We all have our secrets.
A night of babysitting can be a trying feat under normal circumstances. But what if the child you are sitting is a mix between Damien from The Omen and that kid from Looper?
As a favor to a coworker, married couple Brynn and Mike Carter are looking after young Jayden for the weekend. It’s nothing they can’t get through with a little pizza and a lot of wine. At first, Jayden seems perfectly content to play his uber-violent video games, until BZZZZ, ZAP, the power goes out. To pass the time without electricity, Brynn suggests a game of truth or dare. Little does she know, truth is sometimes a thing best kept secret.
Things start off normal enough, embarrassing dancing, movie impersonations, etc. But then, Jayden starts to ask some questions that are… difficult. He seems to have a preternatural ability to probe the weak spots of Brynn and Mike’s relationship. Like a young Hannibal Lector, Jayden knows just what to ask in order to manipulate and intimidate. Will Brynn and Mike’s relationship survive the weekend? Will any of them survive the night? From here, it’s a slow burn to an unforgettable finale. Give away the surprise ending? I wouldn’t dare!
The best payoffs in psychological horror scripts arise organically out of well-plotted circumstances. The illustrious, enduring finales of The Exorcist, Psycho, and of course Silence of the Lambs, are all made possible through their impeccably-structured first acts. So it is with Truth or Dare, which, in a few short pages establishes a situation that is at once high-concept and highly relatable. All of this builds to an ending that is both inevitable and completely surprising. It’s a rare feat and an absolute stunner of a screenplay that will unquestionably electrify the festival circuit.
I dare you to make this picture, because truthfully, the script is phenomenal!
Budget: Low. One room, three actors, and a pizza.
About the writer: Born and raised in Sweden, P.H. Cook is the director of the short film Them That’s Dead and writer of produced feature films Finders Keepers: The Root of All Evil and Blackout. She started writing screenplays in 2006 and has written over sixty short screenplays and ten features. She can be reached at gatortales (a) gmail.
About the Reviewer: Dane Whipple has one hand in his pocket, and the other hand is playing a piano. He is currently working on that screenplay everyone keeps talking about: The Wild Age. Contact him at dane.whipple (AT) live.com
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This screenplay may not be used or reproduced for any purpose including educational purposes without the expressed written permission of the author.