They Never Left by Michael Kospiah | Script Revolution

They Never Left



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After being dumped by his girlfriend, a down-on-his-luck alcoholic moves into an unusually affordable NYC apartment only to find out that the previous tenant isn't quite ready to leave - despite dying three years ago.

THEY NEVER LEFT is a micro-budget mumblecore horror dramedy similar in tone to films such as "House of the Devil", "Creep 1 & 2", "Bagheads", "Personal Shopper" and "A Ghost Story".


DARWIN isn’t exactly having the best of luck lately, though he hasn’t really helped himself very much. A year ago, he was struggling with alcoholism, depending on the bottle to combat insecurities stemming from a tragic childhood incident. His relationship with his long-time girlfriend MADELINE suffered because of it. After hitting rock bottom and surviving a failed suicide attempt, Darwin took the opportunity to seize control of his life and save his relationship with Madeline by going completely sober. Things were going well…

But, after nearly a year of sobriety, Darwin struggles through an epic relapse (triggered by repressed memories) that ultimately forces Madeline to end the relationship and kick him out of the apartment. She enlists Darwin’s overbearing AA sponsor, ED, to help soften the blow and help keep Darwin’s head above water. Darwin, however, sees no point in getting better and embraces his alcoholism as a means of numbing his insecurities and repressed memories.

Darwin, barely eking by, somehow finds an apartment in New York City for an unusually affordable price. But there’s a caveat: a previous tenant named STEVEN RAY killed himself there three years ago and the neighbors in the building seem to think that the place may be haunted. Since then, only four tenants have lived in that apartment, none of them making it past 7 DAYS – three of them died under mysterious circumstances and the most recent tenant barely survived what he claimed to be a “ghost attack”. Coincidentally enough, Steven Ray’s body wasn’t found until 7 DAYS after he killed himself, further fueling the theory that Steven Ray’s spirit remains in that apartment.

Darwin doesn’t buy it. Though Madeline, a thrill-seeking horror film buff, seems intrigued. But after a few days, Darwin doesn’t notice much outside of some “misplaced” items around the house and music playing by itself. Though most people would be suspicious, Darwin thinks it’s the booze messing with him. That is until someone – or some thing – decides to break into his home. After calling the police, nothing is reported missing. And there’s no sign of a break-in. Darwin seems to think someone is messing with him, possibly one of the strange neighbors. Or the even-stranger owner of the building, BERNADETTE.

As each day passes, DAY 7 looming ahead, things get stranger and stranger. Unable to afford to move out before that 7th DAY, Darwin tries a hand at sobriety in order to clear his head and truly get to the bottom of things – Is the apartment haunted? Or is someone indeed messing with him? Either way, SOMEONE or SOMETHING doesn't want him living there.

As Darwin delves deeper into the apartment's origins, he becomes immersed with Steven Ray, the man who killed himself, finding many parallels between them. Cynical at first, Darwin starts to believe that perhaps his apartment may very well be haunted as more and more unexplained incidents occur.

With Madeline’s help, Darwin seeks to unlock the shocking mystery behind the apartment’s strange occurrences, their relationship becoming rekindled in the process. But as a now-sober Darwin unlocks more and more truths about the apartment and he Madeline become closer and closer, other truths are revealed… truths that could very well test Darwin’s sobriety and the strength of his newly rekindled relationship with Madeline. Oh yeah, and there’s a matter of survival as they reach DAY 7, a deadline that no previous tenant was able to get through unscathed.

Darwin’s gruelingly emotional journey over the course of the week builds to a finale full of shocking twists and turns that will keep audiences guessing until the film’s very final moments. Was the place really haunted? Was someone messing with him? Or was it all in his head?

Short film/proof of concept for the feature

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This Script Is Loved By

Vikrant Nallaparaju's picture
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The Writer: Michael Kospiah

Michael is an award-winning screenwriter based out of New York City specializing in darker films. His feature, "The Suicide Theory", won an Audience Award at the prestigious Austin Film Festival as well as the Grand Jury Prize (Best Picture) at the Dances With Films Festival. After a brief run in cinemas, "The Suicide Theory" is now available to watch on Netflix, Amazon, Itunes and DVD.

The Suicide Theory trailer -- You can check out his award-nominated short horror film, "The Dead Guy in the Trunk" here -- Go to bio

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