Breather by Barry Staff | Script Revolution

Breather

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')

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Status:

Page Count: 
90pp

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Synopsis/Details: 

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 Technician POWERS (male) and pilot SPICER (female) put the problems down to the outdated vessel being given them.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

OFFICIAL SELECTION ('BEST UNPRODUCED SCRIPT')
LA Sun Film Fest
Chicago Indie Film Awards
Toronto Film and TV Awards
QUARTER-FINALIST
Filmmatic Horror Screenplay Awards
Pitch Now Screenplay Competition
FINALIST ('BEST UNPRODUCED SCRIPT')
13Horror.com
Coverfly: 'Discoverable' Rated

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

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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

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