Shut Eye | Script Revolution

Shut Eye

A disturbance in the apartment above keeps downstairs neighbors from getting a good night’s sleep.
But sleep deprivation is the least of their worries as the disturbance works its way down, one apartment at a time.

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The neighbor from hell…

From Rear Window and Disturbia, to Barton FinkPacific Heights, Fright Night, The Strangers and Funny Games… (don’t even get me started on the evil Castevets couple in Rosemary’s Baby) – the film industry and audiences alike love their sinister Neighbors from Hell, and Home invasion stories.

Cautionary takeaway from all of these films: Sometimes it pays to mind your own business, keep your doors locked, and keep to yourself.

Of course, sometimes that’s not as easy as it sounds.

If you’ve ever been an apartment dweller you’ll be more than familiar with having to share common walls, not to mention bear the brunt of the annoying and creepy sounds that can accompany them – creaking floorboards, echoing footfalls, shouts in corridors, it can be enough to drive even the most sane person mad, especially at the witching hour when all you’re trying to do is get a good night’s sleep.

Michael Kospiah’s short horror script, Shuteye, opens on the third floor of just such an apartment building. In the early hours of the morning we meet -

Tom, an irritable grump with resting-asshole face...

He’s glaring up at the ceiling from his bed as -

LOUD THUDDING and YELLING comes from the apartment above…

Fed up with the noise, Tom does what any self-respecting person would do when being kept awake at two in the morning –

Up on his tippy-toes, he pounds the side of his fist on the ceiling.

For a moment there’s silence.

He lies back down in bed… snuggles against his pillow.

And then -

The LOUD THUDDING continues…

This time however, it’s even louder.

Oh, c’mon! All Tom wants is a bit of Shuteye.

Tom storms out of his apartment and heads upstairs…

Eek! Maybe not the smartest idea …

Especially when we read on to discover, uh-oh, Tom’s left his apartment door wide open.

Cut to a bit later and we discover Tom is not the only inhabitant of this apartment building having problems with things going bump in the night.

On the second floor in Apartment #2, Nancy is having a similar problem with the same violent thudding and yelling coming from above.

Incensed, she rolls out of bed.

Grabbing the nearest thing to her -

… she beats the end of the broomstick against the ceiling…

Oh, dear… Remember when we warned about keeping yourself to yourself?

If you’ve ever read Michael Kospiah’s work you’ll be well acquainted with his talent for tapping into universal fears. A specialist at writing macabre and twisted tales with a sting in the tale and usually with more than a hint of blood, Michael is not only a master at building suspense but he also possesses that unique talent of lulling an audience into a false sense of security – and of using both sound and deathly silence to great effect, with the end result being that you’re always on the edge of your seat.

Another talent he has is of evoking dread with just one well placed visual. Reading Shuteye for the first time instantly took me back to Johnny Depp’s character in Nightmare on Elm Street and that now infamous scene of poor old Glen being sucked into the depths of hell through his own mattress … Not that we’re suggesting you’re going to need buckets of blood with Shuteye, but a pint or two just might come in handy.

To say anymore about Shuteye’s plot would be to spoil the surprises and the shocks.

Suffice to say if you’re a fan of all things Hollywood here’s something to bear in mind: Horror is big-business. If you follow trends you’ll also be aware that often times ‘short horror films’ can lead to a quick leg-up in the business. You only need look at  The BabadookOculus Chapter 3, ToothFairy, Lights Out, Trick ‘R Treat, Mama, and Saw, to name just some feature length films that all began as humble Shorts.

FILMMAKERSThere's no need to lose any sleep over this one. Get banging on Michael’s door so you can get this one in the can and entered into Screamfest, Shriekfest, or any of the other myriad horror festivals available.

Second thoughts: a better approach might be a polite email.

The Script


A disturbance in an upstairs apartment keeps neighbors living below from getting a good night's sleep. But that's the least of their worries when the disturbance works its way downstairs, one apartment at a time.

About The Reviewer

L. Chambers's picture
Real name: 

L.Chambers has been writing all her life – especially in her head, and on scraps of paper. It’s only in the last few years she began to get serious about screen-writing. Prior to this she worked in the Features Department for ABC TV as a Program Assistant, and trained as a FAD. She currently works as a freelance web-content editor and lives with her husband (also a screenwriter) in Sydney, Australia.Read more

About The Writer

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