Distorted (2018) Script


Russel, there's someone in here!


Honey, what's wrong?

What's wrong? What is it?

There was someone here.

I got you.

I got you. You're safe.

There's no one in here, Lauren.

I got you.


We gotta get out of here.

I just want you to feel safe.


I love you. I love you too.

Wow, look at this place.

Lauren. Russel.

I'm Lance, sales agent.

Welcome to twenty-first century living.

I'll like you to meet out head concierge, Dominique.


And our service engineer, Ryan. A pleasure.

I hope you'll be joining us.

Right, if you'd like to follow me this way.

We have seven different scents pumped into the lobby and elevator.

We've recruited an acclaimed interior designer, lighting specialist, acoustical scientist, even a feng shui expert, to help us create the ultimate comfort and tranquility.

Now, our amenities include a state-of-the-art fitness center, outdoor pool, games room, 20 seat multimedia screening room.

All suites have access to our 24-hour surveillance of all key venues.

Okay. Please follow me.

Wireless lighting, QED window shades with sun control fabric, and a fully integrated telecommunications cabling package.

Why don't you take your time? Feel free to have a look around.

Go upstairs.

What do you think?

I think, uh, no one deserves to live this well.

Hey, 70-hour work weeks, three years without a vacation.

We had two priorities: security and serenity.

And unless you wanna move into Fort Knox, we're not gonna get more secure than this.

And as for serenity...

I think living outside of the city would be great for us.

You know?

Whatever you decide.

Let's do this.


This is gonna be so good for both of us.

It's, uh... it's, uh, big, gorgeous, modern, safe.

An embarrassment of riches, really.

And yet?

I don't know, I'm just... I-I'm still so scared.

Scared to, uh, you know, to, uh, join the world again.

Scared to pick up a paint brush.

That blank canvas.

But, um...

I think I'm mostly scared because I know that if I don't stop being scared I'm just gonna lose everything.


Still working out the kinks.

You look beautiful.

If you get uncomfortable, if this is a crushing bore, we're an elevator ride away from home.

I know. Okay.

I'll get my jacket. Okay.

Hey, sweetheart.

I'm Margo. Hi, Margo. Russel.

Scott's wife. Nice to meet you.

Nice to meet you, too.

I'm Lauren. Hi Lauren.

Come on, let's ditch the excess baggage.

Phillip Starks, 120. Inherited his father's Fortune 500 marketing and advertising agency.

Brilliant. And about as close to the ideal neighbor as you can possibly ever find.

Gwendolyn Serota-Talal.

Married to a Saudi kazillionaire who's never around, leaving her with far too much time on her criminally unflawed hands.

Tim Hoyle.

Something to do with geoscience.

Single, bit peculiar, but perfectly harmless.


Don't you stray far.

Well, I believe we have two things in common.

May I? Oh, please.

So word around the building is you're a painter.

I am.

While I've never advanced beyond the stick figure stage myself, I do have an enthusiasm for impressionism, post-impressionism, and expressionism.

And the second thing?

Well, we both harbor a keen aversion to cocktail parties.


Not to fret, the signs are undetectable to your regulation "cocktalian."

But as a charter member of the save-me-from-idle-chatter alliance, I've developed a nose.

Well, to kindred neighbors.

To kindred neighbors.

Cheers. Cheers.

Someone's in here.

I had a bad dream.


What are you doing down here? I had a bad dream.

Oh, let's get you back upstairs.

You can tell me and your mommy all about it.

So you and Margo seemed to get along like a house on fire.

She's, um, refreshing.

What, like a line of coke on a Tuesday?

Did you know they have a daughter?


Scott couldn't stop gushing about her.

I'm just gonna go get some water. Do you want some?


Fighting broke out the other night between...

So I got approval on the delisting, so we should be able to file notification for removal Thursday.

I seem to remember you saying something about scaling back on work once everything was settled.

Gotcha. Phone down.

Initial reports claim Israeli jet fighters bombed the guerila base, killing at least 49 soldiers and 13 civilians.

A word just flashed across the screen.

What word?

I don't know, it was too fast.

But I swear, a word just flashed across the television screen.

I'm-I'm not disputing you. It's just it's satellite TV.

If it happens again I'll call Ryan. He'll fix it. Okay?



Lauren? Hey!

Jesus! What?

It's one of the residents. What?

Look. Look.

Are you sure?

Yeah, I'm sure. He was right here.

Hey, hey.

Remember what Beatrice said. That change can be a trigger...

This is not in my head, he was right here.

Baby. It's just gonna take time.

If it happens again, call me right away.

We'll, uh, see if we can't pinpoint it.

I appreciate it.

Otherwise, you're settling in okay?

Yeah. Yeah, we, uh... we are.




Hey, just wondering if you had lunch plans.

I don't.

Meditative was too slow.

Bikram's too hot. Kundalini too esoteric.

Then I found this off-the-wall Ashtanga studio down on Brookline.

I've been attending faithfully every since.

Well, looks like it agrees with you.

Aw, this is truly the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Let me ask you.

Have you noticed anything, uh, unusual about your apartment?

I just, I keep hearing this strange hissing sound, like something's been left on.

Hm. Well, we've had problems with the floor heating in our en suite, and our terrace lights seem to have a mind of their own, but no hissing.

I guess even Shangri-La has its share of gremlins.

Wasn't there music on in the party?


It's probably just on rotation in the building's PA system.

No, I checked.

"Beautiful Dreamer" is not on their playlist.


And either way that wouldn't explain the electronic hiss, the voices, the images.

So, what are you trying to say?

I know how this is gonna sound, but what if someone is using this building as, um, kind of an experiment?

The Pinnacle is owned by a man named Henning Dallquist.

He has extensive holdings in...

I wish you wouldn't look at me like that.

With respect to subliminal imagery, Vicary was interesting.

He had been using a high-speed projector to flash the slogans

"drink Coke" and "eat popcorn" at one three-thousandths of a second, at five second intervals.

Now, according to Mr. Vicary, popcorn sales went up about

60% and Coke sales about 20%.

So it's been proven effective?

Well, that particular study was never subjected to a, um, proper scientific review, and from what I gather, the evidence of success has been greatly exaggerated.

Makes for good copy more than anything.

Did your father ever use subliminal advertising in any of his early campaigns?

From what I understand, a few of his competitors did test the waters, but the FCC quickly stepped in.

Ruling due process contrary to public interest, effectively outlawing it.

And that law's enforced? As far as I understand.

Although, as urban myth would have it, you still have your odd department store slipping anti-theft warning through their muzak systems, or a heavy metal band masking satanic messages.

And of course, nowadays, with your buzz agents, product feeders, viral marketers, everyone plugged in 24/7, the Federal Communications Commission need hardly have bothered.

Now, may I ask, what is your interest in all this?

Oh, I'm not really that interested.

I just, I met someone recently who was talking about it, and I know your father was in advertising, so.



What're you doing out here?

I was just thinking about our third date.

We were watching Cirque du Soleil.

That trapeze artist was doing some death defying stunt.

You reached out for my hand and you squeezed it.

I just remember wishing I could always be there, holding your hand through the scary parts.

If we don't get results within four to six weeks, I like to try upping the dosage.

In the interim...

Plenty of rest, exercise, no additional stress.

I know.

I checked out an adoption agency the other day.

Talk about jumping the gun, huh?

Lauren, this is a minor setback.



Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't...

I didn't hear you.

The hallways are designed to reduce sound.


Tim Hoyle.

I'm Lauren Curran.

I'm not one of them.

Excuse me?

As I see you've fallen sway to Phillip's irresistible charms.

Have you seen him the past couple days?

I actually haven't.

You can ask Lauren yourself, you know.

Ali was wondering if you'd like to come swimming with us.

Remember to kick your feet. I will.

Good girl.


Lauren, help her!

It's okay, sweetheart.

It's okay.

It's okay.

Have you heard of, uh... pulsed electromagnetic fields, or, uh, covert hypnosis?


Let me ask you this.

Why, why you? Why can't I hear any of these sounds?

Why can't I see any of these images?

I think it has something to do with my medication.

I think it acts as some sort of buffer.

Or it could be the manic depression itself.

I'm wired differently than you.

Are you feeling all right?

Yeah, I'm feeling fine.

Maybe we should go see Beatrice in the morning.

I don't need to see Beatrice. I need you to listen to me.

I am listening to you, Lauren, I am.

Conspiracy theories, delusions of persecution, messages being sent through the TV.

Lauren can't you see? It's happening all over again.


You're still grieving, and you're still healing.

It all takes time.

Often a lot more time than we'd like.


Why me?

Your posts are smart, well referenced, and, uh, I don't have anyone else.


I'm sending you encrypted documents, read them.

Password is your favorite coffee shop.


Is it off? Yeah.

Close the door.

I'll give you two minutes.

Okay, uh.

The information you sent me, I get it.

The CIA caught up in a mind control arms race with the Russians and the Chinese.

But, uh, what does that... well, isn't that ancient history?

Well, it's by definition an idea ahead of its time.

The digital technologies advance, so theory and practice finally and tragically meet.

What are you experiencing?

Coercive flash images, I think, and, uh, some kind of binaural sounds.

I'll send you more documents. Okay.

You're not paranoid.

Oh, God!

Okay. Thank you, sir.

So apparently he had a history of mental illness.

We have to get out of here, Russel.

He wasn't well.

There's nothing more to it than that.

I'd say earlier is better.

Not very many people around that time of day.

I just wouldn't want anyone to get hurt.

Who you talking to?

I thought I heard you talking to someone.

No, I wasn't talking to anyone, Lauren.

I just couldn't sleep and, uh... it beats warm milk.

You sure you don't want me to stay home?

No. I'll be fine.

Just call me if you need to talk, okay?

I love you.

Did you get the files I sent?

Uh, yeah.

837 Audio Jammer.

Who are you?

Nobody. Hacker, journalist.

I spend my time writing a book about all this dark tech shit.

I'd stop taking the Quintinal if I were you.

I noticed you order your pharm online.

I generally advise against that.

What else do you know about me?

My theory is your condition has you operating on a frequency outside the range of their tech.

You're like an outlier, a black swan.

The catch-22, too little meds your condition takes over, too much, they do.

I haven't been taking them.

That's one for the win column.

Disconnect your wifi.

You watch procedurals?

Common motif, everything is conjecture or hearsay or straight-up paranoia, until you get physical evidence.

This is The Pinnacle? Uh huh.

One of those files has all the lock codes.

The new tech has revolutionized the world.

Everything's moving at quantum speeds.

Politics, commerce, and coordinated criminal activity.

You can walk into any coffee shop in the civilized world and you can see our virtual consumption has us ripe for a psychotronic takeover.

So it's not that much of a stretch to think of competing multinationals putting up smart buildings in Tokyo, London, Chicago.

There's a whole world of wealthy, cybernated marionettes just waiting for their strings to get pulled.

It's happening, and I think you can help me prove it.


Hi. How did you get through the gate?

Just walked through, it was open. 720, Nancy Hiemer?

I'm afraid we don't have a resident by that name.

I'm sorry, you don't have a unit 720?

There is a 720. Does Nancy Hiemer live there?

I'm not at liberty to... The point being, we don't have a Nancy Hiemer living here. You don't?

I'm gonna ask you to leave.

This is The Pinnacle? Or I will call security.

Relax, I'm just trying to deliver a package.

You should get that gate checked. I walked right in.

Well, it does look like military grade hardware.

I forgot the brand name, but I'll look into it.

I'll have a guy I know check into this Henning Dallquist character, see what I can dig up.

You all right?



Hey. When did you get in?

So who's in 410?

Excuse me.

That suite's vacant.

Like I said, it's empty.

Our amenities include a state-of-the-art fitness center, outdoor pool, games room, 20 seat multimedia screening room.

It's a new generation of single mode fibre optic.

What's it used for?

It's not our smoking gun, if that's what you're asking.

What about Henning Dallquist?

I gotta go, I'll call you back.

I wanna meet somewhere else.

Why? I'm being followed.

Henning Dallquist isn't calling the shots.

Then who is?

I don't know.

What is this?

You should get out, Lauren. What?

Get out. Run. Go.

I can't. I understand how you feel.

I've been down this road myself, you know.

I don't know you. I don't even know your name.

I'm supposed to listen to you? You could be one of them.

You found me. I didn't find you.

At the end of the day, there's a part of you that can't be touched.

You gotta listen to that part of yourself.

Who do you trust? Wait.

Get out. Wait!

Lauren. I need to ask you to sit down.

What's going on?

Well, Russel thinks you should be hospitalized again.


This is about your son, Lauren.

This is memories and emotions that have been festering in some dark corner of your subconscious for so long that they've mutated into something else altogether.

Lauren. Stay away from me.

I miss him too, Lauren. You just gotta let him go.

I don't know what to do anymore.



That's the catch-22.

Too little meds and your condition takes over.

Too much...

In the morning.

I'll pack tonight and you can take me back in the morning.

Sure I can't get you anything?

I'm fine.

All right, I'll just be at the gym.

June 2nd, 9 a.m.



Hey, can anyone hear me in here?

Come here! No! No, no!

Kill her.


Obey. Obey. Kill, kill.

Kill the child. Kill the child.

Murder. Murder the child.

Kill. Murder. Obey.

Obey. Obey. Kill. Murder.

Obey. Murder. Kill.

The child.

Murder the child. Kill the child.


I'll get you outta here. You're gonna be all right.

Come on.

They're trying to get me to kill Ali at the playground.

She's a three-year-old.

Then they'll prove that they can get anyone to do anything.

My car's on the south side of the street.

The safety's off.

I'm not leaving you.

That's a three-year-old girl you're talking about, right?


My name's Vernon, by the way.



911, what's your emergency?

He's in the stairwell.

I told you my name already. I don't...

Listen. Listen! You're not listening to me!


Damn it.

You're Ephrina, right?

Ali's in danger.

Stay back.

Stop! This woman, she's crazy!

Stop! Lauren, I'm here to help you.

Stop! Stay away from me.

Stay away. Get in the car, sweetie.

Get down, get down so no one can see you.

Lauren, I'm trying to help you.

Stay back. You were right.

Everything you were trying to say this whole time, every word of it is true.

No, I will shoot you Russel. It's a spy cam.

I was trying to prove that it was all in your head, so I hid it in the office, Lauren.

I saw what they did to you.

I saw you strapped to that chair, and the images and the sounds they were trying to pummel you with.

Lauren. Lauren. They almost got to me, okay?

Now I'm here for you.


Stay away.

Mommy. Mommy.

Kill. Murder. Kill. Kill the child.


Kill the child. Ali. Kill. Murder the child.

Ali, Ali. Kill the child.

Kill her!

Kill her!

We're safe now.

Wait right here for me.

Are you frightened, honey?

I know this must seem really scary and hard to understand.

But I promise, it's almost over now.

Okay? Okay.

Can you lay down here for me?

Mommy. Mommy. Murder. Kill.


Mommy, please kill her.

Hello, Lauren.


Care to put down your bag?

Any complications?


Lauren, you are fully aware of what you've done?

I am.

How you feel about that?

I feel contented.

Hm, why is that?

I've done exactly what was asked of me.

You do understand that, when everything is brought to light, you'll be charged with first degree murder.

Does this concern you?

I've done exactly what was asked of me.

You cannot begin to fathom the extraordinary contribution you have made here today.

Psychotechnology... the battle for the mind.

It's the new arms race.

The holy grail of global sovereignty.

And with your help, we've just managed to leave our competitors in the proverbial dust.

As with any war, victory can only be achieved with certain sacrifices.

And history will bear out that none of this, none of this has been done in vain.

I had a bad dream.

Everyone plugged in 24/7.

Long psychotic episode.

Who do you trust?

Lauren, I'm trying to help you.

Who do you trust?


Just let them know, she's safe.

Evidence of success has been greatly exaggerated.

What the fuck is this?

I can't get this damn thing to work.

That might be a good thing.

We're all safe now.