Sarah by JZ Murdock | Script Revolution

Sarah

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Status:

Page Count: 
28pp

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Budget:

Age Rating:

Logline: 
Grandma Sarah has Alzheimer's (or a Twilight Zone?). But that'sno reason to dump your family. Or is it?
Synopsis/Details: 

This delectable little screenplay was incorporated into a larger one called Gray and Lover The Hearth Tales Incident.

Sarah lives with her daughter Terri's family, young teen granddaughter Lana, and ex special forces son-in-law, Tom, in the house Terri grew up in. They're good people, but Sarah is in a trying state of mind for the young family. She has Alzheimer's and sorting reality from imagination is troublesome. Her imagination is terrifying to her, to the point of her mostly feeling frozen within her own body and life.

Terri loves her mother, but she is at wits end about what to do. Every time mom tries to help around the house, it causes more trouble than it is worth, so she has fallen into the habit of telling Sarah to "take it easy" when what she needs is to keep her mind active.

Sarah begins to notice how her life is falling apart and it becomes realized in such things as a crack in a tea cup, the plaster walls in her bedroom splitting and a hole opening in the middle of the back yard. But is the sinkhole real? Sarah assumes this is yet another manifestation of her growing dementia. So when the family dog falls into it, she is shocked, and even more shocked when she watches Lana fall into the hole at dusk, while looking for the missing dog.

Tom follows, as does Terri. The house then follows the family, as Sarah struggles to save herself as the house breaks off into a new vast hole engulfing their property, their home and maybe next the neighborhood.

When the City funded caretaker of Sarah arrives in the next morning, she finds Sarah in the back yard, feeding bread crumbs at the edge of a small sinkhole, nothing like that imagined the night before. She gets Sarah back into the house, but thinks that the family has left for their day of work and school. However, the dinner is still set as if from the night before.

We cut to a news crews at the house while a crane lifts the ragged family out of the sink hole. Sarah seems back in her prime as she takes charge and tells the family she will take care of things.

Suddenly Sarah finds herself in court on trial for the murder of her family. Eventually, realizing that she is back in her bedroom as her daughter delivers her a cup of tea and we realize the horrifying life that Sarah leads in her rapidly atrophying brain.

An older Terri tells Sarah that Lana sent a letter from college, then asks if she's seen Tom, but Sarah doesn't respond. We realize Sarah has been seeing Terri as a younger daughter all this time.

However, she then sees a hand rise from the sinkhole and its Tom, who realizes Sarah had fed the birds, told no one, and because of the birds near the edge of the hole, he slips and falls, this time to his death. We fade to images of Sarah's face, Tom's screams softly echoing as we leave Sarah to her surreal existence.

Still you could blame it on the hallucinations. Only the Judge can decide. Or can he? What is it like to have Alzheimer's? The disease literally rips a family apart in this surreal tale; but just what is merely in the mind of a grandmother with dementia and where does reality actually start and stop?

The kernel of this story came from a girl one day after our university Abnormal Psychology class, when she told me what it was like for her grandmother. I used some of those real experiences in this story.

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JZ Murdock's picture

The Writer: JZ Murdock

JZ Murdock is a writer, screenwriter, and author living in Bremerton, WA.

THE TEENAGE BODYGUARD, is a true crime story from a week in 1974 when he was asked to protect a murder witness from the Tacoma mafia (yes, that was a real thing). This screenplay is starting to get attention. THE TEENAGE BODYGUARD. Coverages (The Blacklist, Bluecat Screenplay Contest) say things like, "This should be pursued into production", and "Why isn't this on screen already?".From entertainment attorney Michael Donaldson, "What an interesting story. Very well researched. This kind of the story is a perennial favorite. it is just the kind of story that is being gobbled up in the market right now. It is... Go to bio

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