Hold the Dark (2018) Script

Dear Mr. Core,

three days ago my son Bailey was taken by wolves.

This happened twice already here.

No one in the village will hunt them, and I am alone here now.

I have read your book.

I know you have done this before.

In my heart...

I know that you are able to do it now.

I don't expect you to find my son alive, but you could find the wolf who took him.

Come and kill it to help me.

I know you have sympathy for this animal.

Please don't.

My husband will come home from the war soon.

I must have something to show him.

Sincerely yours, Medora Slone.


You're old.

Thank you.

I didn't think you'd really come.

When I wrote to you I was...

I guess I was gonna try anything.

I'm very sorry about your boy, Mrs. Slone.

So, you've come to kill it?

To kill the one that took him.

I came to help if I can.

To explain this, if I can.

You've hunted and killed one before.

That's what you wrote.

I'd have killed it myself if I'd found it.

I tried to find it.

That pack could be eight or ten members. You don't want to find that.

Can I ask you a personal question?

Do you have a child?


A daughter.

She's teaching at a university down in Anchorage.

She wanted to be in Alaska.

That city is not Alaska.

Do you have any idea...

what's outside those windows?

How black it gets?

How it gets in you?

Your husband... He was notified?

The men were supposed to contact him.

I said I'd call, but I didn't.

I can't.

Not while he's there.

Well, you're not alone.

I'll show you where the children were taken.

Are those your only boots?

Yeah. That's all I have.

You're gonna need better boots.

You met your husband in the village?

I didn't meet him anywhere.

I knew him my whole life.

I don't have a memory he isn't in.

And he left me here.

With a sick child.

Well, the war...

Someone on the radio said it's not a real war.

Ah, it's real enough. People are dying.

He said he'd never leave me.

Words can be worthless like that.

That's where the first boy was taken.

After that, they had men with rifles on the high points, and they'd walk the children to school.

Didn't matter for Bailey.

The second was a girl, here.

Cheeon's daughter.

She was sledding and the wolf came up behind her.

From the north again.

Does Cheeon live nearby?


My husband's friend.

Do you suppose I could speak with him?


I don't suppose you could.

What did it feel like to shoot that female wolf?

It felt awful.


I really had no choice.

Even though she'd taken a child, too?

Because you think it's the natural order?

The natural order doesn't warrant revenge.

They're not what you think, Mrs. Slone.

What happened here is... is very rare.

What happened here... happened to me.

But you were happy here once?

That's not a question we ask ourselves.

I've seen pictures.

Girls in magazines, bathing suits and sand. Seemed strange to me.

There's a hot springs not so far. A few hours walking.

That's as close as I can get to warmth.

A hot springs sounds good right now.

It's a good place to get clean.


I had quit when Amy was born.


Will she be expecting you soon?

I don't know what she expects of me.

It's been some time since we spoke.

And your wife?


She's alright without me.

I can't pay you anything.

Chocolate will do just fine.

Money's not important.

Goodnight, Mr. Core.

Goodnight, Mrs. Slone.

Is he up there? Is he down there?

Is he up there?

Is he down there?

Is he up there? Is he down there?

Goddamn demon.

Goddamn murderer.

It's how they are.

Is he out there?

Or is he down there?

Is he down there?

Is he out there?

No. No.

Black 3 down...

We have contact...

Stand by...

You're a fucking meat eater, Slone.

Negative, two-four...

Might wanna send some engineers to clear the road...

Copy that. They're on the way.

Sh! Sh!

You shut your fucking mouth.


No. Sh!

Move! Move! Get down!

Ain't nothing, but a hickey, Slone. You're one lucky son of a bitch.


You're gonna see him soon, buddy. You're going home.

Find it.

Kill it.

Come to get a wolf's tooth?

You're going the wrong way.

That girl knows evil.

She'll tell you.

What that girl knows is grief. You have a good day, ma'am.

Go back the way you came.

Mrs. Slone?

Mrs. Slone?



Help. Help me.

The boy!

The Slone boy.

Bailey Slone.

Bailey Slone.

The boy!

The boy!


You knew.

Leave us to the devils.

Where is she?

Well, no wolf took Bailey.

Mr. Core?

I'ma need to keep this.

What time is it? Midnight?

Hmm. 6:00 p.m.

That can't be.


It was dark when I returned.


Well, the sun goes down at 3:30 now.

Comes up at 10 a.m. You're just not acclimated yet.

She strangled him.

Someone did.

No, it was her.

Her truck's gone. She packed. And she left me here to find him.

Why would she do that?

Why are you the fucking police?

Someone should tell the father.

We sent word.

You know him?

We know Vernon.


You can't stay here.

You okay to drive?

Mr. Core?

Mr. Core, could you stick around for a day or two?


There'll probably be some more questions.

I don't...

You need to talk to those villagers.

Oh, we did. Let's see...

Medora Slone is possessed by a wolf-demon.

It is called a tournaq.

She slips her own skin, her blood is cursed, and...

It keeps going.

That's what you get talking to the villagers.

If they talk to you at all.

I need a statement from you, Mr. Core.

It would help us immensely.

Just use your own words.

Short and sweet.

You sure she did this?

Tell me how.

When I...

When I encountered the wolves, they were in the act of devouring one of their own.

A pup.

It's not uncommon at all.

When resources are scarce or there are unnatural stresses, some of the young may be killed to preserve the group.

The behavioral term is "savaging."

We're not talking about animals here, Mr. Core.

If you say so.

Try and get some rest.

Get a hot bath. Get the chill off.

How'd that feel?

It felt real good.


You killed a person before.

Who told you that?


My teacher said it's bad to kill people.

Yeah, you'll hear that a lot.

So, it's good?

If you have to.


To protect what you love and what you need.

When I go away...

I'll always be with you.

Don't lie.

Those my boots?


You're the one who found my boy?


Vern, listen...

We're gonna get her picture out, talk to the Mounties.

We're coordinating.

We got leads, some possible sightings here.

We're gonna find her, and she will answer for it.

Thank you.


Mr. Core here was called by your wife.

He's a writer.

He studies wolves.

He was the last person to see her. He's been a big help to us so far.

So, we asked him to be here in case you had any questions.

Can you raise the dead?

No, sir.

Then, I have no questions for you.

Now? Alright.

Remember me.

Remember me.

Vernon, I'm truly sorry for your loss.

I'll keep you informed. It's statewide, all points, so...

It'll be over soon.

Alright. Wolfman.

Can you figure her mind?

Jesus God... a fucking thing like this.

What on earth have we come to?

You know...

I read, postpartum can go on for years sometimes.

Shut the fuck up, Mike.


Don't worry, Vernon.

Someone may have spotted her truck by the old mine.

And we've got these leads.

She'll stand trial and get the needle.


What? Nothing.

You mind?

No, go ahead.

Heat shed behind the school,

blue Bronco.

Go on, brother. I'll buy you time.

If you got to go to ground, Shan's still got his place.

I won't.

I'm sorry about Alessie.

It ain't right, you don't have her body.

That's got nothing to do with anything.

You know this.

You've come to punish the old witch, Vernon Slone.

You think I knew?

You think I could've stopped her?

An old woman?

Go to your father's grave and ask him.

Take your wrath to the gods, to the wolves... to yourself.

End it.

You should've died out there in the sand, but you did not accept it.

You had to come home to see.

It's not the first time the wolves came.

The white people called it "influenza."

We call it peelak.

I was a little girl.

Half the village, their bodies in igloos on the hill.

But the wolves came at night.

In the morning, the hillside was scattered with pieces of their bodies.

There's no proper burial after that.

That is our history here.

You can't blame an old woman for it.

Alaska State University, Anthropology.

May I please speak to Ms.Core, please?

Who's calling?

This is her father.

One moment.

You have reached the office of Amy Core.

Please leave your name, number, and a brief message, and I'll return your call as soon as possible.

Happy holidays.

Hey, sweetie, it's, uh... it's me.

I am...

I know it's been a while, but I'm out here...



I'd... really like to hear from you... right now.


It's 302-4025.


I'll be in the room.

I love you.

And I'm sorry to bother you at work.

There's something wrong with the sky.

- Operator. What's your emergency? I... No, I don't have an emergency.

I need to speak with the station, please.

Hello? - Emery Police.

Detective Marium, please. - Marium isn't available.

Well, is there anyone...

Sir, what's the message?

Please tell him, in Keelut there was an elderly woman that I spoke to...

What a goddamn shitty way to end the year.


There's more.

Another body? Yeah.

And one less.

Jesus Christ, Vernon.

We have to go to Keelut.

Right now. Who?




Hey... Hey.

Hey. Wait.

Hey, Arnie.

Just give me a minute or two.

Told 'em I'd come and try to talk to you.

See if I could get you to come out without any mess.

I'm not saying we're friends, but we've been friendly, Cheeon.

If you say so, guy.

We got two dead cops in town. Oh, yeah?

Around here, a couple of dead cops is cause for a party.

And the coroner?

Frank was set to retire to San Diego next month.

San Diego, huh?

Never heard of it.

They were shot with a .45 Springfield, Cheeon.

You got one of those registered.

I got lots not registered, guy.

Oh, I know that.

But, like I'm saying...

I told them I'd come and try to talk to you.

Damn sure doing that.

Where's Vernon?

Can you at least tell me where the boy's body is? That boy's nothing to your kind anymore.

He's no longer of the earth.

And Medora?

Oh, she'll be found.

Not by you.

Is that why this is happening?

So nobody interferes with his revenge?

Do I look like I enjoy all these fucking questions from you, guy?



I know wolves took your girl, and I know you don't have a body to bury, and I can't imagine anything worse than that.

You know, huh?

Watch it!

Lot of help from a guy who knows.

You drive an hour out here for my sorry ass?

And won't do shit for some dead kids in the hills.

We came.

You came the next day, and left.

And never came back.

Worthless as shit, you city boys.

We came out here, we helped put you guys on the grid a few years back.

We got you plumbing, electric...

Now you want a trophy for letting these folks take a shit in their own houses?

Okay, you know what? You're right.

You are right, Cheeon. Things are bad here.

I admit that, but let's not make them worse.

You got a wife who needs you.

She's gone.

She'll never be back after what happened.

This place'll be a ghost town by next year.

You watch.

Those bastards at the morgue.

Bastards like you and me.

When we're killed, the past is killed.

When kids are killed...

that's different.

When kids are killed, the future dies.

There's no life without a future.

Cheeon. Please.

Those boys look like they don't know whether to shit or piss.

I'm not going to lie to you.

Most of 'em are green.

They've never seen anything like this before.

They are scared to death and that is dangerous for you.

Oh, like what?

Come out with your hands up?

Like that, guy?

Listen here.

That's never gonna happen.

I promise I'll make everything fair.

That's good.

Think about what I offered.

You think about the phone call your wife will get today.

Her hand on her belly.

Nothing gonna stop that call now, guy.

What'd he say?

He said, "Fuck you." That's what he said. Jesus Christ.

Okay, now what? I got to...

I got to wait for Holy Cross to send a tactical unit up.

That's two hours out, boss.


Set up a perimeter.

Get some coffee and sandwiches.


Hey, watch it!

Get down! Get down!

Second floor window! I said, get down!

Stay down!

Take cover!

He's hit bad!

Stay here!

Spread out your weapons!

They're en route!

Arnie, we got to go! Okay!

Right now! Okay, okay!

You cover me!

Arnie, you okay?

He's out!

I'm going! Cover me!

We got to go!

We got to move!

Okay! Move now!

Get to cover!

Stay down!

You got a full magazine? Uh...

It's full. Please check.

See? It's full.

Arnie, listen to me now.

You stay behind this rock.

His weapon can't get through this rock.

You stay here, you understand? Yes.

I'm gonna make a run for the house. The very second I go, Arnie, you unload at that window and do not stop until I reach the house.

Okay. What will you do?

Stay here and...

Window, window!

The second I run. Yes.

I'll do it. I'll do it.


Hit him! Take him out!


Help me! Help me!



Stay there!

Help! Help me!

Help me!

What're you doing? What're you doing?

I'm gonna die!

I'm gonna die!

No, you're not.

I'm inside.

Take cover and hold your fire.

Stop it!

You stopped that phone call for today, guy.

Phone call to your wife.

But it's coming, ain't it?

The call.

It's always coming.


Kind of late in the season for travelers?

Where did you come from?


There's no road from there to here.

Not directly.


I was here when I was a child.

With my father.

We visited this camp.

I remember it.

Was she here?

What? They don't got women up in Keelut?

Got to crawl all the way up here for a piece?

Can you help me?

Ain't got any bread, got to warn you.

Plane hasn't been in for two weeks, but...

I've got a room to let.

I'd make sure it was warm.

Yeah, she was here.

That one in your picture there.

You know, they don't make that kind of film anymore.


Two nights ago.

Said she wanted to see our Indian hunter.

He's not really Indian, though. He's just John.


She didn't share that.

And I didn't ask.

I want to see the room she took. There's only two rooms.

The other one's mine.

Hadn't actually changed the sheets yet.

I hope you don't mind.

The Indian hunter.

Come eat.

How much longer do you have?


Almost here.

Do you know what you're having?

He wants a boy, though. No, I...

Fogey like me having his first kid?

I'll take whatever I can get.

What are you, 40?

43. Fogey, huh?

I'd trade you.

You a father? Yes.

What's that like?


I wish I'd understood that better at the time.

I guess I...

I guess I wasn't much help to her.

You like to think you're devoted to your child.

And you tell people this, "I'd do anything for 'em, anything."

And... it feels correct in your mouth when you say it, but...

And you just go ahead with your life.

She's in Anchorage now, a teacher.

That's part of why I came here.

I... was hoping I'd be able to see her. But... Well...

We'll see.

How are you from this region, I wonder?

You look Nordic to me.

Woman, too.

Same hair as you.

Same eyes.

She knows you're coming for her.

You let her go from here?

I've seen mothers kill their young.

See it out here a lot.

Ain't no decree in the country. It don't reach here.

I help who comes asking.

I remember you, traveler.

Just a little tyke last time you was here.


Why did we come?

To see me.

Your daddy wanted wolf's oil.

For you. Do you know that?

He said you was...


That was his word.


An Indian witch from his village said wolf's oil could cure you.

Did it work?

I gave him the oil.

Where'd she go?

Not my business.

Fixed her up with some boots I'd made.

She left her mask, though.

I don't know how she got it.

I share 'em with travelers and they find a way to who needs 'em.

You are welcome to one, boy.

When was the last time you wore a mask?

I can see you need to let the wolf out a little.

They all do out here.

It's true. It's truth.


Goddamn, Vern.

Get me Cheeon.


Where the fuck you been, man?

I'm sorry, man.

I know you two were close.

Cheeon never did like cops, but goddamn...

Made himself a bloodbath up there.

And the other thing.


They said that on the news. It's just a fucking nightmare, man.

It's just senseless.


So, who shot you?

A woman.

Yeah, well...

Who ain't been shot by a woman, right?

Here you go. Take these.

Come on.

Pull on this.

It's gonna hurt like a motherfucker.

Don't worry, Vern.

We'll get you fixed up.

Get some hot soup in you.

What kind?


What kind of soup?

Campbell's chicken.

I like tomato.

You been fucking shot, man.

Fucking tomato.

Did you ever see anything like that today?

Kicked in a meth lab once.

Guy took a couple shots at me with a .22.

Purse gun.

Sounded like bubble wrap.

He missed every shot.

Never been so scared in my life.


No, I've never seen anything like today.

Well... you handled yourself.

I gave him what he wanted.

Slone killed that old woman.

Yeah. Why?

I can't presume to know what goes through Vernon Slone's head.

Why any of it?

Why did Medora do what she did?

I'm not convinced the answers exist.

They do.

Whether or not they fit in our experience is another matter.

What do you think?

I'm no cop.

You study behavior.

It's like she wanted to fix him.

Save him. I don't know.

Save him by destroying.

It happens in medicine.


Save him from what?


In her.

In him.

Outside her window.

She told me about it, but...

I wasn't listening.

I think that's why she wrote me.

She wanted a witness to tell her story.


to be punished.

Well, you're the story guy.

And as for the second part.

All she had to do was wait for Vernon to get home.

And if he gets to her before we do... damn sure gonna get her wish.

I swear to God, when all this is over, I'm taking Susan on a vacation.


Hot sand.

Blue water.



A good place to get clean.

I don't know.

I can't tell from this.

It was north of Keelut.

But I'm not sure how long I'd been walking.

I think it's worth the chance.

If we can find her, it might be just as good as finding him.

I'd know if I saw it again.

Is that it? Hurry!

We can stay in this place forever.

No, I am saying he is here right now.

He is in my house.

No, he is passed out, but I don't know for how long, so get your people out here pronto, and I want my special consideration.

Fuck is that? It's Christmas not Halloween.

Get back in bed. You'll start bleeding again.

I'm in trouble, Vern.

It's those pills. I'm fucked up.

They got me and I'm looking at real time, but I was gonna wake you up.

I'd get my good citizen points, and you'd be gone before they got here.

So it's no harm done.

Hey. I saved your life, motherfucker.


You came. You asked for help.

And I helped you.

After what you did?

We've known each other since we were kids.

Okay. Fuck you.

Fuck you, motherfucker! Fuck you!

Gimme a second? Hey, guys!

Are you headed for the Kennebeck Camp?

Yeah, okay.

Good luck.

Is it just us?

An old KA of Slone's was found this morning with a mail slot in his skull.

Half the guys are going to help with that.

The other half are going to the camp search, so yeah.

I'm afraid, it's just us.

You eyeball it. I'll call it in.

Besides, there's only two seats in this sucker.

You ready?


We gonna beat that storm?

Got no choice.


- Already losing light. Snow machine.

Is it moving? No.

You see anybody?

Not our lady.

I could loop back.


Down in that ravine.

That's it.

I can set us down on the ice.


Hold on.

How fresh are they?

Pretty new.

Four of them.


A hundred pounds each, give or take. Where's the rest of the pack?

Not far, I'd guess.

The den must be nearby.

Little bit further?


If we see anything we'll... radio it in and turn back.

Alright. What is it?

I saw something.




Medora Slone.

Listen to me.

He's coming for you.

We have to leave.

We have to leave now.

They're looking for you.

But you found me.

Now you understand about the sky, don't you?

They spared you.


They spared you.


What happened?

I'll tell you.