Darkness and Voices by Peter Stead | Script Revolution

Darkness and Voices



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When a troubled teenager undergoes an experimental hypnotherapy to treat her night terrors, something is unleashed which stalks her waking hours.

Tessa (16) gets ready for her first ever big party, but before she is allowed to leave the house, she has to take part in an experimental therapy session set up by her highly strung mother, Alison (30s), her step-father, Eric (40s), and Gustav (50s), a Psychology Professor. Her step-brother, Ben (10) will also take part.

Gustav wants to perform a kind of hypnosis, with the aid of a tuning fork, on Tessa, with her family’s help. Everyone hopes it will cure Tessa of her night terrors, which recently have become very frequent and intense.

Things do not go according to plan during this hypnosis – Tessa ‘loses time’ at points - then suffers a panic attack and completely passes out.

When she awakens in the night, she hears a whisper she can’t place. She follows its source down to the basement, where she speaks to ‘Lucy’ – an aggressive but protective voice in her head she hasn’t heard since her parent’s divorce, nine years ago. This evening’s hypnotherapy reawakened her. However, Tessa banishes the voice to a teddy bear and then destroys it - using a special ritual which her late, natural, father, Martin, taught her, the first time it happened.

In the living room, she finds Gustav - who has let himself back in their house! He tells her he is worried about her. There is a ringing noise and Lucy appears again. Tessa tells Gustav about Lucy and about the ritual to banish her. He suggests it will only work, now she is almost an adult, if Tessa traps Lucy in a living thing and kills it.

Reluctant, but terrified of insanity, Tessa performs the ritual, traps Lucy in their pet terrier and kills it, but when Lucy reappears again, Gustav suggests it must be that they need a human vessel instead.

Tessa and Gustav subdue and tie up Alison and Eric in the basement, ready for the ritual murder. When Tessa catches Gustav out in a lie, however, he reveals his real purpose – an experiment to use hypnosis to trigger Dissociative Identity Disorder in family members of high-value assassination targets – perfect plausible deniability.

Tessa escapes from him and what follows is a deadly game of cat and mouse throughout the darkened house. She becomes trapped in the bathroom with Ben. She then, at Lucy’s suggestion, dresses Ben up as her, sends him out as a decoy. The ruse works and Tessa traps Lucy in the outmanoeuvred Gustav and kills him by stabbing him with his own tuning fork.

Tessa looks at this fork. Although Lucy was terrifying, she was also, at points, a powerful ally. Tessa wants answers about whether Eric split Alison and her real father up and why he killed himself. Before the night is over, Tessa will visit a heavy reckoning on her family. But she can’t do it alone...

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The Writer: Peter Stead

Overview My main focus as a Screenwriter is the clash between the inner world of the psyche and the outer world of objective reality. Primarily, I have explored this through six original feature screenplays, in different genres, from micro-budget Horror to mid-budget drama and on up to studio-level Adventure. Experience I am British, but my first script to be produced is a short which wrapped in the Netherlands in 2017, called Bijltjesdag , English title, Day of Reckoning: - Best Student film, Kerry Film Festival, 2018 - Youth Jury Award at Cinesud Euregion, 2018. My short script, Vampire , was a finalist in the Canada International Film Festival (2018). From this, I developed my first... Go to bio

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