Heart of Coal
A renowned female psychologist ruminates over serial killer personalities – and the horror they’ve wreaked on her life…
Narration. Voice-over. For some, it’s a film gimmick that grates on the nerves. But when done right, it can be spectacular. Don’t believe us? Try on a few of these films on for size.
Annie Hall: stand-up comedian Alvy Singer recounts his neurotic, titular love affair. Goodfellas: Henry Hill describes his evolution from small time crook to valued Mobster, and fall from grace to Informant. The Usual Suspects: Roger “Verbal” Kint weaves a tale of five random members from a police line-up, and the evil Keyser Soze. Speaking of Kevin Spacey and voiceovers, what about American Beauty?
All classic films told through the eyes of the narrator. And that’s the power of “V.O”. In the hands of a skilled screen writer, the voice of the narrator can lift a film to new heights. Add complex dimension to a story, and set the proper tone from page One… whether it be comedic, dramatic, or – in the case of Heart of Coal – downright chilling.
Dr. Lianne Berg’s life has had its ups and downs. A child psychologist who works with autistic children, she’s successful, young and gorgeous. A woman driven to succeed by horrors in her own childhood. Only nine when her mother was killed in front of her – stabbed to death sixty-seven times and beheaded. The serial killer never captured. Not surprisingly, the working of such dysfunctional minds became Dr. Berg’s obsession. As the script progresses, her voice drives the narrative; providing a glimpse into her separate worlds. Professional insights on the motives of such monsters, and her own nightmarish memories: how they’ve warped and shaped her life…
Stylishly written and streamlined, Heart of Coal is a deliciously demented script. And an amazing showcase for a thirtyish actress with just the right voice. With the right cast and smart editing, this script is an amazing find. Do this one right, and create a true horror masterpiece!
About the writer: Born and raised in Sweden, Pia Cook has SEVERAL produced features and shorts to her name (full IMDB credits here.) She started writing screenplays in 2006 and has written over sixty short screenplays and ten features. (Yeah… that’s not a typo. Six ZERO.)
Budget: Moderate. There are some locations inside a hospital and a Senator’s office. And a few extras to hire. Not to mention some blood and horror FX. But nothing to lose your head over. (Talk about an unfortunate choice of words!)
About the reviewer: David M Troop resumed writing in 2011 after a twenty-five year hiatus. Since then, he has written about 50 short scripts, two of which have been produced. Dave would like to make it three. He is a regular, award-winning contributor to MoviePoet.com. Born on the mean streets of Reading, PA, Dave now resides in Schuylkill Haven with his wife Jodi and their two lazy dogs Max and Mattie. He can be reached at dtroop506 “AT” gmail.
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