Haunted by Matt Taylor | Script Revolution

Haunted

A child psychologist who practices vigilante justice agrees to help three ghosts avenge their deaths, but must keep her secret safe from her new friend and her brother, who blames her for their parents’ deaths.

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115pp

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Psychologist Dr Ellie Stone, 25, is kind, warm and caring and has built a career helping traumatized children. She is also deeply traumatized herself with a serious drug habit and scarring across her arms. A raging fight with her brother, Dan, over the phone reveals that her parents abused her, and that she’s once again vandalized their graves. He also blames her for their parents' suicides. Ellie’s relationship with him is deeply bitter and broken and, knowing just how to push his buttons, she wins the fight easily.

As Ellie gives evidence against a coach in a child abuse trial, Dan is introduced as a surprise defense witness and derails their case, citing her claims about their father as evidence she falsely accuses men. When the case is thrown out and the coach freed, she takes it hard, but her boss has another case for her. Three kids need her help at Simona Medical Center. She travels there and meets a nurse, Carly, who will assist her in treating her patients. That night, Ellie’s boss calls: the coach has confessed and committed suicide. This prompts Dan to call and start another furious argument. Ellie is a master of psychology and easily manipulates it into another bitter victory for her. For all her kindness and professionalism, she shows her brother no mercy.

In sessions with her patients, Ellie starts seeing terrifying visions and hears other voices coming from them. Suspecting that her drug habit is affecting her work, Ellie flushes all her pills, then comes to realize that her patients have been possessed by ghosts, who are the real abuse victims. The ghosts outline their request: help them pass on by killing the men who abused them. The ghosts also reveal that they know Ellie’s secret - that she tracked down the coach in the trial and killed him. In a flashback, she gives him an ultimatum to confess his guilt and commit suicide or be burnt alive. The coach admits his guilt and signs the confession. Ellie’s code is revealed: she won’t act against anyone without a genuine confession.

At first, Ellie refuses to believe in the ghosts, citing her own trauma and drug withdrawal, until the ghosts prove they’re real by reading Carly’s mind, revealing information only she could know. Ellie finally agrees to help if the ghosts leave her patients alone. The ghosts agree and leave, but Ellie is left reeling and in desperate need of a fix. She almost raids the medical stores but instead takes off for the city to find a dealer, who immediately suspects her as a cop, and rips her clothing looking for a wire. When he sees her arms, he relents but Ellie reasserts her dominance by brutally kicking his ass. Things are about to escalate when Carly calmly arrives and brokers a sale for Ellie with the dealer, whom she knows from her work at the drug clinic.

Carly drives Ellie back to Simona and reveals that she was the one who left the medical stores open, having recognized Ellie as a user. Ellie resents being tested like that, but Carly accepts her, recognizing that her habit comes from a place of trauma and hasn’t interfered with her work. The two begin a friendship, which starts to replace drugs as Ellie’s comfort during the harrowing work of treating the ghosts. During a night out, Ellie starts to feel out Carly’s reaction to her vigilante work, wanting her approval but reluctant to reveal hard details. Carly is sympathetic to victims’ need for peace and Ellie is hopeful that she can one day reveal everything.

Talking with Carly has convinced Ellie to help the first ghost, Madeline, take on her abusive, now-elderly uncle. Ellie travels to the man’s house and tricks her way inside but she holds off taking him down - to Madeline’s fury. Again, Ellie insists on hearing a confession before she acts, but the plan falls through. He confirms the accusation but pulls a gun on Ellie, who mocks him, daring him to pull the trigger. However, Madeline appears, scaring her uncle long enough for Ellie to subdue him. When he wakes, Madeline starts to manifest, telling her terrified uncle that she’s not afraid of him anymore, and he kills himself. Back at Simona, a furious Madeline berates Ellie for getting trapped and jeopardizing the plan, but Ellie points out Madeline’s role in the victory and tells her she’s now cured, causing Madeline to pass on in peace.

The next day, a jubilant Ellie meets with Carly, who tells her about her nanna, neither realizing that the third ghost, Hope, is watching unseen. Hope later meets with Ellie, demanding that Carly be brought in to help with the revenge plan. Ellie refuses, but Hope tricks Carly by appearing as her nanna, convincing Carly that she’s real. Ellie tries to talk Carly out of it, reminding her vengeance isn’t in her character, but Carly insists on helping her ‘nanna’. This drives a wedge between the two women, and Ellie starts avoiding her and using drugs again. Ellie is bitter and hurt by Carly’s involvement and, after she takes it out on the drug dealer a second time, Hope appears and threatens to expose her if she doesn’t toe the line.

The next ghost to be helped is a young boy, Landon, who was abused by his priest. Ellie and Carly travel to the church to destroy the statue raised in his memory. However, when they attack the statue, the powerful ghost of the priest appears, frightening away Landon and nearly killing Ellie and Carly. However, Landon reappears just in time to save Carly’s life, bringing the other child victims of the priest to overwhelm him and destroy his ghost. Landon and the other children pass on in peace and, as Ellie comforts an overwhelmed Carly, they share a kiss, having realized their feelings for each other.

The next day, Ellie’s good mood is cut short by the news that, as her patients are now cured, she’s expected to return home – and by Dan’s arrival. He’s heard about the uncle’s death and suspects Ellie of killing men accused of child abuse. She puts up a good front, but he laughs off her denial and tells her he plans to stick around to investigate.

Ellie and Carly prepare to help the third ghost, Hope, who is still masquerading as Carly’s nanna. She tells them a story of an older boy, Will, who abused her when they were both teens. Ellie is reluctant to pursue him, but Carly encourages her, given how close they are to the end. After Ellie leaves to investigate him, Hope tells Carly that Ellie will fail and implores Carly to act independently – to kill the man without hesitation. She then brainwashes Carly by joining minds with her and showing her the details of her supposed assault.

Ellie watches Will outside his home but sees only an old man playing with his adoring grandchildren. This doesn’t add up. She returns to Simona and asks around the elderly patients, who reveal that Will is a genuinely good man. Meanwhile, Carly, deeply upset by the vision planted in her mind by Hope, leaves to track him down and kill him. Ellie chases her, with Dan secretly following.

Carly confronts Will, but Ellie quickly arrives and intervenes, revealing what the Simona patients have told her: Will is innocent, and Hope is actually a girl he turned down. This is all Hope’s revenge against a man who rejected her. Hope, now furious that her plan has failed, strikes down Will and then blames Ellie just as Dan arrives. He holds Ellie at gunpoint, ecstatic that he has finally caught her. Hope goes on to join Ellie’s and Dan’s minds and reveals a few fragments of memory that show Ellie killed their father as a girl. She wants Dan to kill Ellie, but Ellie fights back, showing the whole story – that her father did indeed abuse her and that she killed him in self-defense. But Dan is too far gone to care and raises his gun.

Suddenly, the first two ghosts, Madeline and Landon, return to help Ellie. The ghosts read Dan’s mind and discover his truth – he was also abused by their father and has blocked out the memory. Struggling with this discovery, Dan collapses and Ellie forgives and comforts him. The ghost of Carly’s real nanna also arrives and, together, they destroy Hope before departing again with a tender farewell.

Two months later, Carly is now working with Ellie at her practice. A phone call from Dan reveals that their relationship is healing and that both are making improvements in their mental health. They make a time to meet later at the cemetery, where they light their father’s grave on fire together. As the flames rise, they end with their arms around each other’s shoulders, finally as brother and sister.

Submitted: May 26, 2020
Last Updated: March 16, 2022

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The Writer: Matt Taylor

I write scripts by night when I'm not teaching special ed. I want to explore stories that haven't been written before using unconventional heroes, and I have a strong interest in writing awesome roles for awesome women. As a spec script writer, my passion is creating screenplays that right wrongs, that see a hero take back power that was stolen from them. I write strong female leads, women we don’t see enough of, in their 30s and 40s, who have a story to tell, who have strength and texture and who can bring experiences, not just good looks. I write meaningful stories of change and journey and the people who take that journey with us. I write gripping action that zips and hits hard, as well... Go to bio

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