Confessions of a Cadaver by Matthew Taylor | Script Revolution

Confessions of a Cadaver

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As a surgeon dissects a cadaver, it tells him a story he doesn't want to hear.

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Confessions of a Cadaver
As a surgeon dissects a cadaver, it tells him a story he doesn’t want to hear.

If you watch gangster films, you’ve probably heard some variation of this line before – “Dead men don’t tell tales”. But if you watch true crime films and documentaries – I highly recommend Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries reboot – you know that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sometimes, a cadaver can weave one hell of a tale… in great detail. A lot can be determined through examining a cadaver. Of course, cause of death is one of those things. And through toxicology reports and blood tests, you can also discover whether or not drugs were consumed leading up to their death… hell, you can even find out what the person ate the day of.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – What a grim introduction! Well, the script I’m reviewing is very grim and very dark. I’m sure you can tell by the apt title. But this isn’t just your everyday crime thriller or police procedural ala Criminal Minds, Law & Order or any of the CSI shows – this is a morality tale on a smaller, more personal scope that you’d see in an Alfred Hitchcock Presents reboot. And it all takes place in an autopsy room (or whatever the proper term is) where a surgeon examines a cadaver in front of a small group of medical students. And though they find out a lot about this cadaver in particular, its the surgeon that finds out more about himself during the examination in Matthew Taylor’s clever, sharply-written micro-short that’s just as grim as its title, Confessions of a Cadaver.

The story gets right to it, opening on a gloved hand making a Y-shaped incision into the abdomen of the title character, the cadaver.

SURGEON
Male, twenty-five years old.

All business, not a moment of emotional inflection in his voice, the surgeon is accompanied by an assistant/observer as the group of medical students watch attentively. As the surgeon continues to reveal more information about the cadaver while inspecting it, the observer seems to be a little bothered by his coldness and lack of emotion.

OBSERVER
He had a name you know. A life.

Surgeon takes a RIB CUTTER from a table, it GRINDS as it makes contact with bone.

Observer looks away, can’t bear to watch as Surgeon pulls the rib cage out whole, sets it aside.

SURGEON
It’s important to remain emotionally
distant from your patient.

As the examination continues, the surgeon poking, prodding and showing the students the scarred organs (including the heart), we find out that the cadaver has endured drug abuse, alcohol abuse and even further self-harm made evident by the slash marks on its wrists – this was one depressed individual who was battling some serious demons.

But it’s through the observer that we soon find out the cadaver’s name – Henry. In fact, as the surgeon continues to explain every medical detail to the class, the observer, who’s continuously annoyed by the surgeon’s matter-of-fact disposition, reveals more and more detailed information about the subject’s personal life, far beyond the medical aspect.

As we continue to peel away at the onion, layer by layer, a truly shocking reveal is made. This intricately told story has a much deeper theme than what I’ve described so far, but to reveal that theme would be giving away the twist of the story.

I’m a huge fan of Matthew Taylor’s work – I previously reviewed a short of his, Inbox (1), which is still available, by the way. And Confessions of a Cadaver is a big reason why I admire this writer’s work so much. Excellent at creating an eerie tone, the writer also excels at exploring deeper themes that start off as subtle, slowly building to a gut-punch of a reveal. I highly recommend Confessions of a Cadaver to any filmmaker searching for a sharply-written, atmospheric tale that, not only gets under our skin visually, but also emotionally.

Review by Michael J Kospiah
Submitted: October 23, 2019
Last Updated: November 4, 2019

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The Writer: Matthew Taylor

I am a new writer simply trying to bring interesting stories and characters to life. I have no formal training, just a passion to write and hours spent researching and reading. I would like to get involved in the writing community so that we can all help each other to get our stories to the screen. If you are interested in any of my stories, please don't hesitate to contact me. Go to bio

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