Main Story Beats Analysis by Shari Goodhartz
- Nighttime abduction of ANDRE (20’s, black) to song Run Rabbit Run.
Set Up Character & Story
- Establish interracial relationship of 20-somethings CHRIS (a photographer) and ROSE. They pack to visit her parents’ lake house for the weekend. Chris is Rose’s first black boyfriend and she hasn’t told her parents about it; he’s concerned about their reaction. She assures him they aren’t racists.
- Introduce ROD (20s, black), Chris’s friend who works for the TSA. He thinks it’s a bad idea bad idea for Chris to go to the lake house. Old white folks may want to turn him into a sex slave. Chris laughs and hangs up, reassured that Rod will feed his dog, Sid.
- Driving to the lake house, their car hits a deer. The local police are wary of Chris, and Rose doesn’t like the way they treat him. Chris appreciates her privilege blindness.
- At the lake house, Rose’s mother MISSY (a psychiatrist) and father DEAN (a neurosurgeon) are aggressively welcoming to Chris, who notes that the family’s servants WALTER (30’s, the groundskeeper) and GEORGINA (30’s, the housekeeper) are a black couple whose behavior is exceedingly odd.
- Rose’s brother JEREMY (a medical student) arrives and challenges Chris to petty physical contests. Chris repeatedly demurs. Missy offers to help Chris with his cigarette addiction through hypnosis. Again, he demurs.
Plot Point I
- Chris has trouble sleeping and winds up in Missy’s home office. Using a teacup and a spoon as a relaxation trigger, she gets him to talk about the night of his mother’s death and we’re
suddenly with young Chris watching TV on that tragic, rainy night.
- Once he’s surrendered to her guidance, Missy sends him to “The Sunken Place.”
- Chris wakes up the next day remembering only that he’d been hypnotized.
Confrontations and Complications
- The annual gathering of Rose’s dead grandfather’s friends (mostly old, white couples) reveals that everyone is thrilled to meet Chris, but they’re also grossly inappropriate about his physicality – handsome, athletic, sexy, possessing unique artistic talent. Rose makes excuses for the ancients, and is sympathetic to Chris’s discomfort.
- Chris calls Rod to say how weird everyone is acting, but Missy seems to have cured his nicotine addiction with hypnosis. Rod is sure the all black folks are hypnotized.
- Chris meets LOGAN, recognizable as abducted-Andre from the film’s opening scene. “Logan” talks, dresses and behaves in ways clearly coded as old and white. He has an
elderly white wife, PHILOMENA, and the intimacy implied by the way this couple interacts clearly creeps out Chris.
Action Amps Up
- Chris realizes he knows “Logan” from somewhere else, and takes a flash photo of him. The flash causes “Logan’s” affect to utterly change. He starts bleeding from his nose. “Logan” yells at Chris to “Get out!” The others pull “Logan” away, the flash must have triggered his epilepsy…
- Rose takes Chris for a walk to calm him down as Dean leads a deeply unsettling auction –
somehow, Chris is “for sale.” Art gallery owner JIM makes highest bid.
- Back at the house, Chris sends Rod the picture of “Logan.” Rod recognizes Dre, a local
musician. Suddenly Rod’s ideas about sex slavery aren’t so outrageous. Something perverse and dangerous is going on at the lake house.
- Rose is in favor of Chris’s desire to leave. She walks out to find her bag, revealing a small,
open door by the window. Inside the little closet is a box of pictures of Rose, including a
series with black men who were clearly boyfriends, and with Georgina.
- Chris now has a singular focus: getting Rose’s car keys. He plays calm as she searches frantically for her keys, to help him. Chris heads downstairs to find Jeremy blocking the front door. Missy comes out of her office with teacup and spoon. Dean appears behind Missy, rambling on portentously about life’s purpose and mortality. WTF?
Plot Point II
- Hemmed in, Chris screams at Rose for the keys. Instantly cool, she holds them up: not going to happen. Three sharp teaspoon taps topple Chris, immobilized by Missy’s hypnotic trigger,
and he’s in The Sunken Place.
Resolution of Dramatic Premise
- Chris awakens tied up in a chair facing a TV. A video of Rose’s grandfather ROMAN explains a brain-transplantation cult assuring immortality for his family and friends.
- Online, Rod discovers Dre’s been missing for six months. Rod goes to the police with his brainwashing/sex-slave theory. He insists his anti-terrorist, TSA training means he should be taken seriously. The detectives erupt in laughter.
- Asleep, Chris scratches the chair arms, revealing cotton batting. He wakes to see Jim on TV (head shaved, in a hospital gown) to further explain. A sliver of Chris’s brain will be left intact and he’ll have limited consciousness… in The Sunken Place. In allother ways, Jim will be Chris, who will become a “passenger” in his own body.
- Later, the TV shows a spoon stirring tea. The hypnotic trigger… No! Chris goes limp; the TV goes dark. Jeremy enters, unbinds Chris’s hands. While Jeremy releases the leg ties, Chris grabs a nearby croquet ball and bashes Jeremy with it. When Jeremy is still, Chris pulls from his ears the cotton batting he’d “picked” earlier.
- One by one, Chris fights Dean, Missy, and again Jeremy. Chris gets Jeremy’s car keys. Upstairs, Rose wears headphones and is on her computer, oblivious to Chris’s escape. Rose is seeking her next prey – maybe a basketball player…
- Chris starts Jeremy’s car. Run Rabbit Run plays. The car peels off as Chris calls 911, which distracts him enough to miss seeing someone else in the driveway. He hits them. Upstairs, Rose realizes something is happening outside.
- In the side mirror, Chris sees Georgina on the ground. He wants to leave her behind, but then recalls that Georgina’s “passenger” shed a tear in front of him earlier.
- Chris deposits the unconscious Georgina in the passenger seat and gets in the driver’s side. Rose appears at the front door with a shotgun, which she racks and aims at the departing car, but lowers the weapon as she says “Grandma.”
- In the car, Georgina wakes up and screams. She punches Chris; forcing him to steer into a tree. Chris passes out. He wakes with his head on the wheel, Georgina dead beside him. Suddenly, the driver’s side window is shot out!
- Chris gets out to face Rose, who again racks her gun. Chris staggers off. Her shot hits a nearby tree. As Chris limps away, Rose calls over her shoulder, “Get him, Grandpa.” Walter races after Chris, tackles him. Rose approaches with the gun. Walter curses Chris, who grabs his phone and shoots the flash right at Walter.
- Stunned, Walter retreats to Rose. He asks her to let him do it. Rose hands Walter the gun. He shoots Rose in the gut. Walter’s nose bleeds as Rose drops. We see Walter’s forehead (he’s always worn a hat prior to this) where there’s a scar. Walter racks the gun and shoots upwards through his jaw, obliterating Roman’s transplanted brain.
- Rose reaches for the gun. Chris pulls it away; leans over her. Rose grabs Chris’s face, she’s sorry, she loves him. He nods, but starts to choke her. She pleads for him to stop, but her fear dissolves until she’s smiling smugly up at him, implying she always knew he’s just like her and her family. This horrific revelation of her deepest truth compels Chris to let go, leaving her – at least momentarily – confused.
- A car pulls up with lights and sirens. Rose reaches out to it… Help! Chris gets up, raises his arms in surrender. The door opens, revealing it’s an Airport Police car. As they realize it’s Rod, Chris lowers his arms, limps to the vehicle and gets in.
- Chris and Rod sit in the car a long beat. Rod reminds Chris he warned him not to come here. Chris is silent, then wonders how Rod found him. Rod exclaims he’s with the TSA. “We handle sh*t.”
- As the car drives off, Rose is left alone, bleeding out.