February 08, 2012

Emma Watson in the horror movie 'Kristy'?

Bloody Disgusting got exclusive word that the Weinstein Company may actually get the long-gestured Kristy off the ground.

We've been tipped off that Gary Fleder (Kiss the Girls, Don't Say a Word ) is now in the director's chair with a shoot date slated for this coming April. Penned by Tony Jaswinski, the slasher is being pegged as The Strangers on a college campus. It follows a college coed who stays in her dorm during Thanksgiving and is terrorized by four masked assailants on the empty campus -- the killers are up against far more than they bargained for.

The Weinstein Company hopes to land Harry Potter star Emma Watson in the lead role of "Justine", although talks have yet to get underway.

David Kirschner is producing with his David Kirschner Productions.

Emma's spring break is between 10 March and 22 April.

Script review:

Genre: Horror/Thriller
Premise: In the vein of THE STRANGERS. A student trapped on a deserted college campus comes under attack by a malevolent group of intruders.
About: Dimension picked this up late last month for, I am hearing, low-six figures.
Written by: Anthony Jaswinski.

Initially the logline for Kristy did nothing for me, and when I heard it sold a few days later, my initial response was “Whaaa...?” The quick sale did garner some negative feedback on a few tracking boards, the main complaint being the lack of originality in the premise. Some claimed it read like a sequel to The Strangers. Others hailed it as just another generic horror spec. I was intrigued. After all, this puppy did sell. And as someone who reads a lot of genre scripts in my spare time, I always try to be as objective as possible. I think no matter how bad a script is you can always learn something from it. So when Kristy graced my inbox, I decided to bump this to the top of my “to read” pile.

The first thing that struck me was the nice page count. Kristy clocks in at 91 pages. Look at it this way, if the script sucks, at least it won’t take too long to end the pain. The second thing was the visual writing style. Fortunately this guy could write, and write very well. From page one Jaswinski set the tone of dread with vivid descriptions of the rural campus. This already started to read like a decent horror movie. I was in.

It starts off with a typical opening. We meet our hero, Justine Wills, along with her boyfriend Aaron in her college dorm late one afternoon. He’s slightly perplexed over her decision to stay back over the thanksgiving break to finish a poetry assignment, rather than accompany him to his parents place. He gives her a few opportunities to change her mind, but she’s determined to play catch up. So after their goodbyes, he drives off to his parents place... All rather basic, but now the gears of premise begin to churn...

Apart from one security guard, a student on her way out, and the campus groundskeeper, there’s now a lot of empty space between Justine and any form of civilization.

“The entire place is now entombed in rural silence. Cold November sun has set on the freshly mowed lawns.”

You can’t help but feel a slight pang of loneliness in this place.

We follow Justine around her campus for a few beats until she decides to take a run down to her local 7-11. In this case it’s the only building for miles. Jaswinski likes to subtly remind us every now and then that we are indeed in the middle of fucking nowhere.

Driving along this empty highway is where we first encounter our bad guys. They approach Justine in the opposite direction, hauling ass with headlights blazing on highbeam. Justine flicks her own highbeams to either alert or scold the driver.

Big mistake.

By page 19 it was clear Jaswinski understood the importance of pacing and getting to the meat of the premise. Thankfully, he doesn’t linger too long.

Justine was rendered stock standard, typical for most horror movies. But the first few pages do a very nice job at introducing her. Jaswinski doesn’t try to force you to like her, but rather sympathize with her. This girl does have some issues that need resolving. She’s no Ellen Ripley, but Justine did possess certain character traits I love with these standard archetypes. She wasn’t just kill fodder for the bad guys. This girl had a brain, and as the pages roll on she’s certainly forced to use it. Horror just works so much better when you actually give a shit about the characters in peril.

By the end of the first act, set-ups and devices had been effectively deployed. Now I’m not going to break this script down and analyze it scene-by-scene, because apart from being painfully boring, I’d actually like you to read it as spoiler free as possible.

So let’s fast forward a few pages and meet the bad guys.

One of my biggest pet peeves with horror movies is that the villains always seem to be able to clock the layout of a building, house or wherever, better than the residents who live or work there. They can get in and out seconds before our hero even knows what’s going on. Whenever this happens it drops the plausibility of the film down by about ten notches. In some instances it almost comes off as being lazy. Unfortunately Kristy does have some of those moments. However they are in early stages of the script when our villains are taunting Justine. Once she’s pursued, the action does not resort back to cheap scares. It becomes more of a hunting movie – which takes us to various locations throughout the college campus. Justine is on the run, but also taking steps necessary to defend herself and fight back.

At times, I could not help but be reminded of The Strangers. After all, the bad guys also wear masks, in this case macabre aluminium masks. They appear for no apparent reason, and they even partake in the odd bout of door knocking. But with Kristy’s villains, there’s one significant difference – these guys are actually threatening. They carry the same cold disregard as their psychotic cousins, yet they seem to be smarter and far more cunning. Sure, they shoot, they stab, they slice and they give chase, but they don’t stand around in a fog for thirty pages, trying to look eerie. They’re always on the move, actively hunting Justine down like wounded prey.
By now you’re probably wondering “why is this called Kristy?” All is revealed through a tense moment between Justine and one of her pursuers, via SMS. For the most part, all the little set-ups and pay-offs worked adequately. For this type of genre they are somewhat to be expected. And as far as horror stories go, structurally, it was sound. Granted, it was a very basic plot, but it read solid.

So in a spec marketplace clogged full of Vampires, Ghosts, Zombies, Serial Killers and Aliens, did Kristy manage to scrub up to size?

Yes it did.

Although far from perfect, it was not only a nice surprise for me, it was one of the best horror specs I’ve read since Michael Stokes’ “Nightfall.” I realized Jaswinski was never trying to reinvent the wheel, but rather spin it so violently fast, I couldn’t help but feel a little thrilled along the way. Now if that was his only intention, as I suspect it was, then he definitely succeeded. I’m quite positive the guys over at Dimension felt the exact same way.

[ ] trash
[ ] barely kept my interest
[ ] worth the read
[x] impressive
[ ] genius

What I learned from Kristy: This script proved to me that explaining why the bad guys are there is not always important. What is important is that our hero just gets the fuck out of dodge, and we the audience, feel something along the way. It also proved that if written effectively, a simple plot with a well worn premise can still be fresh, entertaining and commercially viable. For any screenwriters toying with the idea of writing a horror script, I recommend you read this first. There’s a good reason why it sold so quickly.
Source: ScriptShadow


Anonymous said...

Whoa! I love this blog! You find news fast. Hopefully she'll do it if according to your little note she'll be available at that time. Keep on blogging. More Power! The script's good.

Chris said...

Of course I would see it if Emma does land the role, but I got to admit I wasn't really impressed after reading the Script Review. But then again, Emma has been linked to 3 different movies already this year and it isn't even Valentine's Day yet lol.

Anonymous said...

Geez will she ever do something British again? American here, american there :( and I thought she loved british Productions. I don't want her to become a Actress who looks like she is becoming obsessed with american things. I don't want to say she want's to be a Hollywood Star, because I don't think she will be one, but I was so proud when she was filming british Things or something in Britain :( well at least she might be filming in London in Summer. If yes, I hope the most Parts of it.

Glad that this here is just a Rumour

Anonymous said...

Sher probably only is linked to American movies because tehre are 100000 times more Americans movies produced per year than british or foreign language movies.

And I don't think actors select their script by llooking at the country production. They look at the script. is it good? do I want to do it? can I do it? yes? they want me? yes? Okay i'll do it!

Kristin said...

I HOPE that Emma stays with American movies. British movies barely get picked up, there's barely any promotion in the US, and they're mostly indie movies.

If Perks does well, it might make Emma want to do more American movies. MWWM was a hit with critics and audiences (despite being in a limited amount of theaters it made a ton of money in the US.) Plus, there would be bigger and better stars in the movie, and she'd get to promote the movie more over here.

Please, stick to American movies! Good American movies, though.

Also, I'm not so excited about Emma doing a horror movie, especially something like this. They never do well with critics or audiences alike.

Anonymous said...

I did read the script and it'd be a very cool movie for her. Justine is a great character. Kristy could be a classic in the making

Anonymous said...

just reading this i kept having to look behind me. i've seen the strangers and i did not sleep. but if Emma got this role, I would definitely go see it. i would say "goodbye" to sleep for Emma. :)

Anonymous said...

Is that really her spring break?? Over a month? Aren't they usually one to two weeks? Or is it different in the UK?

Anonymous said...

Eh, Harvey Weinstein said he wanted to work with Emma again, so I'm not suprised that The Weinstein Company hopes that she takes the role.
Now, I thought he would offer her a more prestigious role.

I don"t know if Emma really wants to do a horror movie, she seems ambitious and she picks her roles carefully. She said she would love to work with respected directors (like sofia coppola, david fincher...), and she is smart so I don't think horror movies will help her career and to etablish herself as a serious young actress. And If she has been offered the lead in a guillermo deltoro's film and the adaptation of your voice in my head, I think she will prefer the more ambitious project.

This movie doesn't sound really good to me, the strangers wasn't a great fomù, and this kind of movie is more for "C list" actresses. Like the roommate with Leighton Meester (horrible movie), When a stranger calls with Camilla Belle, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre with Jessica Biel and so on.... I think Emma is getting better propositions than this, she seems to have choices even if she is an unproven actress except for the HP serie.

Anonymous said...

I wish Emma all the best in her career. :-)

Anonymous said...

Isn't emma supposed to be doing the bling ring in the spring? She has spring break from 10. March to 22. April.


Anonymous said...

I don't care if Emma is doing, British and/or American movies. If she's in it, I'll watch it (unless it's animated...I want to see Emma not just hear her voice). I'm not a big fan of slasher flicks but it's Emma, so....yeah!!

Anonymous said...

She's not doing this. Word is Ashley Greene is looking at it

Anonymous said...

Word is they have an actress and it's not Emma