From Before - What Goes Around... | Script Revolution

From Before - What Goes Around...

From Before
An ambitious university professor finds the things he’s done to come so far so quickly come back to haunt him… quite literally.

As a massive horror fan, it might be surprising to hear that I am not a massive fan of horror films about the occult and satanic rituals. I’m not sure why, exactly, though I’ve seen a few really, really good ones – Rosemary’s BabyThe Wicker Man (not the Nicolas Cage remake), the excellent South Korean film, The Wailing and, more recently, Ari Aster’s films, Hereditary and Midsommar. I guess what I’m trying to say is that, for me to enjoy a horror flick about the occult, it has to be really, really good. The same goes for screenplays.

Luckily, I stumbled upon James Austin McCormick’s twisty, uber-creepy occult horror short, From Before, which is currently available for production.

The story kicks off when we meet the ambitious and already very successful Dr. Sam Adams, a 26-year-old professor of literature and vice chairman of the committee of trustees at his college. He’s speaking to his class about Faustus – a nice touch of foreshadowing – when, suddenly, he begins to smell something burning. He continues to quiz his students on Faustus but can’t seem to shake that odor that only he seems to smell. That’s when he looks to a student named Michael and notices peculiar burn marks fresh upon his face.

SAM
Michael, what’s wrong with your face?

MICHAEL
You did this to me.

SAM
What do you mean?

Sam looks at the other students. All of them seem like statues, unblinking, unmoving.

MICHAEL (CONT’D)
I’ll see you soon Sammy. I promise.

After blinking his eyes in disbelief, Sam looks to Michael again – but there are no burn marks.
So, what the hell just happened? Was it all in his head?

CLAIRE
Parasomnia.

SAM
Para…what?

CLAIRE
A waking nightmare. It’s more common than people realize.

Claire, Sam’s girlfriend, seems to think these waking nightmares are the product of stress. After all, Sam is taking on a lot of responsibility for someone in their mid 20s after rising up the ranks so quickly.

After a love-making session to shake off the stress, Sam wakes up to the horrifying image of a demon-like figure in his room named Jack – staring at Sam through the dark with reptilian eyes and claws. Jack tells Sam the same thing that he thought he heard in his earlier waking nightmare – “I’m coming for you.”

We soon find out that Jack is also the name of Sam’s brother, who has been lying in a coma for the past three years. You see, at least according to Sam, Jack was into magic and the occult and lit himself on fire as part of a magic trick. After Sam’s most recent waking nightmare, he learns that Jack has indeed passed away – one hell of a coincidence, so it seems. Of course, we discover that it wasn’t a coincidence at all.

As the story ensues, Sam’s mental health continues to spiral to the point where he’s scaring his girlfriend Claire, who’s quite disturbed by all the symbols and markings Sam has decorated his house with – he claims it’s for protection. But protection from what, exactly?

To reveal anything more would be spoiling it for you. But I will say there is quite a double swerve at the end – a very satisfying one at that. A very tight script with plenty of twists and turns, this little tale also has some genuinely creepy moments and even some great jump scares – which is difficult to pull off on paper. If you’re a filmmaker looking to scare the “hell” out of your audience, I recommend taking a look at From Before.

The Script

FROM BEFORE

An ambitious university professor finds the things he’s done to come so far so quickly come back to haunt him, quite literally.

About The Reviewer

Michael Kospiah's picture
Real name: 

Hey, what's up? 

I'm an award-winning screenwriter based out of New York City who specializes in darker subject matter and themes. My first produced feature film, "The Suicide Theory" won the Audience Award at the 2014 Austin Film Festival as well as the Grand Jury Prize (Best Picture) at the Dances With Films Festival in Hollywood. After a brief theatrical release and a three-year run on Netflix, "The Suicide Theory" is now available to watch on Amazon Prime, Itunes...Read more

About The Writer

James Austin McCormick's picture

I'm a college lecturer and compulsive writer of speculative fiction. To date I've had many short stories published in various anthologies, as well as novellas and novels published with Class Act books. Anyone who wants to check out my fiction can find a detailed list at the link below:

http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?195589

And my page on Amazon...Read more