difficult to root for (because he is extremely introverted and having difficulty engaging with the world), the strong emotional character development fills the gap and helps bond the audience with Caleb and keeps us invested in his outcome.

What We Found Least Effective

 

The big event (i.e., the catalyst that starts Act II and sends Caleb on his journey), really doesn’t arrive until page 38, when Caleb learns that Chloe is stuck “in between” due to an unresolved (albeit unknown) issue.  And even then, the tangible goal is more Chloe’s than it is Caleb’s.  With Act I extending as long as it does, the audience feels somewhat adrift while we're waiting to learn what Caleb's quest will be.

 

Suggestions For Improvement:

Big Picture Suggestions

  • Caleb needs a clear tangible goal, and it needs to kick us into Act II somewhere around page 15-20.  The closest thing we identify as Caleb’s tangible goal is his desire to help Chloe resolve her issue and push through to the next stage of the afterlife.  While that is a great aspect of the script, we’d love to see something that more directly (and more tangibly) impacts Caleb.

  • What is Deville’s motivation?  Money?  Is he simply a psychopath?  In our view, the best villains are motivated by something plausible.

 

  • Caleb is passive through much of the script, and often negative or apathetic.  Those characteristics certainly fit the overall story structure, but it leaves the audience feeling indifferent toward him at times.  Consider giving him at least one redeeming quality – something to show the audience the he is capable of being a great soul, and truly worth our emotional investment.

  • We loved The Man in Black, and think you can get even more out of having death as a character.  Since so much of the script deals abstractly with near death experiences, we'd love to learn more about death's role, rules and attitude in this world you've created.  What does he/she/it have to say?  Why does death appear to act to help Caleb?  Why is death coming for Deville?  Does death take a moral position on Deville's actions (if so, why now - Deville has been an assassin for years)?  There are a lot of great places to go with this character.

 

Odds & Ends

  • Pg. 1. Way to start with a bang.  You’ve already piqued our interest in Deville’s story.

  • Pg. 2-9. While we do like the suspense and mystery you build up around what happened to Caleb, the flashback sequence is on the long side.  You do a great job of packing in a lot of backstory, but we wonder if there is a better mechanism for allowing the backstory to play out through present action?  As it is, Caleb is passive throughout this sequence – he is literally sitting in a chair recalling events.  Juxtaposed against the opening scene of torture and death, the flashback feels lengthy.

  • Pg. 11. It seems a little off that Dr. Griffin’s idea for getting Caleb to do something social is to go to the movies by himself, that actually seems like a pretty solitary activity.

  • Pg. 14. The action entry is “Abby thinks.”  You might consider replacing this with something that gives the actor a little more to work with.  Perhaps she taps her pen on her notepad, fidgets with her hair, rubs her eyes, etc.

  • Pg. 17. Typo. “Just try to keep you’re excitement in check.”

  • Pg. 23. Deville’s interaction with the school principal takes some of the gravitas off his bad guy persona.  We were feeling impressed/anxious about this cold blooded killer, but the fact that he even needs to go to the high school principal for information, let alone that he gets shut down by the principal, really undermines his tough guy image.

  • Pg. 28. Interesting twist – definitely didn’t see that coming!

  • Pg. 34. Typo. “Nothing to difficult…”

  • Pg. 41-42. We love the dynamic of the ethereal Madam Zelda being interviewed by hard-nosed detective Vanstein.

  • Pg. 43. There appears to be a missing scene heading after Abby’s first dialogue entry, before Chloe says “So, what’d ya think?”

  • Pg. 54. Typo. “Frits”

  • Pg. 58. We’re enjoying Chloe’s dose of puckish mischief, it’s a nice counterpart to Caleb’s morose angst.

  • Pg. 63-68. Chloe possessing people is fun, but the initial portion of the zap zone scene is too long. 

  • Pg. 72. Interesting choice by Caleb to reveal his connection with Chloe to Gillian, we like it!

  • Pg. 79. We think it would help if you could include some playable action for when Chloe is affected by the memories of the people she possesses.  As it is, we’re told that she is experiencing their memories, but there is nothing to show to us what is happening – for the viewer, Chloe would basically just be sitting there doing nothing.

  • Pg. 80. We don’t like that Caleb runs away after Gillian is stabbed with a needle.  We understand that Caleb isn’t the archetypal warrior hero, but he is still the hero of this story – he shouldn’t run away from the damsel in distress!

  • Pg. 83. We don’t buy that Abby would let Caleb go with Jack.  She would definitely keep Caleb by her side.

  • Pg. 89. Interesting reveal of the Caleb/Chloe accident.  So, Chloe is at fault in the accident, because she was speeding, right?

  • Pg. 89-94. The script has great tension and energy through the climactic sequence.  Great work!

  • Pg. 95. Deville has a gun, right? He shot Jack, so why not shoot Caleb too?

  • 97. Nice work on revealing the Man In Black as death.  We like the twist and think you had just about the right amount of foreshadowing.

  • Pg. 106.  A good, hearty ending.  Way to tie it all up with a nice little bow.

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