Dark Ground is a supernatural/horror story with a deceptive lightness of touch that makes the protagonists’ terrifying predicament and the cataclysmic finale all the more awesome.
When a London solicitor is sent by his company to open a new office in an English county town, he buys and renovates a derelict Georgian farmhouse. But from the moment he, his mystery-writer wife and son aged 17 move in, inexplicable and scary things start to happen, the boy having flashbacks from when the place was a farm in Edwardian times, becoming at times spiritually possessed by a previous occupant. An old piano, retained by the new owners, plays itself, curtains on electrified runners open and close themselves. A young woman of 17 calls spontaneously, announcing herself as a clairvoyant who, on passing, has noticed a strange psychic mass, invisible to normal sight, hanging above the roof. Invited to investigate further she has a vision of two brothers dying there in 1918, and a cat that ate them. When she tries to free the brothers’ earthbound spirits she almost dies when a malevolent psychic energy shows its hand. After his mother is nearly killed during a horrific dream, the boy brings in his archaeology student pal, who finds evidence a short distance from the building of an early Christian sanctuary. Against what? The investigation deepens until all are trapped in the house by an impenetrable psionic forcefield, with murderous energies intent on killing them while visiting each with their individual fears and phobias – from being eaten or buried alive to giant spiders – till it becomes increasingly apparent that two time-zones 2000 years apart are moving inexorably towards each other at this particular location of skewed space-time where, as the clairvoyant is at last able to divine, a band of Druids once made human sacrifices against the invasion of Britain by the Romans in AD 43, and themselves came to a terrible end at the Romans’ hands. When the time-zones finally fully unite, the trapped occupants are faced with being put to sacrificial death by now-physical beings, and it seems that nothing can save them. The denouement is powerful and moving, involving the spiritual presence of an early Christian priest, and a love that has been in the house for nearly a century and, when all seems lost, still has the power to defeat what looks like certain death for the family and open up a whole new positive future for them all.
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Anna Kowalczuk on Dark Ground
Professional scriptreader Anna Kowalczuk, based in New York, just wrote this about the screenplay:
The suitability of the genre is fantastic. The tone is immediately set in the opening flashback where the audience gets a sense that a tragedy has occurred on the farm. The tone is consistently eerie and creates a feeling of constant suspense. The characters are really fun and there is a strong large main cast that will attract strong talent.
The structure works well and there is great use of flashbacks and imagery to help keep the various timelines clear. This is such an enjoyable and exciting draft. The concept of a seemingly haunted house that merges different timelines is really original and creates a strong foundation for interesting plot development and intense twists. The tone is consistent and perfectly appropriate for the genre.
This is a really fun and strong draft of a suspenseful and exciting story.
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