All We Leave Behind by Paul Rowe | Script Revolution

All We Leave Behind

A Veteran sells a Vietnamese charm to keep his children’s inheritance intact, unknowingly reawakening a curse that threatens his family’s very existence.



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n 1969, army soldier Willy attends a funeral in Viet Nam where a woman hands him a charm to protect him from a curse. He's warned to never give away the coins or Ma Lai will come for him.

Cut to present-day Georgia. Willy, now 70, fishes with his intelligent grandson, Andre. Andre says that there are ghosts in the river, but Willy dismisses him. Willy takes Andre to the bathroom, first inspecting the bathroom to see if anyone's in it. While Andre does his business, Willy asks Andre about ghosts and if he's ever seen one. However, a homeless man blocks the entrance and terrifies Willy and Andre. Andrew falls and hits his head, causing it to bleed.

Willy finds out that his insurance company is going to take his house if he can't make payments. He's having financial problems because he's paying for medical bills and his family needs to live in the house. At home, Willy tries to figure out how much money he can make by selling off some of his things.

Willy goes to a pawnshop to sell off the charm that was given to him in Viet Nam. At the store, Andre is given a lollypop by the owner, and Willy puts his guard up, warning Andre not to take things from strangers. The man at the pawnshop gives Willy a good deal because he knows that Willy has hit hard times after he lost his daughter.

Back at home, Willy looks at a picture of Yen, a woman he knew in Viet Nam, and the photo appears to scream. Andre tells Willy that ghosts can get into his brain, and Willy swaps out Andre's ghost book with a math book.

After dropping off Andre, Willy gets food. He's friendly with the restaurant owner and speaks in Vietnamese. Willy is given a plastic charm that looks like the one he just sold, and the owner looks concerned when Willy says he sold it.

Willy comes home and tries to relax from his stressful day. But he sees Yen floating in his house. Yen bleeds and is full of bullet holes. But just then, Willy wakes up. It was a dream.

Meanwhile, Willy's neighbor dies in a gruesome and bizarre death.

Willy goes over to his family's house where his daughter gives him a hard time trying to pay her student loans. Willy meets Zahra, who just moved in next door, and is caught checking her out. Dub has a seizure but issues an ominous message to Willy. Willy hallucinates Dub's eyes turning into slot machines. Dub attacks Willy and disappears. The police can't find him. Willy meets Nurse Amy, a new nurse who gives them a tranquilizer if Dub returns

The next day, Willy fixes the house while the search for Dub continues. Pamala is worried and Willy comforts her. Andre is caught trying to steal leftovers for Dub.

Willy has a flashback to Viet Nam. The villagers see something strange, but Willy doesn't know what it is. He sees Yen, pregnant, and tries to go to her. Willy and his men are shot at by a strange man, and Yen is shot to death.

At the Chinese restaurant, Bian asks about his charm and Willy says he sold it. Bian gives Willy the charm and says he has to keep it. There's a curse on him that hurts others around Willy. Willy refuses to take it, but Bian insists so Willy finally takes it. While Willy and Bian talk, one of the restaurant workers gets injured in a fry basket.

Willy goes back home and Zahra shows him where a bunch of cats has been killed. Zahra thinks it's Dub, but Willy has his doubts. When Zahra's back is turned, Willy is frightened by a pregnant cat. Zahra goes back inside her house and is attacked by Dub - and Ma Lai.

Pamela says she got a new job which will require her to travel. Willy doesn't like that she will have to be away from Andre.

Willy picks up Andre from school and has another dream about Viet Nam. Willy and Yen share a sweet moment, but when he puts his hand next to Yen's face, it gets stuck. His hands get sucked into her bullet holes and he screamed for help. A shrouded woman comes out and places a curse on Willy. He screams that it's not his fault.

Pamela calls and says they've found Dub. He was in the park his mother used to take him to. Willy says he's going to head over, grabbing a knife and calling the cops before he goes. Willy then finds Nurse Amy decapitated. Willy hears sirens and retreats from the body - only to find Vietnamese characters drawn in her blood.

Willy and his family go to a hotel room. Pamela and Tamela get into a fight, with Tamela storing out. Willy says he needs to go back to the house but not before trying to play matchmaker between Pamela and the officer watching them.

At his house, Willy tries to call all of the people he was in the army with, but their numbers are disconnected or they've died. Willy talks to the widow of one of his men and asks about the charm. She says that her son-in-law has it. He asks what happened to her daughter, but she doesn't answer.

Willy goes next door and finds that the demon has a hold of his neighbor and is possessing him. Willy tries to fight back, but nothing works - not even the charm. Willy manages to escape and heads to the Chinese restaurant.

Willy explains why he is cursed. Yen and his child died in an ambush and he was blamed for it. Bian tells Willy he has to fight the demon so the curse will end. Bian and Willy prepare to fight Ma Lai.

Willy goes back to the hotel where Andre is missing. They realize that Andre went back to the house and head over.

They look for Andre in the house. Zahra's ghost grabs a hold of Andre. They fight with the demon, and Willy comes face to face with the ghost. They fight back, and Nurse Amy's ghost awakens to attack the family. After struggling with Ma Lai, they set the house on fire to kill her. The family escapes from the fire, rescuing Zahra as well.

They watch as the house burns. Andre asks about his home and Willy reminds him that his family is home.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

Screenwiter's Network (Sokolov Award) - Third Place
Barnstorm Fest - The Short List (2021)
HorrorFest International - Finalist
Hollywood Blood Horror Festival - Finalist - Finalist
Fade-In Awards (Horror) - Semifinalist
SWN (SOKOLOW AWARD) - Semifinalist
StoryPros Awards - Quarterfinalist
WriteMovies Horror Awards- Semifinalist
Filmatic Horror Screenplay Awards - Semifinalist
The Script Lab (Coverage) - Consider

Submitted: December 6, 2020
Last Updated: January 1, 2022

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This Script Is Loved By 4 Readers

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The Writer: Paul Rowe

Paul is an award-winning screenwriter, director, and producer out of Columbus, GA with notables in Austin, Page, StoryPros, Save the Cat!, and more. He is a member of Columbus State University's Rankin Screenwriter's group which focuses on amplifying the local film community and immersing new writers into the craft of screenwriting. Go to bio

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