Poorly Written Movie: DECEIVED

Thank you Mike Dowd! Great idea about studying bad movies!

Here are my notes on a movie that got out of development just a wee bit too early… rent the movie and see if I missed anything…

It does have one of the best scenes ever, which is when Goldie has to go to her whiney neighbor’s house to retrieve the zillion dollar necklace, which the neighbor’s kids are playing with.. and Goldie finally yanks it away and yells, “Oh, for Christ’s sake! Isn’t anybody in charge around here?!” Stellar scene! The rest of the movie, not so good.

A cautionary tale in poor story construction…

[comments are not in story order.]

How did the killer happen to be in Thomas’s office at the exact moment Thomas discovered the necklace was a forgery?

As it came out almost immediately that it was a forgery, why did he kill Thomas?

Who made the forgeries?

Who was the person who died in the car accident? He called someone to meet him, picked that man up, and then a body was found. Did that man just allow himself to be killed?

How did he know the car would burn?

How did he get the man in the car to put on his wedding ring and drive into a guard rail?

Why was he doing this in the first place? To save his career? Because he had Wife #2?

How did the necklace get in the closet? If he’s so smart, why didn’t he hide it somewhere else, or take it with him?

How can the woman old friend suddenly remember John Heard’s mom lived on Carpenter Place above a deli… and eons later… she’s still living there?

Why did he kill his mother? What was to be gained from it?

When the nanny comes back to the apartment, why doesn’t the bad guy just hide?

When Goldie is on the floor next to strangled nanny, why does bad guy stop and look at her?

What was he doing at the Chesterfield hotel? As he turns out to be the only bad guy, he wasn’t meeting anyone. Perhaps he was meeting Wife #2…

Wasn’t he careful enough to not put candy in his suit pocket?

What city are the high school annuals in? New York? Why would a bureaucrat give her the originals of old high school documents?

Too big a coincidence, too late in the game: her finding the card with Sherman’s name on it in the old briefcase.

How does a lightbulb blow out at the moment she’s afraid a man is in her child’s room?

When she and her husband are together at his mother’s apartment, why doesn’t she ever say, “Hey, honey, where’s your mom?”

If Sherman never really existed, why did he have the Sherman I.D.? If the guy married to Wife #2 is named Daniel Sherman, that would explain it.

Doesn’t Goldie realize he searched her apartment?

Why does she never talk to anyone about this? Not her partner, not the police, not anyone.

Why did he reveal himself to the child? It only complicated things.

Why did Goldie stab her husband? He didn’t seem to be a threat to her at that point.

Why didn’t she ever go to the police?

During the big chase, when she locks him in the apartment, why can’t he unlock the door from the inside?

Why did she kill him? And how did she get to the far side of the elevator shaft?

Why didn’t she just go on and give him the necklace? Of what use was it to her, especially when he was holding her daughter?

How did he have time to spend with Wife #2? Meet her, get engaged, get married, get her seven months pregnant… all the while, he’s married to Goldie.

Why did he want the necklace so badly? As we never know why he needed it, we never think he’ll kill for it.

Were the stakes high enough for him to do what he did? A ruined career or exposure for bigamy? Or did he just want to go off with Wife #2, and wanted money… what the bad guy wanted is never clear.


My thoughts on DECEIVED. If you have a bad movie you’ve got notes on, send them in and we’ll all get to see them.



Filed under Criticism, Rewriting, Screenwriting

8 responses to “Poorly Written Movie: DECEIVED

  1. Mike Dowd

    Bitteschön. Now it makes me want to see this movie… or see if MST3K has already seen it.

  2. Elaine

    The Last Airbender? Although it might be cheating as I haven’t seen, or even heard of it. I just read a review which includes:

    ‘Shyamalan doesn’t realize that real people don’t say things like “I think Aang had a vision in the Southern Air Temple Prayer Field” or “Katara, do not hit that sphere.”‘


    ‘Instead of organically discovering the world around them, Shyamalan’s characters read out the Wikipedia pages about where they are and where they’re going.’

  3. Lisa

    Another possibility is that it got out of development too late. I’ve seen good scripts get turned into a dogs dinner once the producers and director were through with it. Everyone always blames the writer, but the writer is not always the one at fault for a bad script.

  4. Phil

    I have always had a soft spot for Deceived. I don’t know why I like it so much, but ever since I saw it in theaters, it’s one of my favorites.

  5. Melinda

    I love this movie. It’s actually very good but the one thing that bugs me is who the man was that died in the car crash? That part makes no sense to me .

    • yourscreenplaysucks

      Yeah! No kidding! Did the guy pick up a hitchhiker and say, “Here, put on my watch. I’ll stand here by the side of road while you crash my Volvo into an embankment. When it bursts into flames, be sure not to get out. And, thanks! ‘Preciate ya!”
      Makes no sense to anybody!

      • I’m pretty sure that guy just died in the crash and couldn’t get out because he was dead. Notice he didn’t move after the flip.

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