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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Wrath of God by Lonnie Turner – Featured Unproduced Script of the Month - posted by Don

Wrath of God by Lonnie Turner
– Featured Script of the Month

Wrath of God by Lonnie TurnerWrath of God by Lonnie Turner

William Athman steps outside his home on Christmas Day, grabs an axe from the chopping block, strolls back inside and murders his entire family. What could make a man do something like this? That’s what psychiatrist Timothy Vick intends to find out when he’s requested by the murderer himself to take his confession. But when Athman claims he was forced by God to kill his family, Tim must struggle with his own beliefs (or lack thereof) in order to stop the next person to kill in God’s name — himself.
(Horror, Psychological Thriller) 90 pages in pdf format

Read the Script

Status: Available

Lonnie TurnerWriter Bio: Lon Turner is a lifelong film fan and movie buff who found his way into screenwriting after a roommate brought home a copy of Syd Field’s Screenplay. Lon’s first completed screenplay, Wrath of God, was named a finalist in the 2005 Shriekfest screenplay competition. His second completed script, The Silk, was purchased by Movie Plus Group. He is currently at work on a number of original screenplays, mostly in the horror/thriller genre.

Discuss Wrath of God on the discussion forum

7 Comments so far

1.

bert
January 1st, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Congratulations, Lon! Boo for no author photo. Coward.

2.

Lon
January 3rd, 2012 at 1:01 pm

It’s not so much that I’m a coward as I simply didn’t have a pic to send in — largely because I’m notoriously averse to having my picture taken to begin with.

I’m silly like that. :)

3.

Kate
January 4th, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Man, I think I read that in fifteen minutes – talk about intense! It was really masterful. I didn’t see how Tim could really believe Athman – and so that moment/montage of Tim putting the pieces together struck me as odd. However, that’s the tricky part in reading a script — and the responsibility of the actor. I think the right actor could bring Tim (and us)
to that point. You threw in some great red herrings (the disconnect between his facial expressions and his actions).
The ending — I guess most will see it coming, so it might be interesting to throw another curve ball. Maybe have his wife ‘chopping the wood’ so to speak.

4.

Lon
January 5th, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Thanks for the read, Kate. Don contacted me about a month ago asking if I had a new draft to submit since he was considering featuring the script on the site (it’s over six years old, and was the very first script I ever completed) but I told him I’m fine with it being shown warts and all — and yeah, there are a LOT of warts. Maybe if enough interest is shown in this one I’ll make some time for another revision and re-submit it, but until then I’ve got my hands full with a few other scripts at the moment.

Thanks again for your comments. I genuinely appreciate them. :)

5.

shawn
January 7th, 2012 at 2:32 am

Lon, I finished your screenplay and I thought it was very entertaining. You have a talent for pacing and intrigue, and this work of yours builds to a driving crescendo.

The Shining was the first movie that came to my mind while reading. It might be helpful to review the beats from that movie and compare them to your script to see how you might make improvements.

You have some unique angles on the concept for the story. However, I think you have a problem with the theme.

So God made him do it. Okay. We know this early on, which brings to mind other stories with such themes….like the story of Abraham being told by god to kill his son for example. There too there is a question of faith in God for the reason to kill. Only difference there, of course, is that God says “I was only testing” before Abraham does the deed.

In your story Athman must murder his family. The story just needs a reason to do so. Also, some mystery – is God really telling him to do it or is he just simply crazy? Either path works logically, but your story depends on the mystery of what is true here.

At no point in your script do you give the audience reason to believe that God is telling Athman to kill his family. The closest you come to this is having him wake from a nightmare in a cold sweat. What is he dreaming about?

Also, how does Athman feel about religion, about God? From what I gathered, he’s indifferent. You started to touch upon this at the holiday party with his boss Harry and his Wife being teased about her faith. You set yourself up well for tension between Athman and his wife, but it’s not developed. Instead of exploring the theme of the movie, the conflict is about Athman’s drinking and possibly an extra-marital affair on the part of the wife.

Also, there’s a question about the main character. Who is it? Right now I would say Athman, but I don’t think that’s the best story. You have an intriguing moment when Dr. Vick is brought into the story — the killer wants to talk to him personally because he is destined to do the same gruesome act. There is a connection between the two… not that they both have a wife and two kids and live in the same town… they are both chosen by God. At least we are expected to believe that from an audience standpoint. There is fertile ground here to do a rewrite that shows less of what happens at the Athmen house and more of what happens at the Vick house. Stretch out the interrogation. Have the Dr return home and contemplate… and be changed from what he’s hearing from Athman.

Is the Doctor going to go mad as well? You’ve already raised that questioned it’s just not delivered yet.

Good Job Lon on taking blank pages and turning them into an exciting driving story. I hope you will continue to work on this because I think you’re close to having a hit. Bravo.

6.

Dave
September 11th, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Fast, entertaining read. Dialogue seemed natural.

Change “reef” to “wreath.”

Analyze the movie “Frailty” and see what really made that film work. A few things that stand out. Religious zealots usually believe that there is no wrong in their actions. They usually purify themselves before their actions and have very little remorse afterwards. Athman comes off as someone who is trying to figure out how to get away with the crime, which I think a seasoned psychiatrist like Tim would be able to spot. If Athman had remorse for his actions, he would likely either go catatonic from shock or kill himself after the realization that he murdered his loved ones. If his only motivation was to save Tim’s family from a similar fate, once his mission was over, he would probably take his own life. Perhaps it would have a more powerful impact on Tim if Athman says that his mission is fulfilled and kills himself with the wooden stake.

It seems a bit of a stretch for a seemingly stable Tim to suddenly snap. If there was some prior history of psychotic episodes, or some type of depression or obsessive behavior, (perhaps something as simple as insomnia) it would make Tim’s transition more believable.

I think you have to lose the alcohol. It sucks because the drunken dialogue is done very well, but it messes with the idea that Tim receives the factual narrative of the events in the Athman house from Athman who was supposedly in a drunken rage. If he was a narcissist/ zealot like the killer in the movie “Seven” I could buy that his descriptions would be very precise. With Athman, I think he would have trouble remembering details. Also, guilt-laden criminals drink before crimes to dull the anguish or create an excuse for what they are about to do. That issue might be resolved by Athman having a multiple personality disorder (one personality has guilt, the other does not), but that is so unpredictable and hard to explain that I think it would make the story too convoluted (one personality would always be contradicting another, etc.).

Maybe Athman doesn’t remember killing his family. He might think everyone is playing a trick on him, or there is some unknown killer still out there. He could still believe that it was punishment for whatever transgression, and being innocent of killing his family, could still live with himself. I would not go down the path of “Dream House” because that movie ended up pretty lame. It could have been much better.

You’ve got a really good foundation to work from, so good luck taking it to the next level.

7.

Jerry
September 7th, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Very well done script! I really enjoyed it!
Lon, i want to talk you about your scripts.
send me your contact info?

Jerry Fortuna
collective vision entertainment
626.384.6379
jerryfortuna86@gmail.com

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