Category: blacklist

‘Bad Boy’ — A Thriller From a Dog’s Perspective

Welcome to’s latest roundup. Today, we go over Bad Boy by Travis Braun, which clinched the top spot on the 2023 Blacklist. With a logline of “A rescue dog suspects his loving new owner is a serial killer,” the script immediately promises a unique and riveting narrative.

Movie poster for Bad Boy generated by Dall-E

Emotional Engagement from the Get-Go

One of the standout aspects praised by readers was the unconventional protagonist, Gary — an adorable yet perceptive rescue dog. The simplicity of Gary’s perspective allows readers to project their emotions onto him, creating an engaging and empathetic narrative that is quite liberating, as it suspends the need for grounded realism in favor of emotional relatability.

Gary is later aided by a human, Kat, as he works out what his new owner Cameron is up to.

Tension and Twists

Bad Boy is lauded by our readers for its capability to build intense suspense and deliver unexpected twists. The dog-as-narrator technique offers an unusual reliability shift in the narrative, keeping readers consistently guessing and engaged. Readers enjoyed the script’s many high-stakes moments, especially those where escape seemed within reach only to be snatched away by Cameron, Gary’s enigmatic yet sinister new owner.

The script’s secondary storyline — where a woman, Kat, is initially fearful of dogs but overcomes her trepidation and teams up with Gary — adds depth to the main narrative but also presents a satisfying personal evolution that appeals to animal lovers.


Unique POV: The script’s storytelling through Gary’s perspective was universally praised for its originality. Reviewers felt emotionally connected to Gary, which made the narrative deeply engaging.

Engaging Plot: The pacing and flow of the story stood out, consistently keeping readers on the edge of their seats. The well-placed plot twists and suspenseful moments pulled readers deeper into the mystery, making it hard to put down.

Emotional Engagement: The script successfully evokes empathy for Gary, making readers care deeply about his well-being. The evolving relationship between Gary and Kat added an emotional layer that enhanced the narrative.

Thrills and Tension: The script’s tension-building scenes, particularly the nerve-wracking moments involving Gary aiding Kat, were highly compelling. The clever misdirection regarding the true nature of the antagonist kept readers guessing until the reveal. 

Line chart of reader engagement for a screenplay — Bad Boy

Character Development Needs

While readers loved the dog’s perspective, it does come with its challenges. The feasibility of portraying Gary’s point of view convincingly in film — whether through CGI, animation, or a combination of both — is a topic of debate. Some readers felt that using a real dog for certain scenes might stretch believability, especially during more graphic moments.

Character Development and Goals: While the canine perspective is a strong point, some reviewers felt the human characters, particularly Cameron and Kat, required more depth and character goals. For instance, the motivations behind Cameron’s actions were not entirely convincing.

Realism: There were concerns about certain fantastical elements, like Gary performing complex tasks despite injuries. Balancing these aspects with reality could make the story more believable.

Dialogue: The script’s dialogue, especially that involving Cameron, was seen as somewhat repetitive. Adding more subtext and layers to the interactions could enrich the narrative.

Narrative Consistency: Instances of “info-dumping” and some scenes testing believability were noted. Characters recovering easily from serious injuries and contrived plot points could benefit from revision.

Movie poster for Bad Boy generated by Dall-E

Highlights of the Group Discussion

One significant part of our discussion revolved around balancing realism and narrative freedom. While the dog’s POV was praised for its originality, some stretches of believability might alienate certain audience segments. Suggested improvements included:

Strengthening Character Motivations: Adding more depth to Cameron’s and Kat’s backstories to better justify their actions and reactions.

Revising Specific Scenes: Editing the more gruesome and less believable elements, such as Gary’s post-injury capabilities, for better coherence.

Improving Dialogue: Enriching dialogue with more subtlety and removing repetitive lines to maintain audience engagement.

The potential of adapting the script into an animation or using CGI for the dog was also explored, discussing how each option might impact the film’s reception and believability.

Commercial Potential

Despite its imperfections, Bad Boy holds considerable commercial appeal, especially among dog lovers and fans of thrillers. It’s a rare blend of heartwarming pet story and dark thriller, making it a unique proposition for filmmakers. The script’s originality, paired with its emotional depth, can indeed make it a standout feature in a market hungry for fresh narratives.


Overall, Bad Boy by Travis Braun is a compelling script with a unique take on the thriller genre. While it requires some refinements, particularly in character development and structural pacing, the core narrative — a dog suspecting his owner is a serial killer — is engaging and holds high potential for both critical and commercial success.

For those interested in an emotionally-charged, suspenseful ride through the eyes of a loyal dog, Bad Boy might just be the next big hit.