Joseph discovers the reality of what it’s like to be a faithful Christian living in a world of online temptation.
Details: 3 pages, sample of the (unwritten) film
Note: The story is heavily based off of Alfred Hitchcock’s bold move to explore the relationship between love, sex, death, and murder. It aims to use Hitchcock’s fascination with love and death to discuss 21st century controversial topics, such as religious conservatism and mental health.
(Plot summary at the bottom of the post)
It’s Sunday and quiet in the small town of Jacksonville. Joseph wakes up in his dark, studio apartment and walks half-asleep to his desk. He clicks the space bar a few times while yawning and logs on to a dating website. He moves the mouse to the blank messages tab out of habit. He then gets up, unsurprised, and in his tattered bathrobe and underwear, heads to make coffee. He pours the coffee unenthusiastically with a long sigh. We then suddenly see him put his coffee cup down on the bathroom counter while standing in front of a foggy mirror, his gaze focused on taking his daily medication. Joseph roughly screws the cap back on the bottle and walks out of the bathroom leaving all his toiletries out on the counter.
A few moments pass, and Joseph leaves his apartment, his head held high and posture erect. His fancy Sunday shoes clack on the stone of the sidewalk as his feet lead him to Sunday mass. Joseph opens both doors to the church and strides in. Halfway through mass, Joseph is giving a sermon. Joseph walks away from the alter back to his front row seat smiling.
Mass ends, and Joseph leads a discussion on drug abuse in the basement of the church. He watches patiently to each attendee as they walk through the rusty door to the basement. After everyone has entered, the sound of heels can be heard walking down the stairs to the basement. Joseph’s gaze looks up as Emily enters the room in a colorful summer dress. She walks in and smiles in embarrassment as she realizes how overdressed she was. Joseph excuses her and drags a chair over for her to join the discussion.
At the end of the meeting, Joseph walks up to Emily and thanks her for attending. She smiles and said it was the first time she’s ever gone to group therapy before. Joseph, half listening half observing her physique, nodded. Emily noticed his gaze and asked if he’s doing anything later in the week. Without hesitation, Joseph said no. Emily smiles and confidently walks off back to her car. Joseph watches her with lust in his eyes.
The next day, Joseph’s morning routine repeats. He walks out of his apartment and walks quickly to his mother’s retirement home. He enters the building quickly and says hi to all the staff he runs into. Once in the room with breakfast on a tray, Joseph sits down next to Abigail, his mother, who rests with her eyes closed and her expression disturbed. She asks how mass went and then proceeds to insult the drug group therapy session Joseph created and how his failure as an individual is due to his time helping sinners. Joseph ignores her remark and leaves after kissing her on her forehead.
The next few nights, Joseph and Emily have sex in Joseph’s apartment. By the end of the third night, Emily stops Joseph from groping her and asks to talk. Joseph, annoyed to be disrupted, asks what she wants to discuss. She says she wants to be in a relationship. Joseph, confused, asked what more needs to be done for it to be a relationship. Emily attempts to storm out of the room angry. Joseph grabs her and brings her back into his apartment. Emily and Joseph fight; Joseph hits Emily. Emily stumbles out of his apartment barely together.
Joseph wakes up and proceeds through his normal routine. However, when he walks out to go to church, his stride angry and his clothes ruffled. He sits in the back of the church and doesn’t speak a word. He then attends his group therapy session and notices Emily’s absence. He thinks nothing of it.
Later that evening, Emily’s murder is reported. Joseph’s heart sinks and he runs to the police station. Through tears, he asks to see her body. The police ignore his plea and take him into questioning. After clearing his name, the police let Joseph go. Abigail calls him and disowns him for being in a relationship with a drug addict. Joseph attempts to tell her it was false information by the news, but she hangs up on him. Joseph sits at his desk, frustrated. He taps three times on the space-bar of his laptop and the dating site opens from memory. A notification can be seen at the top right part of the screen, but Joseph doesn’t notice. Instead, he slams the laptop shut and heads to the church basement. He sits in the same spot Emily sat when they first met. He takes out his pills and a bottle of water. He swallows the entire bottle. Then, while crying, he begins to unzip his trousers while looking at a photo of Emily. Right as he manages to unbutton his pants, Joseph passes out on the floor of the silent basement.