Passwords - You think *real* life is dangerous? | Script Revolution

Passwords - You think *real* life is dangerous?

A 12-year old gamer is harassed by an online opponent.

Remember the good old days when video games were simple and easier to play? My video game playing days came to an end when the controllers started becoming more complex – just “A”, “B”, “Select”, “Start”, “Up”, “Down”, “Left” and “Right” was complicated enough for my brain capacity to handle. I remember smoke coming out of my ears trying to get my brain to adjust from the 8-bit graphics NES offered to the mind-blowing 16-bit graphics of Sega Genesis. I mean, what was this, The Jetsons?

Since then, video gaming has evolved considerably. So much so that you can play with someone thousands of miles away while speaking to them through a headset. Not to mention the VR craze that regained popularity in recent years. I stayed away from VR after seeing one too many people fall and make asses out of themselves.

But as convenient and interactive as online gaming has become, it’s also opened up a whole another can of worms – online bullying, for one. One of the more frightening occurrences that have become more common over the years is swatting – when someone finds out your address and calls the cops on you, falsely reporting a hostage situation or other crime. And, through online gaming (and online technology in general), it’s also easier for people to find information about you – PRIVATE information.

This is what happens in Paul Knauer’s aptly titled horror short, “Passwords”, where we meet 12-year old Jesse, who’s playing an opponent through his VR headset while smack-talking through his computer. But the trash-talk rubs another online gamer the wrong way.

You calling me stupid?

You basically called yourself stupid. Post.

The message posts. Jesse lifts his headset, looks at the laptop…

Goodnight… Leonard55.

To Jesse’s chagrin, this wouldn’t be the last he’d hear from the mysterious Leonard55. In fact, just after posting his comment, the electricity in his room shuts off for a few moments.

“How do you like the dark?” Jesse leans forward as a second message quickly follows: “Who’s stupid now?”

The lights snap back on. Music suddenly blasts from a nearby device. Jesse scrambles to unplug the speaker.

Not only does Leonard55 somehow know Jesse’s name, but he’s now gained control of his VR headset, taking over his virtual world and changing his avatar to that of a little girl. It’s here where Jesse (now a little girl) faces off with some kind of hulking demon in some dark, creepy-looking virtual basement.

For a story about some 12-year old kid sitting in a room, playing video games, this was surprisingly eerie and atmospheric with some nice horrifying visuals. Though frightening, the story was still very fun to follow. And the ending isn’t quite how you would expect it to unfold. A fun script, this would be even more fun to see on screen. Filmmakers need to jump on this one quickly!

The Script


A young video-gamer's session is interrupted by a particularly aggressive online opponent.

About The Reviewer

Michael J Kospiah's picture
Real name: 

I'm an award-winning screenwriter, playwright and comedy writer based out of New York City. 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.The film was picked up for distribution in the US and Canada by Freestyle Releasings and was released in theaters on July 10, 2015.  After its theatrical release, the film enjoyed a...Read more

About The Writer

Paul Knauer's picture
Real name: 

I’m an optioned screenwriter working out of the Kansas City area. My main focus is thrillers and slightly absurdist comedy with heart. But, I believe becoming a better writer requires pushing personal boundaries, so you’ll notice a thorough mix of genres in my portfolio. 

Born and raised in St. Louis, I’ve lived in multiple small towns around Missouri, and now Kansas. My projects often center on life in the Midwest -- highlighting the heart of the hard-working Midwest soul. My first...Read more