The logline: "A father and son find themselves trapped in the Bermuda Triangle after embarking on a quest to discover what happened to the father’s missing parents."
INT. DANIEL’S APARTMENT - BEDROOM - NIGHT
Just the barest amount of moonlight shows a man fast asleep, on one side of a king-size bed. The other side is empty, the bed covers still neatly made.
On the bedside table, his PHONE lights up with an incoming call. No ring, no vibrate. Three lights, and then it goes black again.
You’ve reached Daniel and Susan! We might be off scuba diving.
Or sky diving!
Or at the Y, just plain diving.
Leave us a message, and we’ll get back to you.
DANIEL AND SUSAN (V.O.)
Bye! Bye! Bye!
An older woman begins to speak. She’s not leaving a message. Instead, it sounds like one-half of a conversation. The other half goes unheard. The older woman’s voice is weak, sometimes fading out, only to roar back with sudden volume.
But why are you doing this? Don’t you think it’s time to
stop fooling around?
I’m just so tired. So very tired.
I don’t know what to do. It seems like everything is
wrong. There’s a doll dancing in the ballroom.
But what do you want?
Then a THUMP. Another. The origin of the sound is impossible to determine. A storm of static overwhelms the line for a moment. Then a low, low creaking. Footsteps on old boards.
Laughter, far away. Dark, maniacal. You strain, lean forward, trying hard to hear.
Ernestine’s voice returns, incredibly close. As though she’s speaking right in your ear.
Won’t you come, Daniel? Won’t
you come, won’t you come,
won’t you come, won’t you come, won’t you--
The night continues on. The man in the bed sleeps, blissfully unaware for a few more precious hours.
A real dive, viewed through a cell phone camera. GARRETT PARK (19) mugs for the camera. Community college shirt, goofy grin.
Welcome to the second leg of Spring Break 2012!
Today we’re at Bermuda’s in Jersey, a
place that smells like they’ve been
using the same oil to fry in since my Pops
fought in the Korean War. Which is to say, it smells amazing.
Tell them what we’re going to eat!
We’re going to eat...this.
An icon shows up on the screen - a phone.
Oh shit, Garrett, you have a call. It’s your dad.
He can wait.
INT. DANIEL’S APARTMENT - DAY
Garrett enters with CHLOE MURPHY (20). Pretty rather than beautiful, quiet, a little shy. Both of their moods are now very grave.
God, the last time I saw them, after graduation,
Gran called me Daniel twice. If it’s Alzheimer’s,
we’ll have to sell the house, move them up to New York.
What a nightmare.
You already have a bag packed? We’re
leaving for the airport in ten minutes.
Are Pops and Gran all right?
Daniel drives the rental car, knuckles white on the steering wheel. Eyes worried, haunted. Garrett and Chloe sit in the back, take in the view. Seagulls glide overhead. Peaceful.
So, Chloe. Are you looking forward to the adventure?
Hunting down clues, figuring out
“The Mystery of the Missing Grandparents?”
Seems like a pretty fun game.
I think there aren’t many things more
important than supporting those you love.
Oh, Chloe. You’d be surprised.
Maybe that’s so, but I’m here for you
now, Mr. Park. For whatever you need.
EXT. SUGARLOAF SHORES - NIGHT
A small unincorporated community. A bit kitschy, once-bright paint now sun-faded and weathered, the road bordered by tourist traps.
Chloe stares out the window as they pass through an empty stretch of highway. A tall WOODEN TOWER seems to loom overhead, pitch black against gaunt gray clouds.
Dark things fly out. BATS. They flood into the night.
Chloe shivers, turns away.
EXT. GRAVEL ROAD - NIGHT
They turn off the highway, onto a narrow gravel road. No streetlights out here. Every now and then, the rental car’s headlights illuminate old abandoned buildings. A truck pulled off to the side, driver’s door hanging open, as though the driver will be right back.
My grandparents used to be able to say
they lived in Perky, Florida. It’s a ghost town, now.
The mood in the car becomes more tense. Watchful.
The ghost town peters out, and they drive through darkness. Wilderness. The sound of the OCEAN becomes louder than the car’s engine, than their breathing, than everything. A low sursurrus. It’s almost hypnotic.
Daniel’s eyes start to flutter closed. That background murmur of the ocean waves starts to sound like a heartbeat.
His head bobs, dips. Fingers loosen, slip from the wheel.
The car drifts to the left. Blackness looming, ready to swallow them up.
Jesus, Dad! Wake up!
Chloe’s heavy breathing has a slightly hysterical edge to it. She can’t stop looking out all the windows.
What do you think happened? I’ve been
up for thirty straight hours.
If you would let me drive--
I’m not having this conversation
with you. Not here, not now.
Why does it have to be “a conversation”?
I’m nineteen, Dad, I can drive a car.
There’s a car already parked on the long circle drive. Daniel drives up to park beside it. The side reads: MORGAN COUNTY SHERIFF.
The Sheriff himself, SHERIFF EASTON (60), sits on the front porch. A big man, once muscular, now gone to fat. The chair he’s in gives out a loud creak as he stands, hand extended.
You must be Sheriff Easton.
I’m Daniel Park. Won’t you come in?
Hope you don’t take offense, Mr. Park, but
I’ve been out here at your folks’ place all day,
and I’ve got a long drive ahead of me.
I just wanted to brief you in person.
You didn’t find them?
Would have called you if I had, son. Now,
we been through the whole house twice, and the
outbuildings at that. No signs of forced entry or
violence. Miami’s sending down search
and rescue tomorrow or the next day, K-9 units.
Now they’re around here somewhere, and we’ll find
them. I promise you that. We’ll find them. In the
meantime, you folks look like you could use
some shut-eye. Get situated, get some
rest, and I’ll be back in the morning.
Thank you again, Sheriff.
INT. PARK ESTATE - PARLOR - NIGHT
The one light is in this room - an old lamp. The light flickers unsteadily. The room is dusty, but otherwise in order. No signs of violence, like Easton said.
Daniel and Garrett carry in the suitcases. Chloe trails behind, looking younger than her years. A woman who still believes in ghost stories. She keeps her back to the wall.
There are two guest bedrooms down the hall from here.
I think I’m going to walk around. I’m not sure
that asshole would know if anything were missing or out of place.
INT. GUEST BEDROOM - NIGHT
A porcelain figurine frozen mid-dance, one hand delicately extended. Chloe picks the dancer up, studies her. She jumps when Garrett dumps their suitcases on the floor.
Do you care if we don’t unpack? That’s always my
least favorite part of staying in a hotel. Putting
everything into drawers, then a couple days
later, packing it all back up.
Your dad said two guest rooms. Do you think
he meant for us to each take one?
(flops onto the bed)
I don’t really care what he meant.
He’s not angry with you. He’s just worried
about his parents.
Thank you, Miss Psych Major.
I do not want to be the peanut butter in a jerk
sandwich for the next few days, so kindly
get over whatever is going on.
If my Dad loses them, after everything that
happened this year, it’ll break him. It’ll just absolutely break him.
We’ll find them, like the Sheriff said. I bet they
were playing pinochle with friends or something,
and when they were driving home they turned left
instead of right. Got confused, kept driving. They’re
probably staying with some good
Samaritan right now, trying to remember their phone number.
INT. UPSTAIRS HALLWAY - NIGHT
Daniel walks down the long, dark corridor. Patches of moonlight stream in through the windows, but they’re faint, ghostly. Doors hang open. Many of the rooms are empty. Others are filled with plastic-covered furniture.
Daniel stops to examine a picture hanging on the wall. A man in uniform, a woman in a white dress. A WEDDING PHOTO, black and white, from the 50s. He runs a finger down the glass.
INT. MASTER BEDROOM - NIGHT
A king-sized bed. One side is neatly made. On the other, rumpled covers turned back.
Daniel walks to the rumpled side. On the night table, a jar of water. DENTURES inside. Daniel lifts the glass. Stares.
He puts it down quickly, as though it has burned him.
INT. GUEST BEDROOM - NIGHT
Garrett and Chloe are under the covers, snuggling close.
How long have your grandparents lived down here?
Oh, God, thirty years? Forty? First it was the winter
house, then after Pops retired they moved here permanently.
Did you visit them down here a lot?
Usually a whole month in the summer. We would fish,
go shrimping, paint some seriously ugly watercolors,
hike to town to buy groceries. You know, when it was
the middle of the winter back home, and I’d lie in bed,
freezing no matter how many blankets I piled on top,
I would just think about the sunset over the
ocean, the feel of sand between my toes, and
before I knew it, I’d be asleep.
It’s just my dad. He almost falls asleep at
the wheel, and now he’s walking around the house. Smart guy.
They walk again to the left. This time they stop right above her. Slowly, she tugs the sheet up over her shoulders.
Hey, Chloe. Did you hear what I said?
We can get up early. Run into town and
buy some groceries before search and rescue show up?
Yeah. Yeah, that sounds fine.
INT. BALLROOM - NIGHT
The central feature of the huge house. Big floor-to-ceiling windows cover two of the walls, one showing off a view of the black ocean waves crashing onto land. A chandelier hangs overhead, though when Daniel tries the switch, it stays dark.
He walks to the windows, looks out. The black stalks of beach grass wave in the breeze. The sound of the sea is a constant.
Daniel gets out his cell phone. He brings up Ernestine’s “message,” but he turns it off almost as soon as she starts talking. Shoves the phone in his pocket.
He stalks back to the door, done with meandering. Then he steps on something, pulls up short. Kneels to see what it is.
A RAGDOLL. Dirty gray and limp, one of its button eyes missing. Daniel drops it, then backs away from it, keeping his eyes on it until he makes it to the door.
He goes into--
Walking faster and faster. It’s a dark maze, this section of the house. Each time he has to walk past one of those open doors, he can’t help but take a quick peek into the rooms.
Empty. Empty. Plastic-covered chairs. Empty. Empty. A woman.
Daniel stops, turns back.
INT. GUEST BEDROOM - NIGHT
Garrett and Chloe sleep, wrapped up in each other’s arms. The sound of the ocean is pleasant, comforting.
From the dresser across the room, the porcelain dancer stands, pointed at the bed. Her eyes seem to watch them sleep, sad and knowing.
The ghost town isn’t so scary in the daylight. It looks a bit sad, the buildings like toys that have been tossed aside.
Garrett drives, and Chloe looks out the window.
What is it? Did I hit something?
Why did they build this?
Bats eat mosquitoes. There’s a lot of mosquitoes down here.
Hey, kiddo. I thought we were going to get groceries?
Chloe, come on. I want to get back before Sheriff Easton shows up.
Jesus, that hurt! What the hell is the matter with you?
You were just...
I was just looking at the stupid bat tower. God.
INT. GROCERY STORE - DAY
A small four-aisle affair. Garrett’s on aisle one, Chloe’s on aisle four. They could see each other over the top of the shelves, but they don’t look at each other.
One kind of soup. Hope you like
chicken noodle soup.
It’s a MISSING PERSON sign.
“Have you seen MARJORIE O’HARA? She was last seen November 8 2002 at the Sugarloaf Lodge. She is 72 YEARS OLD, FIVE FOOT THREE, and 165 POUNDS. Please call 555-2841.”
There is a grainy black-and-white photo on the sign. A smiling elderly woman. Someone’s Grandma.
Garrett’s cell phone RINGS. He jumps, drops the bread.
There’s this bird walking along the fence.
I don’t know why you won’t just listen to me.
I was trying to do you a favor. We need to eat
while we’re down here. I’ve been driving for three
years, I don’t know why you’re making such
a stupid goddamned big deal about it.
I’m just so tired.
I get that, Dad. So let me help out.
Won’t you come? Garrett, won’t you come?
Jesus, I’ll be right back.
Chloe? Let’s go. Whatever you’ve picked out is fine.
Sugarloaf Shores. It sounds like something from a song.
Garrett and Chloe pull around the circle drive. Sheriff Easton’s car is parked where it was the night before. He sits on the front porch like he did the night before.
Garrett and Chloe carry their grocery sacks to the porch. The Sheriff rises to join them.
Good news, Sheriff?
‘Fraid not. Search and Rescue
won’t be down till tomorrow.
What’s the hold-up?
Morgan County doesn’t have our own. We’ve got to borrow
the dogs from Miami-Dade, and you can imagine how much use they get up there.
Did you already tell my dad?
Never answered his phone. Showed up, saw the
rental was gone, and figured you folks ran
into town for supplies. I did knock, but no one answered.
All right, well thanks, Sheriff. I guess we’ll
get this inside. Please call us if you hear anything.
Of course, son. You two take care.
INT. PARK ESTATE - KITCHEN
Chloe carefully stacks her cans of soup in the cabinet.
Do you think this house is haunted?
Pops built it. You have to have dead people in
a house for it to be haunted, and no one’s ever died here.
That’s not how it was in Poltergeist. What if
this house is on an old burial ground?
There’s nothing wrong with the house!
EXT. PARK ESTATE - BEACH - DAY
Garrett walks out to the gray surf. The day’s a bit gloomy, overcast. He plops down in the sand.
Down by the shore, a short, rickety fence meanders in a wavy line. A SEAGULL stands atop the rail, facing into the wind. Garrett sees it, and he scrambles back up, looking around.
No one else is on the shore. Garrett turns back to the house.
DANIEL stands in one of the second-floor rooms, looking out the window, down at Garrett. No recognition in his face, but he turns away just as Garrett sees him.
Garrett goes back inside the house.