FFFJ: The Watch
I read this script just over a year ago, and the draft was dated 8/11/04, FYI. May have been a different draft (not just based on the timing, but also since my draft was credited to Victor Salva rewriting John Claflin and Daniel Zelman, while on Done Deal it only lists the latter two).
Here's my logline for the script:
WWII soldiers battle a demon unleashed by the Nazis that stays alive by inhabiting and animating dead bodies.
Now first off, what recent movie does the set-up have reminiscences of? I'll wait...
That's right. Hellboy. And the fact that that movie had recently come out, as well as its less than stellar box office, did impact my comments. Though the script's plot, setting, and style were all quite different than those of Hellboy, the simple similarity alone was enough to make the concept seem less original. Had this script been produced and released prior to that film, it would've felt very fresh and inventive.
Still, there were some solid points to this script. It featured good dialogue, decent characterization, and most importantly, an interesting genre blend between war and horror. Of course, this blend nicely underscores the theme, relating how horrific war actually is, and the script wisely handles this theme even-handedly and without preachiness. This theme helps the screenplay gain more depth and substance than a standard horror film.
Even still, it is the same genre blend that ultimately failed in the script version I read. While the blend itself was intriguing, neither of the individual elements worked particularly well. Since it played off elements from both genres, the screenplay felt like a watered down version of both, instead of a blend of two equally strong parts. Ultimately, the screenplay lacked the "oomph" necessary to push it past its similarities to Hellboy, and to make it live up to its concept's promise.
Could this film be good and/or profitable? Certainly. But the draft I read was flawed enough that it's marketing complications were more worthy of consideration. Who knows how much the script changed from the version I read?
Tags: screenwriting, The+Watch, Victor+Salva, John+Claflin, Daniel+Zelman, Hellboy