Director’s Script-Don’t Put Down the Knife
Intro- We are outside an aged building, at the side door. It is early evening. A gentle, quiet echo of something similar to “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals plays in the background.
We see Marissa, a woman aged in her late 20s/early 30s, and she is on her cell phone as she plays with the bundle of keys in her hand.
Excellent, I’ll see ya at 10.
Marissa checks her watch.
(She talks with her hands and gestures her relief at being alone for once.)
Myeah, it’s only 6 now. Four
hours is plenty of prep time… I’ll be the only one in there so no distractions!!
This will be so cool, as creepy as it is.
Kiss, kiss too!
[View from rear]She snaps her cell phone shut and unlocks hall door.
[View from inside and up the stairs facing down onto her] She unarms and resets the alarm, and then puts on headphones, and hauls up a tool box.
[View from bottom of the steps] She runs up the stairs with an extra skip in her step. She giggles.
No kids, no kids!
She disappears from frame into the banquet room.
We come into the kitchen via the banquet room. Follow her in. In the kitchen, wide angle, the large counter/island is front and center; we see the sinks and large door to walk-in cooler in the background, stoves/ovens to the left, and stainless steel fridges to the right. Music plays in the background via Marissa’s headphones.
Marissa is depositing her jacket and popping open her tool box.
[Focus] Marissa’s hand is taking the knives out of the tool box and deposits them onto the island in an orderly fashion.
[View from behind] Marissa is in the walk-in cooler. We are noting the “ordinariness” of it. Marissa pulls out x amount of food to cut up. She tosses them into a bus pan along with a couple of bowls.
(She is humming what is blaring out of her head phones.)
[View from sinks] She hip checks the door closed. We follow her as she tosses the bus pan onto the counter next to a cutting board.
[View from Banquet Room doorway, focus at hand washing sink] Marissa is washing her hands.
[First person POV] See the knives through Marissa’s eyes. View darts to the closed doors.
[View from Banquet Room doorway] Music stops as Marissa pulls off her head phones momentarily, wet handed, with a quick snap. It is quiet safe for the trickling of the water.
[First person POV]Eyes dart to the walk-in cooler.
[View from Banquet Room doorway] She shrugs and tosses her head phones back on. The music starts back up again.
Marissa dries her hands, walks over to the island, grabs a box of gloves, and puts a pair on.
[Focus on knife/food] The chopping is slow and rhythmic.
[Open up] Marissa dances like no one is watching.
[View from sinks]
[Focus]We see shadows moving around on the other side of the banquet room door. The shadow moves from the other side to the inside of the door. It moves closer to Marissa.
[Open up] She looks up momentarily, pausing, and nothing is there. She continues chopping.
A loud banging noise issues from out in the main hall.
Marissa is abruptly startled. She cuts her finger, mildly, in surprise. She whips off the head phones.
The music stops, replaced by white, snowy noise.
[View from stoves] She sticks a finger into her mouth.
(She curses around it)
We are still in the kitchen. It is quiet, too quiet. So quiet that Marissa’s breath and the quickening pace of her heart beat is clearly audible.
[View from Banquet Room doorway] Marissa pulls her finger from her mouth and removes her glove. She looks to the bathroom hallway door and shouts.
She opens the door to the bathroom hall way.
(Marissa sighs audibly)
[View from inside hallway to the kitchen] Looking around, Marissa sees nothing or hears nothing. Nothing is heard but the sounds of light static and fans running.
[First person view] We look down the hallway. Marissa shouts again.
[View from inside hallway to the kitchen] Marissa goes to leave the kitchen to investigate but looks back into the kitchen.
[Focus onto knife on island from hallway door] Marissa arms herself with her chef’s knife. She leaves frame, heading out the banquet room door.
We are at the doorway from which she entered the building. The atmosphere is relatively quiet but subtle bangs from the radiators could be heard along with a ringing white noisy sound.
[View from door way to upstairs] Marissa double checks the alarm and yes, it is armed.
(In a sarcastic tone)
Oh lovely. It is armed
[Wide shot from half way up the stairs looking down] She cocks her head to the side (to the basement) and clenching the knife tighter in her grip. She hauls herself over the banister and peeks into the basement.
(Marissa shouts at the top of her lungs.)
[View from above looking down onto Marissa’s head]We hear children laughing and running around in the main hall as she awaits a response while leaning on the banister. She curses.
(In a worried yet annoyed tone.)
What the fuck?!
[View from the bottom of the stairs looking to the top] She tucks the knife blade along her forearm and storms up the stairs.
(She mutters under her breath)
I told him to keep the kids at home!
Marissa shouts out to the top of the stairs.
(The tone is playful yet threatening)
Where are you?
Mommy’s comin’ to get you!
She curses under her breath.
What the hell are they doing
I told him I wanted to be alone!
Marissa reaches the top and peeks around the corner hoping to get a glimpse of her children.
[First person POV] We see nothing out of the ordinary.
[View from the foyer] She is tapping the knife’s blade against the wall.
On the way to the foyer, she passes by each door, she wriggles the knob to make sure that they are locked, and they are.
[View from the hall’s doorway]Reaching the main foyer, she shouts out again.
[View from inside the hall looking out] Marissa tip toes to the main hall’s door hoping to surprise the kids. We hear little footprints skitter across the floor accompanied with little girl giggles. She looks around the corner to see the hall empty.
[Quick view from rear of hall looking at the stage, wide angle] Marissa is in the center of the hall and looking around.
[View from a top the stage, wide angle] Marissa is in the center of the hall and looking around.
Hey guys, this isn’t funny!
[View from stage steps closest to bar] Marissa is pulling on the bar’s gates, which are locked.
[View over Marissa’s shoulder] Marissa is on the stage, checking behind the curtains, checking in other various nooks, and looking in the many crannies.
[View from the back of the stage or from floor looking up to Marissa] Marissa is standing at the edge of the stage with her empty hand on her hip, the other hand limply tapping the blade of her knife against her leg. She shouts out.
(The shout is from the gut and belly-loud)
The vents click and clatter causing her to jump to the side. She giggles retardedly. The cogs are sinking into place however…
Who the hell was running?
She stops that thought dead. The white noise grows intensely louder.
(Her voice is higher pitched, a little frightened, and quiet.)
What the hell sounded like my girls?
We are in the kitchen. The sun has completely set, and lighting is 100% dependant on the fluorescent lights above. Everything is still set as Marissa had left it- food out, bloodied latex glove on the cutting board, and mp3 player on the island.
[View from stoves]. Marissa is picking up her cell phone, which is in her jacket pocket lying on the island, but the batteries are dead.
But I just charged it!!
She drops the cell as the lights go out. Marissa squeals- startled.
[View is darkness for a bit with sounds of rustling about] Marissa stumbles about in the inky blackness looking for light.
Where the hell??
[Close shot of lighter/Marissa’s face] A small flame flickers to view from a lighter. Marissa walks slowly to the cupboard with the chafing dish burners, sticking the blade of her knife between her teeth, pulls one out, lights it, and places it carefully onto the counter. “I’m not sick, but I’m not well” by Lit starts playing quietly in the background. She does the same with three more.
[View from hall door way looking into Banquet room] Marissa deposits a burner on a table. Blade still stuck between her teeth- her hands are full.
[View from foyer] At the top of stairs, she deposits another burner and takes the knife, slowly, from her mouth. Marissa grips the handle tightly, looking down the stairs. She takes in a deep breath and walks out of frame down the steps.
[View from upstairs doorway, close shot] Marissa is holding the last burner and is about to open the door.
[First person POV] Marissa checks to see that her knife is on the bottom stair where she had put it. It is there, safe and sound.
[View from upstairs doorway, close shot] She tries to open the door but it doesn’t budge. Next, she is hip checking the door, it is jammed. She cups her hand to the window but cannot see outside despite a supposedly clear night.
(She whines and starts to panic.)
Marissa slams her body onto the door, nearly dropping the burner in her hand.
[View from above, looking down onto her head] She goes to grab her knife from off the stair, looking up at the door. She feels around blindly. Finally, Marissa brings the burner down to the step… the knife is no longer there.
(She whines in a higher pitch.)
[View from upstairs doorway, close shot] Now it is time to cry, which she does and bangs her fist onto the door.
(In a simpery and sobby voice.)
Come on you stupid son of a
[Shot looking down the stairs]A sound echoes from the basement.
[Still from down the stairs looking up to Marissa] She shouts at the top of her lungs, panicked, to the basement.
Ho no, no, no.
She shakes her head and leans over the banister, still yelling.
You are just
You are noisy.
NOW SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!!
[View from the bottom stairs, close shot] The noise stops. She giggles stupidly, tears streaming from her eyes, momentarily forgetting her knife’s disappearance.
[First person POV] Marissa looks up to see the burner, flickering idly, at the top of the steps.
[View over Marissa’s shoulder] She is at the top of the steps where she bends from the second to last stair, in a semi-prone position, to grab the burner. She is just above eye level from the floor. A foot away, to the right, from the burner is the knife. She starts mildly, and reaches over to grab it. She notices something on the floor another foot or so to the left, beyond the bend toward the foyer. Marissa paws around for the burner, keeping her eyes on the “something” on the floor, and burns herself.
She grabs the burner and swings it to the knife all in one swift motion, moving nothing.
[Focus slowly up the floor] We see chalk writing which is crooked and asymmetrical.
I am watching you.
She snatches the knife and the burner and “lies” there, hyperventilating, for a moment or two.
What am I gonna do?
What am I gonna do?
[Close up on Marissa] Her eyes are darting to all directions.
[First person POV]We see that nothing is moving, looking down to the foyer, to the banquet room, up the conjoining stairs. We hear walking noises and faint music issuing from the hall. Marissa talks to herself, not quite believing her words.
I shouldn’t panic...
[View from foyer hall way] Marissa stands up, keeping her eyes on the chalk writing.
Okay, I ah, I have a kitchen.
Marissa grips the knife and checks her watch.
[Focus on watch] “8:30PM”
…An hour and a half to go.
[View from foyer hall way] Peering down at the burner, she reads and sighs a little relieved.
[Focus onto burner] “Burns for 6+ hours.”
We are back in the kitchen, however this time it is dark and the intensity of the white noise is at an all time high.
[View from coffee cubby area] Marissa places as many burners as humanly possible onto the counter/island and lights them all. [make it choppy and scattered]
[View from stoves] She is rifling through cupboards.
(Repeating haphazardly and under her breath.)
Marissa holds a container full of salt close to her face, looking at it scrutinizingly.
I hear salt works!
Cut to lining door ways and windows with salt.
[View from banquet room door]Marissa checks her phone which is still dead.
Cut to checking lights which are still dead.
She lurches over and dry heaves with one hand on the wall, knife still clenched in her fist. Between heaves she mutters.
Cut to grabbing jacket.
Cut to grabbing salt.
Cut to grabbing a burner or two off the island.
Cut to wrenching open the walk-in.
[First person POV] Marissa is looking into the walk-in cooler which is littered with children’s clothing hanging all willy nilly, tattered and torn, and blood stained.
[View from inside walk-in] Marissa doesn’t scream but damn near faints… and then covers her mouth with her hand while tears stream violently from her eyes.
We are now in the dark bathroom which is illuminated by one burner and light streaming in from the one window at the far end of the room, past the stalls. The burner rests on the counter bordering a massive mirror. The woman’s washroom is relatively spacious with three stalls. The sinks are opposing the mirror. We hear more clinks and clonks from the fans. A slow and creepy tune is playing as background music.
[Angled view, downward close shot] Viewing the burner and the knife on the counter, we are seeing Marissa’s feet out the edge of the stall, and hear her whimpering pathetically between retching vigorously into a toilet.
[View close-up of mirror] On the mirror, there is bloody writing, written in the same asymmetrical scrawl as the chalk.
I am watching you.
[Wide shot from door] Marissa gets out of the stall and quickly heads off to splash water on her face- ignoring the mirror completely. She turns around to grab her knife and burner and sees the writing. Now she screams.
[Shot from behind at the sinks] She looks to the door but hears footsteps on the other side (in the hall). She looks to the window. There is writing on the window.
You are pretty when you puke.
She starts crying again.
Oh my fucking god…
She lumbers slowly to the light switch and flicks it off and on again, which is, of course, dead.
[Shot from kitchen door] Cut to sticking her head out the bathroom door and looking all three ways, seeing nothing with her hand/burner whipping around.
Cut to checking all other exits to the upper level. Gates are locked.
[Shot from landing, focus on Marissa]She leans against them and sobs helplessly.
[Focus on gates] She hauls herself off of them and doesn’t turn around. More tattered children’s clothing is hanging from the gates.
[Wide shot from the bottom]Cut to the top of the basement steps. She bites her bottom lips and hyper-ventilates a little.
Cut to slow-mo of walking downstairs, with heavy breathing.
We are now at the foot of the stairs. The boiler makes noises again and a loud child-like scream echoes from the hall. Marissa buckles over in fright and knocks her knees together in the pee-pee dance manner. She drops her burner and knife. She slams her body against the wall.
(Desperation growing in her voice… panicked and manic)
[Shot over Marissa’s shoulder] Cut to looking down a random hallway, and seeing a door open to a fully lit room.
Cut to running down said hallway. Sounds of running footsteps thunder behind her.
Fade to black.
[Fade open] A man, presumably Marissa’s husband Paul, opens the door at the end of the hallway.
Honey, you okay?
Marissa, catatonic, rocks back and forth, wide eyed.
Fade to black.
[Shot over Paul’s shoulder] Paul unlocks the front door. He unsets the alarm. He calls out his arrival.
Sweetie, its 10 o’clock!
The lack of noise unsettles him so he trudges up the stairs and into the kitchen to go see her.
(Thinking out loud)
I’ll bet she’s got her music maxed again…
He reaches the kitchen and nothing is disturbed. The food, partly chopped, is still lying on the cutting board. There is no sign of any burners anywhere. The salt is non-existent. The cupboards are no longer mussed up. Paul shrugs. Shouting loudly he calls for Marissa.
(Thinking out loud)
She should hear me in the bathroom.
[First person POV] His eyes quickly dart over to the open walk-in cooler’s (which is back to normal… no evidence of Tom Foolery here) door. He scoffs.
[Over the shoulder] Paul shuts the door and proceeds to the bathroom. She isn’t there either.
Where are ya?!
Cut to a variety of places in the hall- noting how empty and ordinary it looks.
[Wide shot from within the room] Paul opens the door to the last room where we saw Marissa. Marissa’s phone is open on the desk.
Fade to black.