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The Peculiar Intricacies of a Teenage Psychopath

The stars align when a suicidal girl meets a homicidal boy. Their relationship blossoms until they realize that their plans aren’t as aligned as they had thought.

Lily Short longs for the day that she no longer has to be alive. Cameron Bateman is near certain that he is a psychopath and wants to put his theory to the test by killing someone. As the fates would have it, they are paired together for a class project and hit it off rather well. It turns out that Cameron is not, in fact, a psychopath, but falls deeply in love with Lily. Lily, on the other hand, feels little change from her casually suicidal mindset. That is, until she does some snooping through Cameron’s journal and discovers his plan to kill her.

She is ecstatic.

Lily begins to dress her best and take Cameron on dates that are increasingly more convenient for murder, all the while imagining wonderful scenes in which he does kill her. He never does though, and Lily becomes more and more frustrated. Lily ends up in a psychiatric hospital after a suicide attempt and refuses to talk to Cameron until her suicide watch has been lifted. Once she is back home, Lily invites Cameron to their favorite place and gives him one last chance to pull the trigger.

  • Daniela Smith
  • Daniela Smith
  • Joseph Lyon
    Key Cast
    "Cameron Bateman"
  • Ciara Miller
    Key Cast
    "Lily Short"
  • Carrie Shamseldin
    Key Cast
    "Mrs. Wylie"
    Loud Voices Silent Streets, Runaway
  • Scott Mullett
    Key Cast
    "Merle Bateman "
  • Tyren Williams
    Director of Photography
  • Project Type:
    Short, Student, Television
  • Genres:
    Drama, romance, thriller
  • Runtime:
    20 minutes 46 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    June 16, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - Olympic College
Director Biography - Daniela Smith

Daniela Smith is a PNW based filmmaker with a concentration in screenwriting and directing. Spring of 2021 marks the conclusion of their Bachelor's program in Digital Filmmaking at Olympic College and waves in the start of new possibilities in the world of film. They are pursuing an MFA in film at the Vermont College of Fine Arts to further their screenwriting skills.
Peculiar Intricacies is Daniela's debut in writing and directing for film.

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Director Statement

Mental illness and disabilities are things that many of us struggle with and yet have been so shockingly misrepresented in film. This project began as a short, very much just a set up and punchline: suicidal girl meets homicidal boy but things don't work out the way they want. But the more time I spent with this story, the more I saw my own struggles in it, I realized it couldn’t end there. The trope of mental illness being used to create violent and antagonistic characters has done so much harm that I was demonizing my own disability.

I became aware of my autism much at the same time that I realized Cameron was as well. Cameron is very much a version of myself from when I didn’t understand that the way I showed emotions was just different than neurotypical people, not absent. I have been called “cold-hearted” in moments of intense emotional turmoil purely because the way I express myself is different from the norm. It has taken a lot of time and support for me to accept that how others perceive my apparent lack of emotions is not an indicator that I am not feeling them.

My understanding of Cameron helped me further understand that Lily suffers from OCD as a result of her PTSD. That’s when the rest of the story began to fall into place. The Peculiar Intricacies of a Teenage Psychopath became less about a troubled young girl becoming a small-town serial killer and more of a warning to those struggling about what can happen if you don’t seek and accept help. Mental illness will not inevitably lead to a homicidal streak, but refusing help and prolonging your pain will only serve to hurt yourself and those you love. I’ve watched as close friends and family tear their relationships apart by refusing to seek help, I’ve lost friends in much the same way. There is always a point at which you must take accountability for yourself to get help before it’s too late. I hope that this story in its entirety will serve as a realization for others like me that asking for and accepting help is the only way out of whatever darkness you find yourself in.

It’s a long way from the dark comedy-drama I had started with, but it has done me a great deal of healing to have brought it this far.