Vertical by Eric Christopherson | Script Revolution


A window washer for a Midtown Manhattan office building witnesses a strangulation murder through a window in the early morning hours and becomes trapped on his platform when the murderer determines to murder him too.



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Original story idea

This is a contained action thriller with only four main characters. An independent producer who was briefly attached to the script estimated the budget at between 6-9 million depending on who the lead actor would be.

VERTICAL is set mainly on the outside of a skyscraper. It's sort of DIEHARD on the side of a building.

The story is currently set in Manhattan but could be relocated to any city with tall buildings.

Here's how it begins ...

The main character is Bodie Wilson, a 35 year-old window washer with terminal cancer and no assets or life insurance to leave his struggling family. His solution: he plans to fake an accident from his work platform and fall hundreds of feet to his death to earn worker's comp death benefits that will provide for his loved ones--including a daughter with Down Syndrome--for decades to come.

Just before dawn, after a last look at his unsuspecting, sleeping loved ones, Bodie clocks in at the skyscraper where he works, straps on his self-sabotaged safety harness, and from the rooftop goes over the side of the building in a window washing platform with his equally unsuspecting co-worker, Sal Pizzuto.

Just as Bodie is about to tip backwards over the edge of the platform and fall to his death, a light comes on in the office directly across from where he faces, and inside, a woman in a skirt and pearls is being strangled from behind by a man in a business suit.

Bodie attempts to halt the murder in progress by banging on the sealed window with his squeegee. The strangler hears him, sees him, drops his victim (who falls to the floor, inert), then steps to the window to confront Bodie with a menacing glare.

Thus begins Bodie's transformation from would-be martyr to reluctant action hero. He won't die until Sal is safe and the murderer--who determines to murder the two window washers too--brought to justice.

The action is near-unrelenting through to the epilog, broken only by short bursts of brave banter from the two window washers. The scenes prey often upon our universal fear of great heights.

All Accolades & Coverage: 

"VERTICAL is a nicely written, contained thriller that’s sure to give those in the audience with fear of heights some white knuckles ... The concept alone should help in getting executives and agents to read your script and if you can’t sell them on the concept, then hopefully the writing will get their attention." -- Agustine Calderon, Creative Executive, RatPac

Semi-finalist, Orb Media Group's China-Hollywood Screenwriting Fellowship 2018

Second Rounder, Austin Film Festival script contest 2018

Submitted: September 5, 2016
Last Updated: December 16, 2021

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This Script Is Loved By 4 Readers

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The Writer: Eric Christopherson

Eric Christopherson has more than 150,000 copies of his novels in circulation worldwide. His scripts have advanced several times in the Austin Film Festival screenwriting contest and in Zoetrope's annual screenwriting contest. He focuses on thrillers but will write in any genre with an intriguing concept. He was born in California, grew up in New England, and has since lived throughout the United States and a bit in Asia. He now lives in semi-rural Ohio with his wife, Seiko, and their little ones, Keith and Annabel. Go to bio

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