When his estranged young son is haunted by a malevolent spirit, Psychology professor and paranormal debunker LLOYD KENDAL must confront the phenomena he has spent his life trying to disprove, forcing him to face the demons of his own past and save his family.
“Ghosts do not exist”, says fervent paranormal skeptic LLOYD KENDAL 35, a psychology lecturer so obsessed with disproving the supernatural that his marriage broke up over it and now he rarely sees his introverted son SHAUN 5.
LLoyd hires SALLY 27, an assistant with an engineering degree who is privately looking for evidence that ghosts DO exits – her Mum died recently of cancer and she wants hope.
Lloyd and Sally clearly disagree about the paranormal. On their first investigation together Sally goads the reluctant Lloyd into attending a oiuja board session. When the word ‘MARK’ is spelt out Lloyd is angry, believing he is being conned.
But strange events now start to occur to Lloyd. First, an old schoolfriend STEPHEN 38 seeks him out, terrified his own house is haunted and wanting Lloyd to disprove it. Lloyd is reluctant to return to their old home town but Stephen insists. At Stephen’s house Lloyd is startled by unexplained paranormal events and suspecting Stephen is faking them he angrily abandons the investigation, clearly unsettled.
The next day Lloyd’s son Shaun claims he sees a ghost in his room at night. Sally is interested, but Lloyd accuses her of encouraging Shaun’s story and fires her. Increasingly inexplicable paranormal events now occur in Lloyd’s other investigations and at home. Denying the supernatural Lloyd instead blames his own deteriorating mental health.
Meanwhile, Sally revisits Stephen, and learns the truth: as teenagers Lloyd and Stephen faked a ouija board session, telling their best friend MARK that he would die. A week later Mark burned to death in an unexplained car crash. Lloyd has spent his entire life since trying to disprove the paranormal in order to absolve himself of guilt. But Stephen, edgy and on drugs, is convinced that the dead Mark is now tormenting him. He hangs himself in front of Sally.
Sally confronts Lloyd, convinced he somehow summoned Mark’s ghost with the recent ouija board session and that Mark is tomenting Shaun in revenge. Badly shaken and in increasingly desperate denial Lloyd resolves to disprove Shaun’s ghost that very night. But terrifying events occur, climaxing with the young Shaun screaming: “I am Mark!”. Stunned, Lloyd crashes backwards down the stairs, knocking himself senseless.
As Sally and Shaun wait in hospital for news of Lloyd, the boy admits to Sally that he actually just invented his ghost, in the hope it would make his Dad care more about him. For Sally, seeking evidence of an afterlife this is crushing. And she is saddened by Shauns desperation to be loved by his own father. She admits to the recovering Lloyd that perhaps ghosts don’t exist, except in your head, but that can be real enough - Lloyd needs to confront his demons and his sense of guilt once and for all. For his son. And then she quits.
So Lloyd returns to Mark’s old house in the village, to confront his past. Casting aside all his preconceptions he invites Mark’s spirit to appear to him. Footsteps approach down the corridor. But they belong to Mark’s sister who reveals that Mark crashed his car because he had taken drugs given to him by Stephen. The family hushed this up. Lloyd is in the clear and can let go of his guilt.
Lloyd returns home, untroubled for the first time in years, hugging Shaun, promising he will now spend more time with him, and inviting Sally for dinner. When Lloyd leaves the room Shaun tells Sally that Mark told him Sally’s Mum isn’t in pain anymore. Sally smiles – Shaun doesn’t have to make things up about Mark anymore.
As Lloyd, Sally and Shaun walk downstairs to dinner together like a family, happy, Shaun is the only one to see a man’s burned figure standing in the doorway to his bedroom, watching. The ghost of Mark.
DAVID ANDREW HOLROYDDirectorWRITER/DIRECTOR : THE HAUNTED (2020), WRITER/DIRECTOR: WMD (2009)
DAVID ANDREW HOLROYDWriterWRITER/DIRECTOR : THE HAUNTED (2020), WRITER/DIRECTOR: WMD (2009)
MATTHEW STRADLINGProducerPRODUCER : THE HAUNTED (2020) PIMP (2010)
Number of Pages:96
Country of Origin:Australia
SCREAMFEST LA OPENING NIGHT 2018LA
September 23, 2021
After directing over 50 hours of primetime TV drama in the UK David’s first feature film as Writer/Director was WMD in 2009, a political thriller about the faked Weapons of Mass Destruction evidence used to justify the invasion of Iraq that saw him bugged by MI5 and detained by the Italian authorities in Rome. The Guardian called it “enterprising and undeniably gripping”.
His second feature film The Haunted, debuted on the opening night of Screamfest in Los Angeles. Released by Vertical Entertainment and Kaleidoscope Film Distribution in May 2020, it was labeled “a hidden gem among horror movies” by Sci-Fi Moviepage and “a taut, engaging thriller” by Starburst magazine.
Now based in Perth after marrying an Australian David is currently developing his next supernatural feature film project with Romper Stomper creators Geoffrey Wright and Daniel Scharf, and a Sci-fi drama series set in Western Australia.
Ghost stories are about the living, not the dead, and Ghosthunter is fundamentally about reuniting fractured elements of family, a theme that is very close to my own heart, being a work obsessed Dad of young children.
This script has moved through a number of drafts to its current form, and I feel needs some more work in polishing the family theme.