Inbox (1) by Matthew Taylor | Script Revolution

Inbox (1)

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11pp

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After receiving increasingly strange emails, a deaf customer services agent must battle with his own mind if he is to make sense of his night.

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INBOX (1) 
After receiving increasingly disturbing emails, a deaf customer services agent must battle with his mind in order to make sense of his night.

The workplace can be a very stressful environment, especially when it’s at a boring, mundane, nine-to-five office job. With constant worries of job security, the pressure of meeting deadlines and performance goals and dealing with the seemingly infinite monotony of each unimportant shift, the office is often the last place we want to be. But the one thing that gets us through each day is the camaraderie we share with co-workers, bonding over all the things that make us hate showing up for work in the first place. This is how some of our closest, most precious friendships are formed, many of those friendships lasting for life.

But, with so many variables and personalities, the workplace can also be a way to make mortal enemies – there’s clashing of egos, competition, employees fighting to move up that corporate ladder and, at times, bullying.

In Matthew Taylor’s dark psychological thriller, “Inbox (1)”, customer service rep, Freddy, isn’t having the easiest of times. Most likely the target of bullying his whole life due to his disability (he’s deaf), he takes medication for what we believe is either anxiety or depression. His coworkers haven’t exactly been very kind to him – Eric and Danielle mock him behind his back, spewing insults out loud knowing he can’t hear them. His boss, Ian, lets him know, every chance he gets, that the only reason he hasn’t been fired yet is BECAUSE he’s deaf. And even Christina, the only nice one in the office, speaks to him loudly and overly pronounced despite being reminded repeatedly that he can read lips.

After getting chewed out by Ian, Freddy finds himself staying late, stuck with the exhilarating duty of clearing the day’s email backlog – 523 inbox messages, to be exact.

Freddy sucks it up and gets to work, responding to email after email… after email. Finally, after hours of pedantic, repetitious tasks, he looks to his screen – INBOX (1). Ever so close to sweet, sweet freedom, Freddy opens up the predictably unpleasant final message. Trying his best to maintain his professionalism, he goes by the book and responds to the message with the utmost courtesy until finally – INBOX (0). Yes!

Ready to shut down his computer, Freddy gives the screen a glance and, to his chagrin, he sees INBOX (1) again. He opens the message to find out that it’s the same exact person as the last email. Freddy’s been doing this for a while, so he’s used to the aggressive insults thrown his way. But it isn’t until this “customer” in particular makes fun of his duck-patterned tie that Freddy suspects something more sinister is at play.

Fed up, Freddy confronts each coworker at the office, starting off with the most obvious suspects, Eric and his partner in crime, Danielle. A fracas ensues, Freddy’s deep-seeded rage boiling to the surface, resulting in him throwing a glass of water into Freddy’s face. But, upon further investigation, Freddy finds out that it wasn’t Eric or Danielle at all… so it appears. In fact, there’s no evidence that it was ANYBODY in the same room.

Determined to get to the bottom of this, Freddy returns to his computer to find yet another message in his inbox. He opens it up to see a photo of himself. WTF? But it gets even more disturbing when a virtual knife slides across the screen, slicing Freddy’s pixelated throat and splashing animated blood. As if things couldn’t get any stranger, the lights suddenly flicker off…

What begins as a dark, who-dun-nit mystery delves into terrifying, psychological horror territory. And Freddy is forced to explore the darkest depths of his own fragile mind.

In one of my favorite shorts that I’ve recently stumbled across, Matthew Taylor has crafted an atmospheric, pitch-black, psychological, single-location thriller with imagery that will linger with you long after the final credits roll.

Review by Michael Kospiah
Submitted: November 22, 2018
Last Updated: July 18, 2019

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Matthew Taylor's picture

The Writer: Matthew Taylor

I am a new writer simply trying to bring interesting stories and characters to life. I have no formal training, just a passion to write and hours spent researching and reading. I would like to get involved in the writing community so that we can all help each other to get our stories to the screen. If you are interested in any of my stories, please don't hesitate to contact me. Go to bio

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