Posts Tagged ‘showing vs. telling’

M. Night Shyamalan has a record like a seismographic reading. Sometimes his movies are huge hits, other times they’re disasters, and occasionally they’re just okay. Nothing terrible, nothing great, just okay. Since his latest film had a very interesting concept to it, I thought I’d give it a watch. What did I think? Well, read on and find out.

Based on the Swedish graphic novel Sandcastle (which is available in the United States and which I’ve ordered from the library), Old follows several families who go to a private beach recommended to them by the island resort. However, once there strange things start to happen. Not only are they unable to leave, but the families start to age rapidly, especially the children. With only a day or so until they’re dead, it’s a race against time to find out how to get off the beach. But can they make it?

Well, that was an interesting film. And there was good there. The concept is very interesting and certainly makes for a good scary film. The actors do a damn good job in their roles (not surprising, given that Alex Wolff of Hereditary fame is among the cast, so he’s used to dark and challenging roles). And there are several moments where you feel tense. Not just from the race against time, but the increasingly terrifying acts of violence and body horror.

Also, the film the character Charles is trying to remember with Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson? It’s called The Missouri Breaks. I may not get why he’s obsessed with that particular film, but I get its use as an indicator of the toll on his mental state.

However, there are some things that just ruin the experience. While I can buy a couple of kids going around asking people their names and professions for their own amusement (I knew plenty of kids who did similar stuff at that age), I couldn’t help but notice that they said everything. And I mean everything! You would think in a movie, showing versus telling wouldn’t be a problem, but there are several times where, instead of showing us what is happening, the camera pans away and the characters just tell us what happens. Um…was there a reason for that?

Speaking of the camera, there are some long, uninterrupted shots that are brilliantly done, but others where you really wonder why we’re panning away and getting blurry or not focusing on the action. This plays a lot into the characters saying everything out loud, and it’s a problem.

That being said, I think this was worth the ticket money. Yeah, it’s not perfect, but Old certainly was a fun, enjoyable horror film and I can see it becoming a cult hit in the future. On a scale of 1 to 5, I hereby bequeath Old a 3.9. Grab a ticket and see for yourself if it’s any good. Just make sure you write out your will before you go.


Only four more days to send in a question for the Ask Me Anything, or AMA, in honor of my ten year blogging anniversary. One lucky participant will win a special prize, even! Just send your question to ramiungar@ramiungarthewriter.com by 11:59 PM on July 28th, 2021. I look forward to reading all your questions.

Well, after the fourth draft of Rose, I knew that I didn’t want to go into another novel too soon. I wanted to do some short stories. And I somehow managed to get my first short story of the year out in five days. Impressive. These usually take about two weeks to a month. On a good day.

Hannah is a ghost story about a team of paranormal investigators that explore an elementary school that’s reportedly haunted, and what they encounter in there. And for a Rami Ungar short story, it’s actually shorter than most I’ve written, just under fifty-nine hundred words. Usually they end up between seven-thousand and nine-thousand words. I wonder how that worked out?

And for the record, the Hannah in the title of this story is not based on any Hannah I actually know. And that’s a few: it’s a popular girl’s name in the Jewish community, so of course I’ve met and made friends with several. The titular character’s name actually has to do with a famous urban legend from another country, which I can’t name or go into without giving too much away about the story. I can’t even go into details of the legend, lest I give too much away. However, the name Hannah is a clue, if you want to try to figure it out. Let’s just say, it’s an Americanization.

Anyway, I’m hoping this short story is some good. I’ve been listening to a lot of horror anthologies on audio book lately, so I think I’ve absorbed some of what those had to teach me on short story writing. I also learned a lot from the fourth draft of Rose on concise language and strong writing (thanks Joleene), which probably contributed to its shorter length. And at the very least, if the story is terrible, at least it’ll be well-written.

Of course, there’s still things that can be improved. I think the middle and ending are pretty good, but I’m worried the beginning has too much exposition and telling, and not enough dialogue and showing. I’ve seen short stories do that well, of course, but I’m not sure if it’s done well here. Well, I suppose that’s what second drafts and beta readers are for. And hopefully once those are done, I can get this story published somewhere (I have a few ideas of where I would like that to happen).

Now that Hannah is done, there’s another short story I’d like to get to work on as soon as possible. Maybe even tomorrow, if my schedule allows. I’m looking forward to this one: it’s a story with a wonderfully relevant topic to today’s world.

For now though, I’m headed to bed. After all, I’ve got work in the morning. Goodnight Followers of Fear, and until next time, pleasant nightmares!