Saturday, 26 March 2016
A Way Through | Unproduced Horror Script by Michael Whitehouse
* Background: This script was a commission. I was approached by Vadim Falk who wanted to make a short film about a soldier coming back to his home town to catch up with a friend. After an evening of drinking, they get lost and come face to face with a demonic force. I had to significantly flesh out the idea and the resulting script is below. I always liked some of the imagery and think it would have made an effectively creepy horror film. Unfortunately, the film has never been made. But why let a script rot in the darkness? At least now it can be read.*
A Way Through
An Idea by Vadim Falk and Chris Rogers
EXT. WOODS - NIGHT
Stillness. Trees stand tall and silent, populating a
remote landscape; cold and watchful. The night sky
blankets the wilderness in darkness. Overgrown bushes
provide sanctuary for nocturnal creatures.
Hiding amongst the untamed branches of a large bush stands
a MAN, staring intently as if frozen by the night. A bead
of sweat descends from his forehead. Breathing erratically
as if recovering from a chase, he pulls aside a branch
hanging in front of his face, cautiously peering outward
into the night.
Something is wheezing in the darkness, a slow rhythmic
breath as of someone dying. Fear creeps across the man’s
face; the breathing slowly approaches. It grows louder
still, now deafening.
Terrified, the man squeezes his eyes shut tight like a
child hiding from the dark. As the wheezing breath reaches
an unbearable crescendo, it suddenly stops.
Opening his eyes slowly, the man sees nothing.
A pale, rotten hand slips casually into his, clasping his
fingers between its as a loved one would. He turns to look
at the thing holding his hands. For the briefest of
moments we see his UNWELCOME COMPANION; pale, languid,
CUT TO: Black
The sound of gunfire can be heard intermixed with men
shouting in the distance.
White letters fade in: ’A Way Through’
INT. TERRY’S HOUSE - DAY
TERRY, a man in his late 20s, sits at a table in his
living room; a room like any other. Military magazines lie
strewn across the table showing headlines and stories
reporting on a military conflict in Afghanistan.
With great care, Terry glues the final piece onto a small
model tank he has been building.
There is a knock at Terry’s front door. He ignores it and
continues in his attempts to finish his model.
Another knock is heard, but again Terry ignores it,
transfixed by his potential accomplishments.
With a third round of knocks on his front door, Terry
accidentally pushes too hard against the tank, breaking
off a piece. He throws it down in frustration.
This better be good!
Walking from his living room into a hallway, Terry opens
the front door. SAM, a man in his early 30s, stands
grinning from ear to ear with his arms open as if waiting
for an expectant embrace.
Jesus Christ Sam.
Hello Terry. You look surprised
to see me.
I am! I had no idea you were
back, mate. Come in!
Sam hesitates momentarily.
Get your coat, ya maniac. Let’s
go to the pub.
Just give me two seconds.
Terry disappears enthusiastically into another room,
unseen. Sam stands patiently at the door.
(Distant) I was just
thinking of you, I was
finishing a model tank.
(Shouting so Terry can hear
him) You still wasting your
time on that nonsense?
Terry appears, wearing a jacket. Stepping outside, he
closes and locks the front door.
It’s not nonsense. It calms my
Nerves? (laughs) You should try
driving a real one, mate, you’d
shit your pants.
Always the Same you soldiers, off
on a jolly in some sunny resort
and you come back here talking
like you’re Arnold fucking
Both men walk down Terry’s garden path into the distance,
shoving and toying with one another like old school
friends. Their voices disappear slowly as they wander out
into the street.
I’d eat Arnie for breakfast
You mean you’d serve Arnie
breakfast more like.
They’re laughter fades down the street as they continue on
INT. PUB - DAY
Sam and Terry sit at a table, sipping their pints of beer
in their local pub; a rather ordinary rural affair, quiet
with old residents propping up the bar while making eyes
at the younger barmaids.
So what’s been happening around
Terry stares into his drink for a moment, as if afraid to
Nothing, mate. Nothing at all.
Have you been looking after Lucy
for me like I asked?
Yeah...of course...I’ve been
checking in on her and the little
one every few days. I can’t
believe how big your Jack is
getting, I was sure he tried to
say my name the other day.
Sam stares intently at Terry, observing him closely.
I’m sure he did.
Terry takes a large gulp of beer, resting his glass on the
Sorry, mate. It must be hard
being over there dealing with all
of that mess and wondering what’s
happening with your family over
I don’t mind.
A smile creeps across Sam’s face.
Sometimes I think it would be
harder over here...
Never mind that, you’re back here
now. I’m sure you’ll get to spend
plenty of time with them.
I hope so.
I see Afghanistan hasn’t yet made
a man out of you.
Terry points at Sam’s half drank pint.
Drink up ya big girl, you’re
home, it’s time to celebrate!
Sam nods at Terry’s pint.
Not a problem, not a problem. I
will demolish this pint as only a
true man can.
Terry waves his hand as he speaks, knocking his pint over
in the process.
Both men laugh.
You’re an idiot. Go and get
Still laughing, Terry stands up and leaves Sam sitting
alone at the table. Sam giggles to himself, still amused
by his friends’ clumsiness.
The smile slowly fades from Sam’s face as he stares down
at his hands, which begin to tremble. He quickly clasps
them together as Terry reappears with two pints of beer.
Let’s get pissed.
EXT. OUTSIDE OF A PUB - NIGHT
Sam and Terry stumble out through the pub doors, laughing
and clearly drunk. Both men wander off down a quiet
country road into the distance singing ’show me the way to
go home’ repeatedly, flanked on all sides by darkness.
’Show me the way to go home, I’m
tired and I want to go to bed. I
had a little drink about an hour
ago, and it’s went right to my
head. Wherever I may roam,
through land or see or foam. You
will always hear me singing this
song, show me the way to go
EXT. A LONELY COUNTRY ROAD - NIGHT
A road winds itself through the countryside with the
occasional companionship of twisted trees on either side.
Hills rise and fall, vanishing into the night.
Show me the way to go home, I’m
tired and I..
Sam leaves the road, throwing up behind an old cobbled
Ah, told you, you squadies can’t
hold your drink..
Sam reappears wiping sick from the side of his mouth.
I’d love to see you handle a tour
in Afghanistan... then we’d see
how strong your stomach really
I prefer to look at the troops
from afar...maybe I was a General
in another life.
Yeah, probably shot by his own
Both men laugh. Sam puts his arm over Terry’s shoulder as
they continue on their way.
Terry, I’m worried about Lucy.
What do you mean.
I think she’s been having an
affair while I’ve been away.
Nah, she wouldn’t, don’t be daft.
Sam stops and sits by the road.
I’m serious Terry, I spoke to her
on the phone a couple of weeks
ago. I heard a man in the
background and she said there was
no one there.
Honestly Sam. She isn’t having an
affair, I’d have noticed, I’ve
been around a lot making sure her
and the little one have been
Yeah, thanks Terry, but I know
Look it’s probably just stress,
post traumatic or something, have
you not seen the deer hunter?
So you’re sure Lucy hasn’t been
with anyone else.
And you’d tell me if you knew she
Of course I would. Look, let’s
get back to the house, Lucy must
be wondering where you are, and
I’ve got a model tank to curl up
in bed with.
Both men laugh. Sam stands up.
Do you trust me Terry?
Absolutely, I’d even leave you
alone with my tank, no hanky
Terry laughs, but Sam remains silent, staring intently.
I’m glad, because I trust you.
I’ve always trusted you, ever
since you pulled Gibson off of me
at school and took that beating.
That was painful, you know I
bumped in to him recently...still
a tosser but the joke's on him, he
got real fat.
Both men giggle for a moment. Sam then returns to a more
I want to show you something
Terry. Something that you have to
swear you’ll never show to anyone
What is it? Is it a present? It’s
some illegally obtained Afghan
heroine isn’t it?
Shutup, don’t be silly. Do you
promise not to tell anyone once
you’ve seen it?
Yes I promise, cross my heart
hope to die, stick a needle
in my eye
Swear on your life.
What are you, 12?
Swear on your life that you’ll
never so much as whisper one word
of what you’ll see, not one word,
On your life.
Jesus Christ, I swear on my life!
Now what is it?
You’ll need to follow me.
Sam climbs over a wall which runs parallel to the road and
continues off the beaten track, into the night.
You’ve got to be kidding me.
Reluctantly, Terry follows.
EXT. WOODS - NIGHT
Sam walks confidently through a woodland scene; dark,
foreboding. Terry follows, cursing every time he steps in
some unseen mess, or when his clothes are snagged by
finger-like spindly branches.
Why can’t you just tell me what
I can’t. You need to see it.
I call bullshit. Why can’t you
Sam stops and turns to face Terry, his face lit up in the
You said you trusted me. So trust
me, we’re almost there.
OK, OK, but it better be good.
Both men continue onwards.
A THUDDING CRACK is heard coming from deep within the
Both men stop.
What was that?
I don’t know. Probably just an
animal, a deer wandering through
the woods or something. The hills
are littered with them.
Terry starts walking.
A THUDDING CRACK is heard again, louder.
That was closer
That’s just your imagination
playing tricks on you.
I’m telling you that was closer.
C’mon, we’re nearly there.
Sam takes one step forward and stops suddenly as the Same
THUDDING CRACK is heard again, this time from only a few
Oh, Christ Sam, what is that?
I don’t know.
I’m thinking let’s get the fuck
out of here.
Stop being a baby, it’s just an
I have seen both the Blair Witch
Project and Deliverance and I can
tell you that I do not want to
get raped by an angry ghost.
Both men laugh nervously. Terry continues laughing, but
Sam has stopped.
Terry, I want you to listen
carefully to me.
Is this you going into commando
I’m going to start running, and
when I do, I want you to stay
right behind me.
Because there is something slowly
edging towards us.
Fuck you! Stop playing games,
you’re talking bullshit, absolute
Terry stops. The sound of shuffling footsteps through the
undergrowth can be heard.
You said it was a deer, it’s Ok,
you said it was a deer.
It’s not a deer Terry, get ready.
How do you know?
I can see it, and it looks like a
A BLOOD CURDLING GROAN echoes from the darkness. Sam heads
off as quickly as he can, deeper into the woods. Terry
Panicked and disorientated, Terry trips on something in
the undergrowth, falling face first onto the woodland
floor. Looking up, Terry can only see a few feet in front
of him, with no sign of Sam.
Just as Terry prepares to pick himself up off of the
ground, he lies frozen; the SOUND OF SHUFFLING FEET has
returned. Terry looks to the side, but afraid to draw
attention he remains on his front unable to see what is
coming from behind.
As the SHUFFLING FOOTSTEPS increase in volume, a blurry,
SHADOWY FIGURE comes into focus.
(whispering and crying)
Oh, God, Sam...
A PALE WHITE HAND emerges from the shadowy figure as if
feeling the darkness. The SHUFFLING stops. Now aware of
Terry’s presence, its feet, bound together by old rotting
rope and tattered cloth touch those of Terry’s.
The figure drops to its knees, its face unseen. It begins
to WHEEZE and breathe heavily as it places its hands on the
back of Terry’s legs, pulling itself up his body.
Please, God help me!
A HAND comes into view, it is Sam. Grabbing Terry, he
pulls him away from the shambling figure and onto his
As both men dart between trees and over bushes making
their escape, a horrid GROAN echoes throughout the woods.
What the hell was that!?
I’ve no idea, but I’m not hanging
around to find out.
EXT. A FIELD - NIGHT
Tired and out of breath, Terry and Sam finally break free
of the overgrown woods. Standing on the outskirts of the
treeline, both men attempt to catch their breaths. A
wilderness stretches out beyond them.
Bent over with his hands on his knees, Terry breathes
deeply, looking fearfully back towards where they have
We should keep going, what if it
comes out of the woods?
We’re safe now, whatever that
thing was, it lives in that
place, in the shadows. There’s no
cover out here.
That might be true of the
Taliban, but I’m not so sure
about that thing.
Terry stands up and stretches.
Where the hell are we?
Ock Park, apparently.
Terry draws closer. Sam stands in front of an old iron
gate, rusted with age. Sam runs his fingers across a sign
which is partially obscured by branches.
The sign reads OCK PARK
We made it.
Sam, it can’t be.
I’m just reading the sign, mate,
and we seem to be standing at the
gates of Ock Park.
I’ve lived here my whole life
Sam, and so have you, there’s no
fucking way that this is Ock
Park. Someone’s put that sign
there for a laugh...Wait a
minute, very funny you tosser.
This is all a joke isn’t it? The
creepy blind guy in the woods,
now this old gate with ’Ock Park’
written on it, who was the blind
guy? I bet it was Luggie, wasn’t
Terry runs back towards the woods.
Alright Luggie you twat, c’mon
out! Very funny ya bastard.
A HORRIBLE GROAN echoes from the woods, Terry stops as he
hears it, then moves back quickly to the gate.
Terry fumbles for his mobile phone.
I can’t get any signal out here,
not one bar. What about you?
No one’s getting a signal here,
the hills mask it. Terry, this is
real. I don’t know what that was
in the woods, but I don’t want to
hang about and find out. Let’s
cut through here.
Are you fucking mad? Ock Park?
What are you worrying about? Are
you scared of all those old
stories? That was just crap to
scare us when we were kids; it’s
just a park.
Ock Park, just a park, are you
mental? Johnny Warden went
missing in there, so did Lisa
Maine. I’m not going near it!
Just stories. Have you ever
actually been in it before?
Contrary to popular belief, I
don’t normally prance around the
British countryside in the middle
of the fucking night being chased
by Mr Magoo in the woods, so no!
I haven’t either..
Sam grows distant as he caresses the Ock Park sign.
I didn’t even think it existed.
Terry paces up and down, livid.
Right, brilliant. Fuck this! I’ve
seen The Twilight Zone, some
fictional place pops into
existence just in time to swallow
up our intrepid heroes into some
sort of twisted nightmare. Nope.
Not doing it.
The THUDDING SOUND from within the woods rings out once
more, accompanied by the SLOW RUSTLING of leaves and the
snap of branches being trodden on by an UNSEEN ASSAILANT.
We don’t have much choice.
You said it wasn’t going to come
I had to calm your nerves.
An ECHOING GROWN bellows from deep within the woods.
Something moves, obscured by the tree line.
Terry looks at Sam with a fearfully sardonic smile.
Ock Park it is then.
Both men pass through the gates, as once more a RASPING
GROAN twists through the trees.
EXT. OCK PARK - NIGHT
Terry and Sam wander through Ock Park, a wide open track
of grass disappearing into the night.
Lucy told me about this place.
About the disappearing kids?
No, everyone knows about that.
What very few people know is that
Ock Park once housed a hospital
for the wounded, sent home from
the front line in the first world
Yes. After it ended in 1918 it
was turned into an asylum for
veterans who...couldn’t cope.
Piss off! An insane asylum for
soldiers? I’m normally up for a
laugh, mate, but I’m just telling
you, don’t try to creep me out
here, I just want to go home.
Don’t we all...
Nothing. There’s nothing to be
afraid of here, Terry. Lucy told
me that there was a subsidence in
the land. It collapsed, dragging
the asylum with it into the
ground. No one survived. Unknown
to anyone at the time, the asylum
had been built on top of an
What does this have to do with
anything? Other than making me
need a change of pants.
I’m saying that there is nothing
supernatural going on about those
kids disappearing. They walked
out into the hills to play and
fell into the hole where the
asylum used to be. Dragged into
the water, deep into the
Sam stops walking.
Silence permeates the very air around them; the night is
Sam grabs Terry as he screams.
Both men laugh.
Your face was priceless.
They continue deeper into the park.
Thank God that story was bullshit
though, I was having images of
dead soldiers puling me down into
Jokes aside, that was what Lucy
told me, Terry. She said she read
about it when she was studying
for her history degree.
Yes. I thought she was winding me
up because she knew we were all
still freaked out by the mere
mention of Ock Park since we were
kids, but she said she had been
here and that the back of the
park led on to Hunter’s hill, and
I can get us to town from there.
Well thank Christ for Lucy!
Well, I’m not 100% sure I’d
believe anything that comes out
of her mouth, mate. She’s a liar.
Sam, drop it, she isn’t cheating
I know she is.
I just do.
FADE TO BLACK
Gun fire can be heard; men at war shouting for their very
EXT. THE PATH - NIGHT
Marching down a grassy hillside, Terry and Sam come to a
long and winding path which darts off in either direction.
Right! I know where we are.
Thank Jesus, no fuck that, thank
Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Mufasa...
The only problem is, which way do
Sam looks in one direction, then another and back again.
I think it’s this way.
I’m pretty sure it is. We’ll just
walk for ten minutes and if we
don’t see any lights from the
town, we’ll double back.
Well, you are the soldier. Lead
the way sir.
Terry salutes sarcastically as both men begin down the
What was it you wanted to show me
out here anyway?
You’ll see. Ah yes, we’re heading
in the right direction. It’s on
If it’s on the way, that’s fine,
but let’s not take any detours.
The path bends around the side of a hill, obscured by its
prominence. Sam stops.
What do you mean, I don’t see
You will, it’s just around this
corner, but look, I’m not
supposed to show this to you, but
I want to share it with you. You
need to tell me you trust me.
I trust you Sam, more than most,
can we just get this over with?
That’s good, because I’ve always
trusted you. My kid trusts you.
Lucy trusts you...
Sam stares intently at Terry. An uncomfortable silence
fills the night between both men..
Sam...I’m so sorry...
Sorry for what?
There’s something I need to tell
Sam springs to life with a grin across his face.
Hold that thought! Stay right
here, I’ll be back in two
minutes. You won’t believe this
when you see it.
Smiling from ear to ear, Sam runs off around the corner,
disappearing behind the hill.
Where the fuck are you going?
Stay there! Just wait!
Terry casts his eye over the countryside, shaded by night.
The darkened landscape lies all around, menacing,
FADE TO BLACK
The SOUND of GUNFIRE can be heard, accompanied by the
SCREAMS of men dying.
FADE FROM BLACK
Time has passed. Terry sits by the side of the path,
nervously peering all around him at the slightest sound.
Frustrated, he stands up.
Sam! Sam are you there?!
Terry’s words echo out into the abyss with no reply.
Sam! Jesus, come back! This isn’t
funny, I’m going to kill you!
Stop messing around!
As Terry finishes shouting, he looks around once more, but
something has caught his eye in the opposite direction
from where Sam disappeared.
Lying on the path a few metres away is what looks like a
child’s blanket. It’s hard to see, but it lies flat on the
ground, blue, covered in patterns appropriate for a child.
Approaching slowly, Terry moves closer as the blanket
comes into view more clearly, his feet almost touching it.
On closer inspection it is tattered, smeared in handprints
forged out of a red liquid.
Terry bends down and touches the liquid which covers his
finger tips, he recoils in horror.
Jesus Christ that’s blood.
Staring down at the blanket, still bent over, Terry hears
the sound of SLOW FOOTSTEPS in front of him. He stands up
slowly, keeping his eyes trained on the darkness, a few
metres down the path.
The FOOTSTEPS cease.
SILENCE. He stares down at the blood on his hands, wiping
it on his sides.
In the darkness the sound of a CHILD’s LAUGHTER is heard
for a moment. Terry stands frozen to the spot, gripped by
Suddenly, a hand lurches out from under the blanket on the
ground and touches his foot. Terry, horrified, turns and
runs in the direction of Sam.
Sam! Help me! Sam, it’s the kids!
They’re here! Sam!
Sam does not reply. Terry disappears around the corner
finding himself surrounded by a thick mist.
EXT. A GRAVEYARD SHROUDED BY FOG - NIGHT
Sam! Please. What the fuck is
this! I can’t see anything!
He slows down, looking behind himself momentarily in fear.
Through the wisps of mist, strange shapes appear. A stone
angel, crosses; implications of a graveyard.
What is this place?
Terry stops, catching his breath and looking at his phone
which still has no signal. He slumps down and sits at the
foot of a statue with his back against the stone, burying
his head in his hands.
Oh god, Sam...
Sitting there something stirs behind him. Terry raises his
head, moving slowly. Standing up, he turns to face the
statue. Someone is standing behind the stone figure, yet
Terry cannot see it completely, obscured as it is by the
Terry slowly walks around the statue. Sam stands there,
motionless, his back facing towards Terry.
Oh Christ, you scared the shit
out of me! Look Sam, we need to
get out of here, I think I just
had a bit of a meet and greet
with those missing kids, and I
don’t care to repeat the
experience. So let’s just get the
fuck out of here, lead the way.
Sam does not turn around, but instead starts to WHIMPER,
Oh, god, Lucy...Lucy...Lucy
It’s alright, mate. Nothing’s
happened, let’s get you home to
Lucy and the kid.
Terry stretches his hand out and rests it on Sam’s back in
a comforting way. Sam slowly turns his head around. It’s
not Sam, but something wearing his clothes; white, palid,
blackness where there once were eyes.
Terry screams and runs off into the mist. Tombstones zip
past as Terry frantically looks for an escape. The sound
of GUNFIRE and SCREAMS can be heard in the distance.
EXT. A SMALL POCKET OF WOODLAND - NIGHT
Finally the mist begins to clear and Terry find himself in
an overgrown pocket of trees.
Exhausted, he stops, looking around fearfully.
A moment passes and he hears something STUMBLING again in
the darkness. Something inhuman in the distance SCREAMS
Terry darts towards an overgrown collection of bushes and
He stands peering through some overgrown branches, pushing
to the side one which is obscuring his view. A bead of
sweat runs down his forehead.
Something WHEEZES in the darkness, growing louder as if
nearby. Terry closes his eyes tight in fear. The WHEEZING
ceases at its loudest. Terry opens his eyes and breaths a
sigh of relief.
A morbid, dead hand slides into Terry’s. He turns to be
greeted by the face of the thing in the graveyard.
Once again, Terry SCREAMS and runs for his ife.
Leaping, running, stumbling, he puffs and gasps for air as
he invests every ounce of energy left in escaping the
clutches of his putrid pursuer.
Negotiating his environment rather clumsily, Terry trips
and falls in the undergrowth. Dazed, he pulls himself to
his feet. Sitting in front of him is the mouth of a small
Terry looks around for his next route of escape.
Help me! Terry! Please!
Terry inches closer to the mouth of the cave, as he does
so Sam’s pleas for help grow louder.
Sam?! I’m coming, Sam!
Terry scrambles over to the mouth of the cave, and
I’m coming Sam!
Pulling out his mobile phone, Terry opens it, using the
dim blue light that it emits as a makeshift torch.
With each step, Sam’s voice nears.
Stopping at a wall, Terry turns the light to reveal
markings. Children’s red and black hand prints cover the
stony surface. Terry continues onwards, revealing more
hand prints as he progresses.
Suddenly, his PHONE RINGS. Looking at the caller ID, it
Thank God, Lucy. We need help. I
couldn’t get a signal to call
(on phone, crying)
I’ve been trying to reach you all
You need to phone for help Lucy,
fire department, police, mountain
The phone CRACKLES with interference, obscuring Lucy’s
words. Sam’s CRIES can still be heard.
Where have you been? I needed
you, someone said they saw you in
the pub drinking alone.
No, I’m with Sam. There’s no time
to explain, I think he’s trapped
in here with me, we need help!
Sam...? Sam’s dead Terry, he was
killed in action this morning.
No...he’s alive, I’ve been with
him all day...
STATIC ends the phone call abruptly.
Terry stops at a word scrawled in blood on the wall. It
reads: "I trusted You".
A shuffling movement is heard from behind. Terry turns to
reveal a demonic form of Sam, rotten, putrid, hate-filled,
dead. It lunges towards Terry.
CUT TO BLACK
Gunfire, distant explosions, and men shouting about
needing medical support for a wounded soldier are drowned
out by the roar of a helicopter.
White letters fade in: "A Way Through", "A Film by Vadim