When a bed-ridden teen discovers his online crush has been murdered, he vows to hunt down her killer – before the serial psychopath strikes again.
Limited location. It’s a popular genre in films, these days. The indie appeal is obvious; less locations means lower budget. And the ability to focus one’s funding on what truly counts: drop dead cinematography, great actors. And of course – a riveting plot and script. What could be better than that? Why – single location, of course! And before you claim “too extreme!” look what’s come out of that ethos… Buried. Cube. Moon. The Descent. Not to mention older favorites, too. Twelve Angry Men. Night of the Living Dead (mostly). And who can forget: Rear Window.
Ah yes, the classic Rear Window. In a film often considered Hitchcock’s best, Jimmy Stewart plays a photographer – confined to his apartment by a broken leg. He passes the time watching his neighbors out the window. He begins to suspect a murder has been commited. But what can one crippled man do?
A fascinating premise, chock full of possibilities. What if… one were to skew that concept more towards horror – updated for internet reality? That’d pack audiences in. And the name of it would be…
This time, our hero’s name is Dave. An awkward hacker teen, convalescing at home: having barely survived getting hit by a mack truck. Both legs in casts (take that, Stewart! And you were crippled by just one leg!) Even worse, Dave’s got amnesia. Short term memory loss. Sure, he remembers the mistakes of his younger days. But the accident and high school friends? That part’s a big sucking blank. Needless to say, Dave’s lonely. All he’s got left is his widowed mother, Ruth. But ever since his father’s suicide, Ruth hasn’t been – shall we say – “all there”?
Bored and suffering. Dave whiles away the time popping pain pills and watching newscasts on TV. There’s a serial killer named Slayer on the loose – killing girls and stealing their designer shoes. And when that gets too repetitive, there’s always stuff to browse online. One night, Dave surfs over to a live girl porn-cast…. But the transmission gets re-routed, Face-timing Dave with Clare. A sweet beautiful girl, with large brown eyes. Definitely not the flash-for-cash type. Despite the initial misunderstanding, there’s instant chemistry between the teens. Over the next several days, Dave and Clare Skype-chat (always at 3pm, like clockwork). Their attraction is palpable. Everything seems to be looking up. Until Clare turns away from the screen briefly – revealing fatal stab wounds across her back.
A horrified Dave terminates the transmission. He Googles psychics, and hooks up with Mystic Mary – a faceless woman who confirms the truth. Clare’s dead – a victim of the Slayer. And she doesn’t even know it yet!
Confused, Dave grapples with his feelings – including a deep emotional connection to Clare. Contacted by a female detective (Lucy) on the “Slayer” case, Dave vows to shield Clare from the hideous truth. And help bring her killer to justice.
But that’s a promise easier said than done. Hallucinating from pain medication and subject to his mother’s increasingly violent tirades, Dave can’t even save himself. How in hell will he solve a murder – and protect Clare’s ghost?
You think you know where this is going? You don’t. Though confined to Dave’s bedroom, Offline serves up tons of twists and turns. A gem of an affordable script in a tiny space, Offline keeps its readers guessing to the very end. Complete with a “Jimmy” of it’s own (read it and see), the story’s a modern Rear Window – mixed with Paranormal Activity. If he were alive today, Hitchcock would be scratching at his coffin. Not to mention proud.
About the writer: Gary Rowlands cut his teeth writing sketch comedy and was a commissioned writer on the hugely popular Spitting Image broadcast on national television in the UK. He has since branched out into writing features and is actively seeking representation. He can be contacted at gazrow at hotmail dot com.
Budget: Blissfully indie! Just one location, and a handful of actors. There’s a bit of blood and FX involved – but this is one indie horror that truly focuses on atmosphere, acting and story!
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