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Venor  

 

Genre

Horror

 

Logline

After venturing down a secluded back road, a young city couple finds themselves hunted by a country family who, for their own protection, mean to sacrifice them to a sinister woodland evil.

 

Page Length

109

 

STATUS

Seeking Investment, Producing Partners

 

SUMMARY

Venor is a love letter of a horror film: a throwback to 70s/80s classics with an emphasis on suspense, surprise, and atmosphere. The goal of this picture is to revitalize the genre with a new franchise in the vein of John Carpenter and Wes Craven. It pays homage to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Deliverance, and Black Christmas while forming its own voice. 

Set amid the 2008 housing crisis, this horror story pits city versus country in the modern age. 

 

 

 

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Screenwriting Awards

 

2018

Nashville Film Festival

Semi-Finalist

Script Summit Screenplay Contest

Official Selection

 

2017

Honolulu Film Awards

gold kahuna award recipient 

Omaha Film Festival

Semi-Finalist

 

2016

New York Screenplay Contest 

finalist

Beverly Hills Screenplay Contest

finalist 

Action/Adventure Screenplay Festival

semi-finalist

Screencraft Horror Screenplay Contest 

quarter-finalist

A Night of Horror International Film Festival 

finalist

Shriekfest Horror Screenplay Contest

semi-finalist

Crimson Screen Horror Film Festival

finalist

 

 

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Synopsis

 

Set amid the 2008 housing crisis, BRET (early 30’s), GWEN (late 20’s), and their dog IVY relocate from Chicago to Richmond due to financial hardship. On the day of their departure and consignment of their belongings, Gwen finds out she’s pregnant: unbeknownst to Bret.

They travel out of Illinois, through Ohio, and into rural West Virginia. Avoiding tolls in an effort to pinch pennies, Bret leads them on a back road where they are off-roaded by an ominous figure in a red pickup truck and SLAM into a DEER.

The car zooms down a ditch and hits the base of a tree, totaling the car… injuring the couple and their dog. Bret is badly cut, Gwen is knocked unconscious, and Ivy breaks her back leg. Bret inspects the wreckage after impact, seeing that the deer is actually a DECOY: stuffed and mounted to a set of wheels.

He pulls out his phone. No cell service.

Firing a flare into the air for help, Bret attracts the help of WOODY (40’s): a deer hunter with a station wagon. He gives the couple a ride back to his cabin where they think they’ll be able to phone for help. Gwen regains consciousness on the way, tending to Ivy and her broken leg.

Upon entering Woody’s cabin, Gwen notices a collection of MOTHS and COCKROACHES mounted on the walls. Feeling something is askew and growing increasingly more worried over the condition of her dog, she asks to use his phone.  He replies he doesn’t have one.

Woody insists on keeping them there through the night and promises to take them into town the next morning. Back-and-forth between mistrusting this stranger and his intentions, Bret and Gwen grow hostile - devolving into an argument as to why they left in the first place.

Before the two can resolve their quarrel, a MOLOTOV COCKTAIL comes sailing through the window and ignites the main room of the cabin. THREE MASKED HUNTERS wait for them on the outside by the red pickup truck responsible, demanding Woody hand over the couple as sacrifice to VENOR: a sinister woodland evil.

As this city couple desperately tries to piece together who is really targeting them, they discovered what's really at play in this small southern community. Who is Venor and will they make it out alive? 

Sample Budget

 
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Comparables

 
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Sample Cast

 
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Director's Statement

 

My name is Matt Nye and I am a director, screenwriter, producer, and editor. When I write, I visualize each scene as a director and editor. In writing and revising Venor over these past few years, I have developed a very distinct vision with a complete shot list.

Venor is a love letter of a horror film: a throwback to 70s/80s classics with an emphasis on suspense and atmosphere. The goal of this picture to revitalize the genre with a new franchise in the vein of John Carpenter and Wes Craven. It pays homage to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Deliverance, and Black Christmas while forming its own voice.  

I’ve envisioned the opening kill of the picture to be played by Neve Campbell. Not only would it turn the genre on its head by eliminating a brunette in the film’s opening, but Neve is a survivor of the Scream franchise. She would only be needed for a day of work and could be afforded on a modest budget. In addition, her participation would improve the film’s marketability.

The rest of the cast can be filled by suggestions provided in our lookbook. Bret and Gwen’s chemistry is of paramount importance and the picture needs two leads who look good together and can work well together. Aimee Teegarden would make a strong Gwen and Jake Johnson’s comedic timing would add another layer to Bret. John Hawkes can bring pathos to Woody and Jackie Earle Haley would make for a menacing Wolf with the support of two relative unknowns as Fox and Lamb.

I believe these actors could be attainable for a modest budget given their status and screen time if a SAG-AFTRA low budget agreement is reached. This is all contingent on their availability, chemistry, and interest in the project.

Venor can be any tall and intimidating actor because his face will be concealed. Visual inspirations come from Pan’s Labyrinth and Friday the 13th. Venor’s garb should have a backwoods feel with human leather boots, Native American fringe, and bone ornaments.

Beyond star power, though, the film needs a cast and crew who will bring energy to set as it will come across on-camera. The more our team is energized and happy about coming to work, the better the product will be. I am confident that we can hire a good group of people who will work for a fair wage and deliver an amazing product.

I consider myself very much an actor’s director. I know where a film actor’s strength lies. Having worked with both film and theater actors, I know the difference between film acting and stage acting. I’m able to pull in and subdue those performances because I understand the medium.

My visual style is traditional. I like to move the camera to reveal things, create tension, or offer perspective. I primarily use a tripod to let the actors play in the frame. I only go handheld when the scene calls for it. Dollies, Jibs, and SteadiCams are a part of my repertoire depending on the project and the resources.

Impeccable sound and picture are essential to what makes a great film. Venor will be shot on an ARRI-ALEXA with Zeiss and Cooke lenses. Audio will be recorded on-location with a mixer and boom operator. Foley and other sound effects will be gathered during production and applied in post-production.

A seasoned production designer and location manager will ensure that our 2 million dollar picture looks like it was made for 20 million. Production will be shot and edited in Georgia to maximize the 30% tax incentive. That money will then be put into either recouping investors immediately or press and advertising - assuming a distribution agreement is not already reached.

When it comes to visuals, I’ve found that it’s all about mood and atmosphere. Classic horror films build tension and generate scares because of these two simple principles. Our product will be aesthetically effective because it will employ classic techniques. Framing and lighting will be of prime importance and an emphasis on coverage will ensure we have the best footage to work with in the editing room.

Music is vital to supporting the picture’s visuals. Soundtrack ideas include two tracks from John Carpenter’s Lost Themes and songs by John Denver and Neil Young. The tracks would be used to enhance our sound design and publicity. John Carpenter’s work is notorious within the horror community and these tracks haven’t been used in a picture before.

I am very much a team player and know the best way to lead a successful group is to value each of their experiences and opinions. I love filmmaking because of its collaborative nature and am excited to be sharing my world of ideas with you. I believe we can make an aesthetically pleasing and thematically relevant film that will resonate with a wide audience.