Breather by Barry Staff | Script Revolution


Wanting up before oxygen expires, a woman in a tiny, malfunctioned submersible needs to overcome others obstructing all her attempts to resurface the vessel. (contained, with NO water involved: 'Buried' in 'The Abyss')



Page Count: 



Age Rating:


Geographer ANNA (30s) has cadged a dive in a one-compartment, tiny sub, which has now suffered catastrophic systems failure. Technician POWERS (male) and pilot SPICER (female) put the problems down to the outdated vessel being given them. As oxygen depletes in confinement lit only by a Zippo, a torch, the LEDs and a monitor conflicting values boil. A patch to the mothership, via the umbilical cable it's coupled to, has WALTERS (male) revealing that all the topside crew is ashore due to food poisoning. Suspicions mount when the emergency oxygen is non-existent. Anna identifies a 'red tide' (man-made dilapidation of the seabed). She couldn't live with herself if she didn't get the issue exposed. But there's no mobile signal at this depth. The oxygen gauge shows 50% left.

Walters turns out to be Anna's exe (which is how she knew the dive schedules). He's rigged the failures and absenteeism to facilitate revenge on Anna for calling things off, as well as preventing her publicising the marine damage, which would adversely affecting the company. The dead crew will be hailed heroes in laying communication cables. He raises the sub a ways, then lets it plummet. Coming to from concussion, Anna finds Spicer dead, murdered by Powers, who thinks it's situation hopeless and wants to go out having sex with Anna. He swallows a tiny capacitor from the circuitry. The oxygen gauge shows 25% left.

Pandering to Powers's S/M proclivities, Anna strangles him with her phone cable. Capacitor retrieved, she susses a rewire in the OS manual to crank up the sub manually. Pressure causes a viewport seal to leak. Rising, she vows to Walters to actively oppose his neoliberal ethos. He puts her faulty thinking down to the bends and sends a noxious gas down. Anna must mask her face, and also deal with a reanimated Spicer. Oxygen gauge shows zero. Anna surfaces the sub. Stars twinkle beyond the Perspex. Vents open. Anna takes a deep, refreshing breath, cries like a new-born baby. Walters fires a harpoon through the viewport, piercing Anna's heart. She manages to send her news viral. A helicopter heard returning, Walters retreats. Job done, Anna's smile freezes.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

Coverfly Top 32%
'You've really got something here.'
David Hughes, script analyst, groovyfokker
'Awesomely claustrophobic... tense and well paced.'
Andrew Hannon, 13Horror screenplay competition

LA Sun Film Fest
Chicago Indie Film Awards
Toronto Film and TV Awards
Filmmatic Horror Screenplay Awards
Pitch Now Screenplay Competition
Coverfly: 'Discoverable' Rated

Submitted: April 14, 2022
Last Updated: May 23, 2022

Want to read this script? You must join the revolution first. Don't worry, it's free, easy, everyone's welcome, and you can start reading right away.

Barry Staff's picture

The Writer: Barry Staff

"Some kinda screenwriter," Barry was born and raised in the UK. He's had a 'gonzo' career - periods of education (ending on a postgraduate Diploma in Film Studies) intercut with ‘McJobs’ (roof-rack assembler, computer helpdesk, beer bottler, reject furniture salesman, draughtsman, goods inward operative, briefly a bouncer. . .), all the while writing on the side. Now with the writing paramount, he has 12 spec feature screenplays, a TV sitcom and 16 short scripts, four of the latter having been filmed. Apart from competition successes, he's - SO FAR - had a purchase offer on one feature screenplay, an option on another and a shopping agreement on a third. Go to bio

More Scripts From Barry

Risk Capital
A carefully planned contract cancelled, a disgruntled hitman goes AWOL, taking a break at the resort instead but needs to see its bright lights cast mean shadows.
Feature Film-Noir, Thriller For sale 90pp
1 reader loves this script
The Third Degree
Wanting a meaningful relationship for once, a strung-out womaniser goes to a quiet beach to try for one with Nature herself, but needs to prove his sincerity to make any headway.
Short Comedy Available for Free 10pp
Survivors Will Be Prosecuted
Wanting a solitary vigil at his dying mother's bedside, a man needs to annihilate the pesky winged insect that threatens to make the situation laughable.
Short Comedy Available for Free 7pp
Gagging For It
Wanting to pool their resources as a comedy duo, two physically challenged men need to get through an audition to prove it'll work.
Short Comedy Available for Free 14pp
Bright Light, Mean Shadow
Wanting to fathom a stranger in town, a thirteen-year-old truant girl needs to realise he's a hitman on a contract to take out a visiting politician.
Short Thriller Available for Free 11pp
Wanting to exploit fronting a telethon for career re-launch, a comedian needs to thwart armed revolutionaries taking him hostage there to aid their own agenda for the evening of goodwill.
Feature Comedy, Thriller For sale 85pp
Rock Bottom
Wanting to resurface a tiny malfunctioned submersible before oxygen expires, a female pilot needs to overcome the fellow crewman (her ex), who thinks it's situation hopeless and wants to die having sex.
Short Comedy Available for Free 10pp
Western Approaches
Wanting to get rat-arsed after receiving an unavoidable job offer, a modern-day English ‘cowboy’ on a bicycle needs to outwit a zero-hours-contract barmaid who resolutely foils his order.
Short Comedy Available for Free 10pp
Wanting to consummate her marriage to a much older man, a virginal bride pushing forty needs to reappraise everything when it all starts going disastrously wrong.
Short Comedy Available for Free 8pp
A brainiac wants to transmit a 'happy' virus worldwide (mental contagion getting everyone everywhere all on the same wavelength to solve global issues), but needs to realise others will do anything to stop him.
Feature Comedy, Sci-Fi, Thriller For sale 80pp
Diagnosed as terminally ill, a rebellious teen thinks he can live as a vampire.
Feature Horror For sale 90pp
Carbon Dating
Wanting to find a girlfriend via dating sites while working a lonely late-night call-centre shift, a young man needs to reappraise everything when he discovers a beautiful young vagrant hiding under a desk.
Short Drama Available for Free 9pp
Wit's End
Wanting a comeback fronting a telethon, a has-been comedian needs to thwart an armed couple taking him hostage there, having their own agenda for the evening's event.
Short Comedy Available for Free 11pp
Convinced it's his elusive lover's 'sonic' vengeance causing his beloved London's keynote buildings to vanish, a spaced-out musician turns PI to trace her, thereby having to decide where his true interests lie.
Feature Crime, Fantasy, Film-Noir, Thriller For sale 80pp
Wanting his new ultra-eco-friendly home to woo his estranged wife, a meek designer needs to 'go ape' to counter the world and his wife come calling, seriously threatening his whole existence.
Feature Comedy, Crime For sale 99pp
Wanting to stop his warring parents splitting up, a troubled teen must steal for the audio gear needed to present them with a mashup composition of their arguing – before it’s too late.
Short Drama Available for Free 12pp
Deadly Love
Wanting a solitary game of Cluedo, a woman instead suffers a deadly game with an intruder in the house. But another woman seems to be coming to her rescue. But nothing's as it seems.
Short Thriller Available for Free 9pp
Wanting to escape being shackled together on a solitary beach with rapidly returning tide, two wizened brothers need to flashback through dodgy memory banks to discover an exit route.
Short Comedy Available for Free 9pp