A lonely old woman loves nothing more than completing her jigsaw puzzles. But when a mysterious box arrives on her doorstep one night, her life is about to take a horrifying turn.
The “final piece” referred to in the title of this chilling screenplay is a simple jigsaw puzzle piece. Or so we think, as this unsettling tale unfolds…
The creepiness starts early as we meet 67-year-old Margot who lives by herself in a “lonely domicile that sits at the edge of a thick forest.” It’s the dead of night, and gusts of wind sway the trees in the dark woods outside her window.
An eerie, foreboding setting; yet inside the house all seems cheery. Margot sits in her kitchen finishing her latest jigsaw puzzle: a charming and colorful French garden scene. She pops in the final piece and sighs, “So easy. Where’s the challenge?”
And as she puts the dissembled puzzle away, we begin to understand the old woman’s disappointment — her cabinet is filled with dozens and dozens of puzzles. Remnants of a passion gone on too long. Margot needs something – some excitement – to take its place.
All she can do is wait. But not very long.
Later – as she prepares for bed – Margot hears a thump downstairs. She creeps down, turns on the light… to find a mysterious package near her front door. No return address. No writing at all. She opens it: it’s a jigsaw puzzle. A temptation she can’t resist; Margot starts on it immediately.
But as puzzle pieces fall into place, she sees a strange scene take shape. It’s her kitchen. All the familiar things are there. She adds more pieces to the puzzle, and curiosity turns to terror. In the puzzle, she sees herself at the table. She’s being watched – in some eerie way.
The last two pieces reveal the most shocking detail of all – the silhouette of a man in the window behind her, holding an axe. She snaps around just in time to see a glimpse of something. But it fades away into the shadows before Margot can get a better view.
Which is when the lights go out.
Blinded by darkness, Margot hears creaking footsteps on the porch. The front door opens. Followed by heavy breathing.
So what does the title really refer to? Perhaps a puzzle of a different sort. Has Margot put together her last picture? Or found a challenge truly worth her while?
Budget: Low. A few rooms in a modest house. Two actors. And lots of creepiness. Perfect for a filmmaker with a limited budget.
About the Guest Reviewer: Helen Magellan (a pseudonym) is a successful screenwriter with several produced short scripts under her belt.
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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.