Exchange Student by Rob Barkan | Script Revolution

Exchange Student



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A cocky college student investigating a dimensional portal encounters an unexpected surprise.

This Script Has Been Reviewed By Shootin' The Shorts

A cocky college student investigating a dimensional portal encounters an unexpected surprise.

Rob Barkan knows horror. As readers of his other scripts know: if one’s tastes run toward intelligent, unique tales that make one’s blood run cold, Barkan’s your demon… er, your man.

The same mind that brought you Eddie Whorl and Deathlife now conjures up a blend of horror mythology and 2018 relationship woes.  The name of this terror tale - Exchange Student: a short that takes readers on a trip to “Parts” unknown.

The titular hero of our story? Will: a college student that’s seen… better days. With his relationship with girlfriend Rachel on the rocks, Will’s started cutting classes – taking up bizarre extra curricular activities instead.

We’re not talking basket weaving here.  Will’s interest is in the occult. Recently, he’s stumbled upon ancient texts which hint at a tie between Native American and Spanish history… and the Cthulu mythos itself!

Rachel’s not returning Will’s calls. Left with nothing else to do, Will ventures into the nearby Utah wilderness to explore other worlds  - armed with only his smartphone, and tasty “bait”:

Will pops the Tupperware lid.  Discards it.  Sits on the ground.  Studies what's in the container.

A raw beef heart.

Will sets the container down.

The portal opens.  Beyond it, a strange shadowy landscape.

Will stands up.  Reaches for the beef heart with his gaze fixed on the portal.

Trick or treat, fuckers.

A disturbance at the portal.  A creature not of this world crawls through, bear-sized.  It's covered in reptilian scales.  Tentacles propel it forward.  A cluster of ebony arachnid eyes glisten under the starlight.

The walking nightmare tests the gravel under it.  Stops. Senses Will.

Will sucks in a breath.  Slowly stands.  Squeezes the beef heart like his life depends on it.

Which it does. 

Fans of horror might THINK they know what comes next.. but don’t. As with other terror tales from the mind of Rob Barkan, Exchange Student’s conclusion distorts one’s expectations of reality in disturbing (yet strangely satisfying) ways. Because Will thinks he’s done his homework… but in addition to a passport, there are some travel requirements he’s missed!

Are you a visually oriented director that’s evolved beyond jump scares?  If you seek a memorable, buzz-inducing gem - Exchange Student is a trip into horror you just can’t miss.



Review by Cam Gray
Submitted: August 4, 2018
Last Updated: November 21, 2019

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The Writer: Rob Barkan

Rob has been writing horror, fantasy and science fiction since the age of seven. He has placed several short tales in small press and online magazines like Lovecraft's Weird Mysteries, Dark Planet and Strange Fire. A more extensive collection appeared on his award-winning Deathlife Gravesite. He has taken a deep plunge into screenplay writing for the past few years, totally enjoying mastering the art of visual writing. He recently scripted segments for a Hollywood director's horror anthology project, showing a great ability working under time pressure to make required changes. His short scripts have received favorable reviews at Shootin' The Shorts. Rob's screenplays have been utilized as a... Go to bio

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