High school students suffer mysterious blindness and blame a new girl in school.
MOLLY has recently moved from New York to Tucson, where she’s an outcast. Her only friends are a kindred spirit, ALICE WOODS (who shows Molly the ropes of the high school) and BEN (a quiet boy with a crush on Molly). As Molly’s tormentors go blind, one by one, the students and townspeople suspect the new girl. Even Molly begins to suspect herself, until she learns something about Alice: she’s been dead for a decade, and her mother remains alive but is blind and insane. Molly unravels the mystery of Alice while trying to avoid the persecution of the townspeople. Alice’s “mother” tries to attack Molly, but Molly accidentally kills her.
Blind starts out well, with its fish-out-of-water protagonist and the mysterious blindings that happen to a few students at her high school. The first 40 or so pages deal pretty well with establishing Molly, the school, its cliques, and the mystery of what is making the students go blind and why.
Unfortunately, everything involving Alice Woods destroys the story. The fact that she’s a ghost is telegraphed well in advance, as is the knowledge that she’s the one causing the blindness. So, then, the question is, why is it supposed to be surprising and suspenseful when these “reveals” finally come?
The ghost revelation should be upfront; perhaps Molly doesn’t know Alice is a ghost, but the audience should. The real question isn’t what she is; the big questions should be, why is her ghost appearing, why does she make contact with Molly (finding the medallion could work, but as it stands, it makes everything seem too coincidental), and how will Molly react when she discovers the truth? In addition to making the central conflict less generic, this also gives opportunities to properly develop Alice’s character. She reads thin because the story tries to hide what she is by shrouding her personality in mystery.
The idea of the blindness could be used to lend more mystery about who’s behind it. Because of the targets, it seemed like it would end up being a (cheesy) metaphor for adolescent kids—they persecute others because they blind themselves to what makes those they persecute special. Not exactly Shakespeare, but at least it’s interesting thematically. Unfortunately, the ending shatters the idea that there’s any metaphor to the blindness.
The reactions of the townspeople to the blindness, as well as Dr. Alberto desperately trying to find a cause, are both pointless and goofy. The script takes place in present-day Tucson, and a few odd cases of blindness cause everyone to brand Molly a witch? Even in a town smaller than Tucson, this development would be hard to believe. At least it makes a little more sense that Molly’s peers would persecute and scapegoat her; the entire city being out for her blood (and abruptly no longer caring at the end) really is inappropriate for any story that doesn’t take place in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692.
There could be a good, creepy story here, but there needs to be a higher concentration on the development of the characters (including the high school tormentors, who should be more than stereotypes) and their relationships with one another. If the story were confined to the students and their lives, rather than in the various mysteries the script takes way too seriously, the story could be tighter and maybe have some relevance to actual teenagers.