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THE ECHOING contained psychological horror/thriller feature film treatment

Logline: A woman with agoraphobia, terrified of leaving her home, is trapped in the recurring nightmare of a home invasion when she discovers that confronting her darkest fears is the only way to keep from being attacked over and over again.

THE SETUP

Sydney, 30’s, pale, skinny but a lot going on behind her eyes, cooks dinner just like she does every night in her spacious but crowded basement unit apartment. She hears a noise down the hall. Strange as she lives alone. She flicks the hallway light switch but doesn’t work. She slowly walks down the hallway with a knife. She hears something at the open window…then sees a cat’s silhouette walk by the window. She spins around into the room but…nothing. She turns back to the window and a man crawls in the window!

Sydney wakes from a nightmare in her dark boarded up apartment.

Sydney believes she's found balance in her chaotic mind. A horrible tragedy has led to agoraphobia. She has the fear of God leaving her house so she's shut herself in for a couple years at least. She's lost track.

She's covered up the windows. Taken up a remote job on her laptop. Does video calls with friends. Has neighbors get groceries for her. Takes her medication religiously. She's existing.

Her awkward neighbor, VERN, suggests that phobias are triggered by childhood trauma and she needs to figure out what that was and confront it in order to overcome it.

She researches her past. Even makes a video call to her estranged sister to ask tough questions about their past. Her sister bristles, tells Sydney to "never contact her again", and hangs up.

Sydney then gets strange messages in her grocery items such as “You can free yourself if you commit.” She wants to ask her friendly grocery delivery friend but he's never the delivery guy anymore. Sydney's getting antsy and needs answers.

Then in the dead of the night, she hears a commotion coming from the study down the hall. She steps down the hall and peers into her study. It's the intruder from her nightmare crawling into the window!

Soon Sydney finds herself repeating this nightmare scenario over and over again but her agoraphobia has her trapped in her own apartment. Something must give. Do these mysterious messages hold the clue to her salvation? Is something in her past waiting to be discovered? Will someone in her life save her from her fate?

She must find an answer. The next time the intruder breaks in might be the last time. When she finally does find a clue to that answer, it changes everything and her entire world is not what it once was.

SYDNEY

Sydney's psyche is a battered shell. Yet she clings to her former self, a strong woman who loves deeply. Her deep sensitivity may be what's led to her psychological downfall. Nevertheless, she's now against a wall where she must confront her own demons to save her sanity and her life.

POTENTIAL FEMALE LEAD ACTRESSES

Clockwise from top left: Emily Blunt ("A Quiet Place"), Toni Collette ("Hereditary"), Elizabeth Olsen ("Silent House"), Florence Pugh ("Midsommar"), Lupita Nyong'O ("Us"), Samara Weaving ("Ready Or Not"), Essie Davis ("The Babadook")

THE INTRUDER

He is unrelenting. He comes every night. With out fail. All she knows about him is he's not there to steal anything. He's there to hurt her.

Clockwise from top left: Stephen Lang ("Don't Breathe"), Danny Trejo ("Machete"), Tony Todd ("Candyman"), Robert Englund ("Nightmare On Elm Street"), Michael Rooker ("Guardians of the Galaxy")

VERN

Vern is Sydney's neighbor who is her eyes to the world and surrogate therapist. He's there for her. He gets her groceries. Makes deliveries. He's a shoulder to cry on. There may be some sparks simmering which could ruin everything.

PROPOSED SUPPORTING ACTORS

Clockwise from top left: John Cho ("Searching"), Randall Park ("Always Be My Maybe"), Jordan Peele ("The Twilight Zone"), Brennan Brown("Man in the High Castle")

FELTON

Eventually Sydney crosses paths with a mysterious janitor who's holds the key to Sydney's salvation. But Felton has some deep psychological problems of his own. Can he overcome them? Or is he really there to save her?

PROPOSED SUPPORTING ACTORS

Clockwise from top left: Alex Wolff ("Hereditary"), Lew Temple ("The Walking Dead"), Aziz Ansari ("Master of None"), Osric Chau ("Supernatural"), Tim Blake Nelson ("Watchmen"), Steven Yuen ("The Walking Dead")

COMPARISON FILMS

Home invasion films have been a staple at the box office. The Echoing relies on a well-worn formula that amps up tension with a scenario where something must give.

  • The Strangers: box office $52.5M ($9M budget)
  • Don’t Breathe: box office $89M ($9.9M budget)
  • The Purge: Anarchy: box office $72M ($9M budget)
  • The First Purge: box office $69.5M ($13M budget)
  • The Purge: Election Year: box office $79M ($10M budget)
  • No Good Deed: box office $52.5M ($13.2M budget)
  • Dark Skies: box office $17.4M ($3.5M budget)
  • House at the End of The Street: box office $31.6M ($10M budget)
  • Hush: worldwide Netflix deal (budget $1M)

DIRECTOR'S STATEMENT

I've always found the contained thriller a fascinating cinematic landscape. I love movies where the main character is thrust into a predicament that they have to make tough choices to get out of.

The setting of "The Echoing" mirrors the mindscape of Sydney. She's afraid of the outside world. But she may be more afraid of who she's become because of her agoraphobia. Her apartment is a refuge, but also a prison cell. The intruder represents the change in life that we all must face whether we like it or not.

Thrillers are much more effective when we're in the world of the character's mind. So their mind's gotta be interesting! I can't wait to explore Sydney's paranoia, her chaos, her focus, her determination with dark shadows, still moments, creepy noises and gut-wrenching decisions that lead to wild plot twists and make it an entirely different movie.

This movie is a horrifying puzzle. You must figure out the puzzle before your sanity frays. Before you get killed. If the killer is even real.

THE FILMMAKER

Walter Boholst will be the writer, director and producer of THE ECHOING. Walter is an experienced creative who wrote/directed/co-produced the horror feature film "Voodoo Possession" with Danny Trejo that was distributed in the US by RLJ Entertainment and is available worldwide including territories in Europe, all of the Middle East and all of Latin America. He is also an entertainment attorney of almost 20 years with a specialization in film/TV distribution and foreign sales. His business consulting clients and employers have included Image/RLJ Entertainment (distributor), Dean Devlin's Electric Entertainment (production, distribution, foreign sales) and XYZ Films (foreign sales). His previous industry stints include Assistant Story Editor for MGM Pictures, as a reader for John Davis' Davis Entertainment (Predator, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) and in foreign sales at Initial Entertainment Group founded by Graham King (The Aviator, The Departed)

NOW SEEKING INVESTORS, PARTNERS, DISTRIBUTORS AND SALES AGENTS

Contact: Walter Boholst - gowalterb@gmail.com

View Walter's directing reel at his home page

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