It’s important to have a hook when doing a reincarnation film and there is an interesting idea here of a person who has been killed in three past lives because of a murder he committed in one of his past lives against four people—that each person he killed was reincarnated and killed their murderer’s reincarnation.
The idea of * not wanting the baby born because it has no soul is arresting, especially when * says that * will die (pg. 7).
There is a good hook in that the baby in the coma comes out of the coma when * dies.
There is something infectious about * when he first appears. He has a certain tongue in cheek quality about him.
There are some good scary scenes, especially when * is being chased in the hospital (this is the strongest of the scenes).
What doesn’t work:
The central problem I have here is the focus of the plot. At this time it tends to sort of go all over the place without a central through line. It does sort of all come together at the end, but at this point, I really think the audience is going to be struggling to put it all together, spending more time trying to figure it out, rather than be into the drama.
There are several areas to look at. The first is how the theme of reincarnation and karma is used, especially for a film that is supposed to be commercial. The one general problem the audience may have is that they may feel that * is not deserving of the ending. She is a likeable person, an obstetrician, smart, together, nothing like * and she ends up committing suicide for something that she did in a past life, something she can’t even remember, something that is not reflected in her personality right now. The audience may be very unsatisfied with what happens to her. This doesn’t seem to be a fulfillment of *’s character or her character arc, but is rather a fulfillment of *. If this is a comment on karma, that’s fine, except that it’s such a negative idea (that someone, no matter how good their present life is, has to pay for sins in a past life), that to make it work for the audience, I believe it would have to be discussed and made more central to the story. Even so, for a commercial picture, this may still be problematical.
Also, the story seems to start out being about one thing, a really neat idea about a soul not ready to be born and how that affects *, but then becomes another. I believe the audience will so latch on to this first idea that they will think that the shadow following * has some immediate connection to the soul not being born and they will be waiting for that mystery to be answered (I never really understood what the shadow was that was trying to kill *). Then it suddenly seems to become about *’s past lives. It’s not until pg. 78 that the baby in the opening is brought back into things. I believe this is far too long to connect things up.
The character of * starts out being kind of interesting, but there’s something off about his motivations. He’s a lab technician that has taken up hypnosis—how did this come about? He looks up * in the hospital; does he just coincidentally happen to work at that hospital (is it the same hospital that * works at)? That may be problematical (of all the hospitals * ends up with she just happens to end up with one that just happens to have an old school mate that just happens to be into hypnosis and reincarnation even though he’s a lab technician). Then he seems to disappear for long periods of time. But since it’s his idea that * may be reincarnated, I would think that he would be with her every step of the way during the investigation. But he seems to be a character that’s there to do the bidding of the authors and disappears when the authors don’t need him. But he’s an important character and if he’s as interested in the truth as much, if not more, than *, then he’s going to be there all the way. Also, on pg. 106, * says they were brought together—but it may be unclear how they were brought together.
I believe there are some problems with the plot and that you might want to check with lawyers and psychiatrists and psychiatric hospitals. I believe that after * has made what may seem like a death threat (pg. 7), * would immediately report this to her superiors and the hospital’s lawyer (they would probably have an interview about what happened with the baby anyway).
I was unclear why the police searched the house for an intruder (* has attempted suicide, but hadn’t told anyone she thought there was an intruder).
After * attacks *, she’s immediately put in a special unit without a hearing (I believe, but the authors need to double check, that since a crime has been committed and * claims to have been attacked, they couldn’t just commit her, but would have to have a legal hearing).
One major scene is * doing experimental procedure. I don’t believe that * could use an experimental procedure on * without her signing off on it (if this is intentional, it needs to be dealt with). At this point it only seems a plot device to give * a reason to get her out of the hospital, which doesn’t work for me.
Once * escapes from the hospital, I didn’t understand why the police aren’t looking for her (she’s dangerous—she attacked an orderly).
I had problems with the transition on pg. 35. It still seems like a stretch that * thinks her problems may be due to a memory. Part of this is because there’s only been two scenes where he’s talked to Catherine. He doesn’t really have the information to come to this conclusion.
I didn’t understand why *’s parents were completely oblivious to her being put in the hospital (after all, * is not her next of kin and has no authority—they would need to call her nearest relative).
You need to develop * more.
I believe you first need to find an ending that will satisfy the audience when it comes to karma and reincarnation.
You need to link the baby in the coma with the events that follow it.
You need a more focused through line.
You need to justify the shadow following her or drop it.
You need to fully develop *’s character and make him more integral to the plot and make his appearance on the scene more satisfying.
You need to build up * and *’s relationship.
When it comes to *, don’t think of this as a movie about reincarnation, but about a woman who discovers that something is happening to her that leads her to believe she has been reincarnated and that that’s affecting her life. It’s about a woman who…, not a concept. I suggest you write 3-4 pages, whether you use all of them or not, that explores her before she goes into delivering the baby. I suggest these scenes be her getting ready for work, which will have her interact with * (thus developing their relationship more); her arrival at work and what she does when she first gets there; her first rounds; you might consider having her go to therapy that day; perhaps in therapy she gets the call for *; she calls * on her way to the hospital and tells him that she’ll be late for whatever they’re planning that night (which explores their relationship more).
When it comes to the shadows, I think you push it too fast. I like a slower build. I think the structure starts going off a little starting on pg. 8. The authors might consider a different build. Have the scene where * talks to the lawyer and her boss. She goes to get her car and she sees a shadow briefly. She calls * on the way home and he agrees to come over. She takes a shower. When she turns off the shower, she hears the breaking glass. She thinks it’s *, but then she sees the shadow coming to her.
I believe you need to write *’s story whether they use it or not. You need to dramatize (or at least summarize) what * is doing when he’s not on screen.
In addition, it is suggested that * say that if the soul doesn’t enter the baby by the 21st, the baby will die.
Though the location of * is good and works (I assume it’s based on a real place), you might consider placing it in a place closer to where * and * are (they are both drawn to the area), or have it take place in Alaska.
Movies to study are women in danger films, especially those with a supernatural element.