top

Demonwarp
(The second draft screenplay)

Screenplay: John Carl Buechler, Jim Bertges, Bruce Akiyama


With the original draft of Demonwarp as bad as it was, it probably won't come as a surprise to just about anyone that the rewrite manages to be an improvement over the original. What will be surprising to many of its readers is that it manages to go beyond simply and instantly improving things with a few tweaks here and there. That's not to say it was rewritten to become a great screenplay, or even a good one - it still has a number of notable flaws in it. However, unlike with the previous screenplay, the flaws here are not ones that cause frustration or disgust in the reader. It's a screenplay that has a perfectly readable story - just not a story that overall is exceptional or original enough to linger in the mind afterwards. There are disposable razors and lighters - here is a disposable screenplay.

To its credit, the screenplay is written in a fairly engaging style. There are maybe only one or two pieces of advice written for the director, and these suggestions when read do not seriously alter what we've previously been picturing in our minds. The screenplay freely lets us picture the events that happen, giving every setting and every character just the right amount of description so that they become alive in our mind, without giving us any distracting redundant details. The unfolding story is briskly told, with each scene going on for just the right amount of time. Every scene also seemed to serve some purpose in advancing the story; I don't recall any unnecessary scenes. Well, come to think of it, there were those two bubbleheaded bimbos who appear in the middle of the story, and they only seem to be there to show off some breasts and to add to the story's total body count. Fortunately, that only takes a few pages to be completed before the movie gets back to business. And the scene could have been worse than it is; extra pages enclosed in the screenplay show that the bimbos originally were to have driven dozens of miles all the way into this wilderness just to take off their tops and go swimming. It was subsequently altered to the more plausible explanation that they were looking for marijuana plants.

Here and there are flashes of some good storytelling. One way that the screenplay intrigues the reader and keeps him turning the page is that the story almost always has one or two unanswered questions, questions coming out of events so mysterious that you are curious enough to want to know the answers to them. The climactic sequence - Jack entering the mysterious cave and finding out not only what's going on, but what is behind it all - is actually quite suspenseful, with various dangers popping out of a literally alien environment. However, its effects is somewhat diminished by the wrap-up, which isn't just the old sudden-shock!-oh-just-a-dream routine, but adds the almost as tired another-shock-immediately-afterwards!-oh-it-was-just-a-dream-within-a-dream routine. Additional bonus pages enclosed within the screenplay, however, reveal that originally after the big explosion the movie would ends literally seconds afterwards. I honestly can't say which ending is worse.

The biggest problem I had with the screenplay was that it constantly refuses to give the reader more than the bare essentials in areas where greater detail would actually be welcome. Though the group of youthful protagonists here are thankfully nothing like their stupid and sex-obsessed brethren in the original screenplay, there's little that really makes each them stand out or make them seem a lot different from one of their friends. While Crafton here does have a legitimate reason to be in the woods, nothing is really done with him apart from letting him add to the body count - he only seems to be there so Jack can eventually take his supply of dynamite. And though the screenplay has that good climax as well as a few reasonably tantalizing mysteries along the way, the heart of the screenplay up to that climax is not really that creative when you think about it. Up until about the last twenty pages, the unfolding story (when you remove those aforementioned secrets) is more or less just a simple variation of your typical slasher movie. You can tell beforehand which characters will die a long time before they actually do so, and many moments are slight variations or direct duplicates of what you typical find in these slasher movies.

These moments - and the rest of the movie for that matter- are competently written for what they are. In fact, this screenplay is constructed well enough so that it feels ready to be shot. As I said early on, it's just that the story in this screenplay gives us little that is original or exceptionally executed so that it really engages us. This is a screenplay that seems to be striving for mediocrity.
 

  homeindexgenree-mail