Produced by Jason Blue
Written by C. Robert Cargill
October 12, 2012
Sinister – Video of 4 hooded people, 1 small child, 1 slightly taller child, mom and dad. There’s nooses around their necks and these are attached to a tree.
An unseen force is using a pole saw to cut a branch on the opposite side of the tree that is bent towards the ground. Once it’s cut the branch that the bodies are tied to lifts and the 4 bodies are suspended above the ground. We see their legs kicking around and then, one-by-one, the legs stop kicking. The youngest stops kicking first, then the next child, the mom and then the dad.
Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) uses his foot to push a box to the end of a moving truck. He stops and picks it up. He enters the house and we hear music, loud music. Ethan passes his son, Trevor (Michael Hall D’Addario) and tells his son that he’s going to go deaf. Ethan sits down, puts on his glasses and takes in the room.
A police car is parked outside and two uniformed officers are standing outside of it. Another squad car arrives and another officer gets out and asks if those 2 are there for autographs. They are and the sheriff is put off. The two officers leave.
Inside Ellison tells his daughter, Ashley (Clare Foley), that her mom is looking for her to help carry boxes. She doesn’t think she should have to help carry boxes since she didn’t want to move. Ellison said they had to move because the story he’s writing is there and if they had stayed in their old house he would have had to start writing college textbooks to afford that house and he just can’t do that. Ashley misses her school. Ellison promises her that if they don’t like it in the new house when he finishes his book they’ll move back. He promises. Ellison reminds Ashley that her rule is that she can paint on her bedroom walls only. She is not to paint anywhere else in the house. Ashley’s painting on her wall is of a little girl, without a face. From what I can tell it’s a little girl floating and holding a balloon.
Tracy tells Ellison that the sheriff is there. ”Already?”, Ellison asks. Tracy tells him to be nice “this time”. Tracy says she’s tired of driving 5 miles under the speed limit and just to end up getting a ticket anyway. Ellison introduces himself to the sheriff but the sheriff is already well aware of who he is. Ellison knows he’s not a fan. When Ellison asks the sheriff how he can help him the sheriff suggests putting his belongings back on the truck and leaving town. Ellison offers to autograph a copy of his books for him. The sheriff has no interest. Ellison asks if he isn’t a fan of the writing. The sheriff tells him it’s the content. The sheriff tells Ellison that he (Ellison) doesn’t have must respect for the law enforcement profession. Ellison responds that they don’t always get it right. The sheriff informs Ellison that he’s read his books and he doesn’t always get it right either. He says he had it right in Kentucky Blood but in Cold Ember Morning he got it wrong. Same thing with Blood Diner and people don’t need that. He doesn’t like Ellison being in town where the murder of this family took place because the town needs to heal and forget. Ellison is a true crime novelist. He had a great hit over 10 years ago called Kentucky Blood. The sheriff tells Ellison that moving into this house is in bad taste. We also find out that 4 members of the family were hung on the tree in the backyard but there were 5 members of the family. One daughter has never been found. Ellison refers to her as missing but the sheriff says she’s dead. He knows they did their job.
The sheriff leaves and Tracy is curious as to what he wanted. She wants confirmation that they haven’t, again, moved a few houses down from a house where a crime was committed and that’s why he wanted this house. Then again, she doesn’t want to know. She wonders because they’ve done this in the past. He assures her, they did not. This is because they’re IN the house where the crime took place.
Ellison stands at a large bay window in the kitchen, glasses on and looks at the tree that the family was hung, the sawed branch is still there.
Next, Ellison bangs the attic door open. On the floor of the attic is 1 box…and a live scorpion which Ellison proceeds to squish with the box that he brought up to the attic. Opening the box we see movie reels labeled with titles that sound like family events: Hanging Out, Barbecue 1979. Ellison carries the box down with him thrilled that he’ll get some insight to the family life of the family he’s writing his new book on.
The family sits down for some Chinese carry out. We find out that they haven’t sold their other house. I’m not sure why they couldn’t afford that house and had to move yet they moved and now have 2 mortgages. Nobody in the family knows what the story he’s writing is. The children are probably 1st or 2nd grade and Trevor is 12. The rule is given that the kids are forbidden to go in Ellison’s office. Ellison’s rule from Tracy is that he always keep his office door locked.
It’s a very windy night. Tracy is in bed. Ellison comes and lays down beside her on top of the covers. She asks how long they’ll be in this house for his writing but he doesn’t know. ”It could be a long one”, he says. She liked it better when he wrote fiction and she wants him happy in his writing because when he’s happy they’re all happy. She says she always supports him but his last success was 10 years ago, Kentucky Blood. She asks what if that was his 15 minutes of fame and he can’t keep trying to catch it. He wants another chance. Tracy supports Ellison and his writing but gives him an ultimatum. If this book doesn’t work out she’s taking the kids and going to her sisters. She asks if that’s fair and he says it is and really seems to understand. I don’t. To me, she seems sweet but unsupportive.
In his office, Ellison is setting up his information, like design board, with photos, diagrams, crime scene photos, maps, etc. Ellison sets up the projector and puts a white sheet on the wall. He isn’t quite sure how to load the projector but he finally figures it out. He has his glasses on and his notepad ready. We see the family having a great time in the backyard doing yard work, tossing the football back and forth, playing on a tire swing then suddenly, the film cuts to the bodies hanging from the tree. Ellison puts his hand over his mouth in shock and looks away in disgust. The film ends and Ellison removes his glasses. He then pours himself some whiskey. On his notepad he writes down “Who Made Film?” and “Where’s Stephanie?”…then downs another sip of whiskey. Ellison goes outback, in the dark, and looks at the tree. The wind picks up and he pulls his sweater around him and heads back inside. Once inside he hears a noise, a creaking sound, and he heads off to investigate. It’s dark in the house but we’re able to see a shadow dart behind him, he heard whatever made the shadow because he turns. He opens the door and we find a sleepy Ashley getting lost trying to find the restroom. Ellison takes Ashley to the restroom and then takes her back to bed. Added to the paintings on her wall we see unicorns in a circle and it’s raining.
Now back in his office, Ellison is faster at getting the next movie set up in the projector. The movie he choose is entitled Barbecue 1979 and we see the family fishing. Quickly the movie cuts to close up shots of a car with chains wrapped around it. Inside the car are the members of the family with their mouths taped shut and their bodies taped so they’re unable to move. The car is set ablaze and Ellison attempts to drink but his glass is empty. We’re back to looking at the video and you can see the car shaking and figure that the bodies inside are struggling to get free. Ellison picks up the phone. Who calls the operator these days? Ethan, on hold, sees copies of his book Kentucky Blood and hangs up the phone knowing how the sheriff treated him and thinking that they’ll tell him he has it wrong and he’s just stirring up trouble…he hangs up the phone. He takes a few photos pinned together down from his board and shuffles through them to the one of the attic where he has put a Post-It Note with the drawing of a box. ”You came back and left the box, why?”. He now grabs the film titled “Pool Party”. The film begins and we hear a *thump*. ”Damn it, Ashley”, Ellison says and gets up to help his daughter find the bathroom again. Instead, he finds that Ashley is in bed. There are still loud creaking sounds and Ellison heads down the dark hallway. At the end of the hallway is large packing box. The box moves a bit, Ellison freezes and looks on. We can hear heavy and fast breathing. Ellison takes another step and pauses, the box opens and Trevor’s body flails out, back arched and look back in Ellison’s direction. Trevor is yelling and screaming and seems to be having a seizure. Tracy wakes and follows Ellison, carrying Trevor, outside. Trevor is suffering a night terror…which isn’t new for him. (Night terror: (n) night terror (an emotional episode (usually in young children) in which the person awakens in terror with feelings of anxiety and fear but is unable to remember any incident that might have provoked those feelings)
The next morning everyone is in the kitchen, it’s the first day of school for the children. Trevor doesn’t remember his night terror or going near a box, let alone getting inside of it. This isn’t the oddest place they have found him, Ellison says. Trevor doesn’t want to hear the dryer story again but we find out that there was a time that there was an instance that, in his sleep, he urinated in the dryer. Ashley is excited about the first day of school…Trevor, meh, somewhat.
With Tracy out for errands and the children off to school Ellison heads to his office and watches the Pool Party video. We see a family enjoying their pool with beach balls, the slide and sitting around the patio table for refreshments. As the other movies did, the film cuts away and we see 1 family member taped up to their own lounge chair with the heads of the chair facing the pool. Attached to each chair is a rope. One-by-one we see the lounge chairs pulled into the pool taking each family member to their death. Suddenly, we see a humanlike creature standing in the bottom of the pool. This creature turns and looks at the camera. Ellison stops the movie in surprise, hits play again and pauses it. The face reminds me of what Heath Ledger’s version of the Joker would like if he were to stand under water. Ellison walks up to the sheet with the pauses film and studies the creatures, touches it, suddenly the film melts and we see the projector is on fire but it’s small enough that Ellison can blow it out.
Ellison Googles “How to edit super 8 film”. Ellison starts working on editing the film to get rid of the melted area. He gets the projector set back up but he also hooks his hand held video camera up so that it can record the movie. Next, Ellison takes the video from his recorder and watches it on his laptop. The creature is unclear because it the movie was paused on him when the film melted. We hear Tracy and the kids coming in the house and she and Trevor are arguing. It turns out that Trevor used permanent marker on the classroom white board and drew a family of 4 hanging from a tree. Kids at school told him about the murders. Tracy is not thrilled with either of the men in her home.
Ellison works on the next movie reel. Whomever is holding the camera is walking up the steps and down a dark hallway and open a door. There’s a man and woman on the bed, mouths and bodies taped like the people in the other movies. There’s also a barking Chihuahua. I should point out that none of these movies have sound. The person holding the camera cuts one throat and then the next. Ellison looks intrigued but disturbed and looks on as the person holding the camera makes their way down the hallway and enters a child’s room. The child is also taped, Ellison looks away and takes 2 gulps from his whiskey bottle unable to watch the child be murdered. The film ends and Ellison watches the video on his laptop. He notices that there’s a design drawn on the wall in the hallway. He zooms in and hits “Print”. He takes the printed photo and pins it to his wall with his other evidence. The name of this film was “Sleepy Time 98″. He sees something in the film that tells him the family was in St. Louis and he quickly Googles “St. Louis family murder”. He learns that this was another murder where 1 child is missing. Ellison hears creaking above him and the light in his office goes out. We hear another creak. He turns on a light on his phone to use as a flashlight, we find out later that he his “Record” on his phones movie app to use that light. Ellison opens his office door and goes out into the dark hallway, he walks down the hall, looks up, walks more, opens a door and leaves and continues to check all of the rooms. There’s a BIG bang and Ellison heads to the kitchen and gets a large knife. He continues to walk and goes to hall and pulls down the steps for the attic. When the attic steps are pulled down there’s still a door that has to be pushed open before you can enter the attic. Slowly, Ellison climbs the ladder and, slowly, enters the attic. He shines his light around and we hear scuffling sounds coming from the corner and the door slams shut. Undeterred, Ellison walks towards the noise. He opens a box but there’s nothing in it. There’s another creak in the floor and something on the floor, I believe it’s the lid to a board game, it’s black, moves. There’s a snake under the lid! The snake slithers out and finds a hiding place in a dark area of the attic. Ethan is panicked but is glad it was “just” a snake. He picks up the lid and, using the light from the camera he has running on his phone, looks on the other side, he sees drawings, stick figure type drawings, of each of the murders. With each murder scene, in addition to the families members drawn, he location has Mr. Boogie drawn. Each family member’s name is written underneath the drawn figure. Ellison hears a noise and starts to walk and then falls through the door in the floor.
In the kitchen an EMT is wrapping his leg and suggesting he go and get stitches but he says he can’t make him go. Also in the kitchen are Ellison’s wife and a character we learn to know as Deputy So and So but his character is only credited at Deputy (James Ransone). The deputy has Ellison take him to where he fell through the attic door. The conversation is hilarious between the two as this discuss Ellison seeing a snake. Deputy So and So informs him that snakes don’t have feet. The theater laughs. The deputy guesses that they have squirrels. ”You know how they are”, Deputy So and So asks. ”No, not really”, Ellison responds. ”I’m not really much of a squirrel guy”. Ellison tells the deputy that he killed a scorpion when they moved in. ”Scorpions have feet but you wouldn’t hear them…”, the deputy tells him and again the theater laughs. We’re all head of heals for Deputy So and So. Ellison thanks him for coming and Deputy So and So tells Ellison that he has a copy of his book, Kentucky Blood, back at headquarters and wonders if he could get Ellison to autograph it. Ellison takes him into his office saying that he has extra copies. The deputy is REALLY impressed with the set up Ellison has for his investigation about the murders for his book. Ellison tells the deputy that he needs to step out of his private office. The deputy wants to help Ellison with the investigation and hopes he can be acknowledgement in the book. He says something along the lines of “…where you say that you couldn’t have done the book without the help of Deputy So and So…”. The Deputy tells Ellison “I could be your Deputy So and So”. This is when Ellison starts referring to our deputy as Deputy So and So. Upon hearing that he can get some help from someone in law enforcement Ellison relaxes. Ellison says this could be helpful and tells Deputy So and So that he needs an address of crime that happened in 1998 in St. Louis for a family that had their throats cut. He also needs information for a family murdered in 1979 burned alive in their own car in their own garage. Deputy So and So asks Ellison if he thinks the crimes are related. Ellison tells him no, that he’s just doing research. The deputy tells him that he can get it for him when the sheriff isn’t there. Ellison says “Thank you, Deputy So and So”.
Tracy apologizes for taking her anger at Trevor out on Ellison.
We see Ellison in front of the TV watching an old interview of himself on VHS. They went too far back on how old this film looks. Kentucky Blood was about 10 years ago yet they have his hair and clothes (especially his tie) looking quite 1970ish. In one part of the interview Ellison states that when law enforcement ”gets it wrong” it effects people’s lives. The interviewer asks Ellison “Which feels better? Seeing justice done or seeing your book, Kentucky Blood, on the New York Bestsellers List?”. Ellison responds, “Justice, without a question. I’d rather cut my hands off than write a book for fame or money.” Present day Ellison looks disappointed…as if that may not be the case. The interview is over and he takes the VHS out of the player and puts it in a drawer with other tapes labeled as pertaining to Kentucky Blood and he’s again reminded of the success of that book and the failure he feels from his books written after it.
Back in his office Ellison has a split screen on his computer. One side is Mr. Boogie and the other side is him looking at the copies of the films he’s made. He looks at the drawings he recorded on his cell phone on the game box lid to see where the drawings have Mr. Boogie standing. He starts looking for him in those locations on the films. He sees him in the trees of the video Hanging Out and prints the image. He pins the photo to his board.
The next day Tracy and Ashley are in the kitchen making Ellison a cup of coffee and Ashley wants to take it to him. She knocks, Ellison opens the door. ”I brought you your coffee, daddy”, she says. He thanks her and his phone rings. Ellison closes the door. Deputy So and So is on the phone apologizing for not getting back to him sooner but couldn’t call from the office because of the sheriff. He has the information that Ellison requested. The Martinez family was the family died in the fire in their garage in 1979. One of the children from that family, age 9, was missing and never found. Ellison asks if he has an address. He does, 8224 Billington, Sacramento (according to my research, this street name was created for the movie and there isn’t a street in Sacramento called Billington). Ellison asks about St. Louis. The address in St. Louis for the Miller murders is 2976 Peamont Way, St. Louis. Ellison confirms the street number with excitement in his voice. Deputy So and So asks if that means something. Ellison does a poor job of saying it doesn’t, thanks the deputy and hangs up the phone. ”Before the Stevensons moved here, they lived where the Miller family murders happened. Holy shit.” Ellison sits down, Mr. Boogie is paused on his laptop screen and, while Ellison isn’t looking, looks at Ellison and then back to his paused position. Ellison looks at the screen. He watches the video of him falling through the floor (I’m not sure how this film came to be so spot on with being a good film). He pauses and sees numerous small hands on him.
While everyone is sleeping we see a door open. Ellison awakes to heads out to investigate the sound. We can hear the movie projector running. Ellison enters his office and the movie is being played through the projector on the wall and also on his laptop, nobody is in his office. He approaches the board and takes down the photo of the Mr. Boogie from the trees in the Hanging Out video and goes lines it up with that location while he looks through the big bay window in the kitchen. He sees something and jumps. Ellison goes outside with a flashlight and a baseball bat and we can tell there’s something in the bushes. Ellison approaches, bat raised. We see the greenery moving. It’s Trevor, trembling, in the bushes, wide eyed. Ellison carries Trevor into the house and Tracy is in the hall…I don’t know why she is up because there were no sounds to awaken her. He tells Tracy they need to put a lock on his door. Tracy tells him that she’ll call the doctor the next morning.
Ellison heads back outside to get his bat and flashlight. There’s a big, black, growling, dog standing in the back yard. Ellison says “Good dog. I’m not going to hurt you. I just want to get my bat”. Suddenly we see the silhouettes of 5 children behind Ellison that he is unaware of. There are 2 small children (5ish), then a taller child (7 or 8ish) and then two more small ones. Ellison is just telling the dog that he wants the bat so he can bash his head in. As the children disappear, the dog stops growling and goes way.
Ellison comes back in the house and Tracy asks if he’s okay. ”Yeah, I’m fine” he says. Tracy is concerned about Trevor’s reoccurrence of night terrors and asks Ellison to “drop the book”. Ellison doesn’t understand why. Tracy tells him that neither Trevor nor Ellison have ever been “this bad”. She tells him that it’s been less than a week and he’s already a mess and that he never “cracks into t he whiskey this early”. He, angrily, questions “so you’re saying I’m a drunk?”. She says no, she doesn’t think that but there’s something he isn’t telling her, something that is eating him up and eating Trevor up too. He asks if she really wants to know what it is. She wants to know why he’s so different. He says he’s different because he’s never been so close to something this big before. He says it’s much bigger than Kentucky Blood. He says this could be his “In Cold Blood“. The 2 are in a heated debate. He talks about the fame and fortune and she doesn’t care. Ellison yells “This is my shot, Tracy”. She’s worried about him and he tells her not to be. She wonders why he came back in the house “white as a ghost” and he tells her about the big dog, “Cujo big” and the mood lightens. ”Every minute that we’re here we’re a minute closer to that happy ending that we’ve always dreamed of. We’re almost there”.
The next day there’s a knock on the door and it’s Deputy So and So. The Deputy hands Ellison a file and asks if he can come in. The deputy lets Ellison know that he’s not a local moron. He has a degree in Criminology and he’s taken forensics courses and he knows a series of connected murders when he sees them. He’s happy to help Ellison but he wants to be in the loop. Ellison asks if he really wants to help. He does. ”What happened here happened to all of us”, he says. Ellison shares his notes and photos of Mr. Boogie with the deputy. Deputy So and So asks “Who is that?”. Ellison doesn’t know but hopes to find out. The deputy asks if he thinks it’s a serial killer. Ellison says maybe but that they seem more ritualistic. They’re spread out in time and spaces. Ellison says the first murder happens in the 60s. Our fun deputy asks “The 1960s?”. We love him more now. The decide the killer would be in his 60s or 70s. In some instances the killer had drugged the victims but they don’t know with what. The only significant link is that the entire family is killed with the exception of 1 child that he takes with him…and that there is a design drawing left at some crime scenes. Ellison shows the deputy the one from the wall on the film Sleepy Time. The deputy says it looks like something from the occult and suggests that Ellison contact Professor Jonas at the university that is an occult crime expert that the police use at times. Deputy So and So asks Ellison where he thinks the drowning took place. Ellison says he doesn’t know and wants him to find out.
Lawn Week movie reel starts outside of a house. The person holding the camera records through the window where we see dad, mom and 2 little girls watching TV. Next the camera holder is pushing the lawn mower and we see just enough to know that the mower went over a child. Ellison shoots up in horror and walks to the door way and, for a moment, he seems to feel nauseous. In a blur behind him we can see that the mower is killing the rest of family. The reel is over and Ellison lights up a cigarette.
A video conference begins between Ellison and Professor Jonas. Ellison thanks him for getting back with him so quickly. Jonas is a big fan. Jonas tells him that as soon as he saw Ellison’s photos he knew what cases he was studying. Ellison asks how. It’s because the symbols aren’t of pentagrams like you would see from teens or something “edgy” from a heavy metal band. It’s more “obscure”. The symbol in the hallway, Jonas knows, is from the hallway in the St. Louis murder scene from the late 90s. The symbol on the hood of the car (BBQ 1979) is about 30 years old in Sacramento. Ellison asks him to tell him about the one in Sacramento. It’s a symbol associated with the worship of a pagan deity. Ellison asks what kind of deity. ”A very obscure one”, Jonas replies, “dating back to Babylonian times named Bagul (Bughuul…I found 2 spellings), Eater of Children (bagul (Bughuul): pagan deity who consumes the souls of human children, and can travel into our world via images of himself. The bagul (Bughuul), from what I can tell, is NOT a real pagan deity but was just created for this movie). Ellison confirms “eater”. Yes, of children. Jonas is aware of each crime scent missing a child. He continues that the Bagul (Bughuul) eats children, in theory, that he needs their souls so that he can survive. Each story tells of different ways that he lures or tricks children away from their physical world and traps them in his netherworld and consumes their souls over time. Worshipping of the deity could be blood sacrifice or eating the child. Ellison asks Jonas if he is saying that the person committing these crimes is eating children. Jonas says it would “fit the stories”. He says the few times that the few times the symbol has shown up there’s been no relation in any way and this may be more of a cult initiation than the act of “any one man”. He asks Ellison “There’s been another one, hasn’t there?”. ”I think so, yes”, Ellison replies. He asks Ellison to tell him everything that he can.
Ellison packs up the projector and all of the movies and put them in a box.
The sound of the projector running wakes Ellison and he finds the Hanging Out movie running on his office wall. He backs up to a corner in his office feeling for his bat that’s in the corner, he backs into the closet which makes a noise and scares him (and everyone in the theater). Ellison walks out of the office, through the kitchen, the house is dark, there’s a noise and he raises the bat, another noise and he turns and stops to listen. While he’s standing there, a little girl (not looking very healthy) appears RIGHT behind him, leaning over his shoulder but Ellison doesn’t see her or feel her but he turns as though he may have heard her. Another child stands in front of him in the next room and acts like he wants to be seen but isn’t. Ellison continues to investigate. Next we see a little girl in a yellow rain coat…each time a child appears and/or moves they make a noise. Although Ellison can’t see them he does hear them. The taller child is behind him and runs up behind him and stops, turns and enters another room. Ellison hears him. He hears the projector again. He checks Trevor’s room and he’s in bed. Next is Ashley’s room, she is also in bed. As he leaves we see that Ashley is awake but has her back to the door. She’s looking at one of the little girls ghosts who has a finger to her mouth as if to say “shhhh”. There’s a new painting on Ashley’s wall; the family hanging from the tree and the creature is with them. Out in the living room Ellison sits down on the couch, bat in hand and falls asleep. We can see the sun rising through the curtains behind him.Ellison wakes up and goes to his office where he finds the projector and movies back in the box where he had packed them.
Ellison opens the door and we see Deputy So and So. Ellison thanks him for coming and the 2 sit down. ”We’re becoming friends, right?”, Ellison asks and the deputy is thrilled to think they are. Ellison asks if he can trust him and is told yes. If he wanted to ask him something, the deputy wouldn’t read into it? The deputy, hesitantly, says “all right”. Ellison asks if there was anything “weird” about the Stevenson’s, any complaints or anything strange. Not to the deputy’s knowledge. The deputy asks if there’s something Ellison wants to tell him. He says it’s obvious something happened and that Ellison wants to talk about. He asks if his wife knows. She doesn’t. ”Does she know whose house this is…was?”. He laughs when he finds out that she doesn’t and says he wouldn’t want to be around that conversation if it takes place. He asks Ellison if he saw or heard something weird. Ellison tells him that he doesn’t believe in anything paranormal or supernatural. The deputy says that it’s obvious he doesn’t or he wouldn’t have moved into a crime scene house yet here they are having this conversation. Ellison asks for confirmation, the Stevenson’s never reported anything. In the short time the Stevenson’s lived there they never called the police, had the police called on them and nothing weird came up in the investigation Deputy So and So tells him. He asks Ellison if he wants to know what he thinks. He thinks that he moved himself into this house and immediately tried to put himself in the families mind set and that parts of his investigation have taken him to dark places. He also points out that each time he’s been to the house he has seen a whiskey bottle. He’s not saying he has drinking and he doesn’t think he’s making any of it up for attention but he does think that he’s under a lot of stress and his mind is trying to process everything at once. Ellison, again, asks if Deputy So and So “believes in any of that other worldly stuff”. The deputy asks “Are you kidding? I believe in all of that stuff. I wouldn’t sleep 1 night in this place, are you nuts? Four people were killed here”. Our love for him grows deeply. He tells Ellison he needs to get out more and clear his head. Ellison confides that the previous night he thought something was in the house and he woke up holding a baseball bat. The deputy tells him that if he thought something was in his home at night he would be freaked out too. He tells him that if he sleeps in the house it will do terrible things to his head.
Later in the day Tracy calls Ellison to come to her and Ashley in the hall. Ashley broke the rule and painted on a wall other than in her bedroom. Ellison asks Ashley if she remembers their rule about being able to paint on her walls only. ”That’s not it”, Ashley says. He says that they only gave her 1 rule and it was a big deal for them to allow her to paint on her walls. Ashley says “I wanted to paint her picture but she didn’t want it in my room because that used to be her brother’s room”. Ashley has painted a picture of a little girl sitting in a tire swing. Ellison recognizes the little girl, little Stephanie Stevenson. Tracy asks her who she is talking about. ”Stephanie”, Ashley says. Tracy asks who Stephanie is. Ashley says that Stephanie used to live there and she’s the one Ellison is writing his book about. Tracy tells Ashley to go to her room and close the door. She and Ellison go to their room and close the door and Tracy let’s it rip asking him what he was thinking and if he didn’t think she would find out. Ellison says that he never lied to Tracy. She asked if they had gotten a house a few down from a crime scene, he hadn’t lied. He points out that nobody died in the house…they didn’t have to wipe blood off of the walls. She asks him what possessed him to do this. He said that they had never been this broke before and when this house came on the market it was a steal. ”I wonder why!”, she yells back. She asks if what Trevor drew happened at this house and he tells her yes. She asks him if putting his family at risk is worth it. ”At risk of what? More paintings?”, he asks. She doesn’t care for his sarcasm. He tells Tracy that nothing bad has happened to the children. They heard about the crimes…that’s as it is. Tracy says she wants to live in a town where people don’t hate them and she can buy groceries without getting strange looks. She wants a normal life. He tells her that he can give her that after he finishes the book. She says that all he cares about is the book and he says that isn’t true. She tells him that there are other ways he can provide for the family. ”DOING WHAT?”, he screams. ”Teaching? Editing journalism textbooks? Don’t you understand that writing is what gives my life meaning?”, he continues. ”These books are my legacy”, he says. Tracy says she’s always supported him but writing isn’t the meaning of his life, his marriage is and his legacy…his children. Tracy leaves the room.
That night Tracy tucks Ashley into bed and turns out the light. She comes out to find Ellison asleep in front of the TV with the remote in one hand and his glass in the other. She looks at him lovingly and gently wakes him for bed.
A light shines on the sleeping couple in bed and then goes off. It wakes Ellison and we can hear the projector running. Ellison puts his hands to his had and starts walking down the hall with his keys in his hand. The house is dark. He enters the office and the projector isn’t on the table, he feels the empty space. He walks towards the kitchen. The attic steps are down and that’s where we can see the flickering of the projectors light coming from. Ellison climbs the ladder a few steps, stops and then continues. I peeks in, just his head. Sitting on the floor are the children that have been haunting the house. They watching the movies but turn to look at him, put their fingers to their lips for him to be quiet and then Mr. Boogie, out of nowhere, quickly leans his face directly in front of Eillson. Ellison falls down the ladder. The box that the projector and movies were in is thrown down followed by the projector and the movies. I find it odd that none of this woke anyone in the house. Ellison picks up the items and sets them on fire in the fire pit in the backyard. As he’s watching the first Tracy comes out. Ellison tells her that they have to leave now. They wake and dress the kids and quickly pack suitcases. In the car the kids are watching, Tracy is ringing her hands and Ellison shakes his head like he’s trying to stay awake or like he’s trying to shake thoughts out of his head. The kids ask about the things they didn’t pack. Ellison tells them that they’ll call movers the following morning. The sheriff pulls them over for speeding but lets them go when he hears that they’re moving away and Ellison won’t be writing book about the Stevenson family or any story that involves the town.
The moving van is in front of their home, the one they moved out of prior to moving to their “haunted house”. It’s a HUGE and gorgeous home! They’ll all busy carrying in and unpacking. Deputy So and So calls but Ellison doesn’t answer it.
Later that night there’s a huge storm and Ellison is in his office erasing a white board. He gets an email from Professor Jonas with photos attached. Ellison connects with him via iChat. Jonas apologizes for taking so long getting back to him but says it’s been so long since anybody wrote anything on Bagul (Bughuul) that nobody has really scanned the material from the crime scenes. Ellison asks what he’s looking at (the photos attached to the email). Jonas tells him that they’re sketches from the dark ages…there is much left because of superstitions. Early Christians believed that Bagul (Bughuul) lived in the images and they were gateways to his realm and would take possession of people seeing the images making them do bad things or abduct them through the images with children being the most vulnerable. Ellison wants to know what would happen if you destroyed the images in fire. Jonas asks for real or in the stories. Ellison asks if destroying them in the stories if that would close the gate. Jonas wants to know exactly what kind of book he’s writing. Ellison says he doesn’t know and he isn’t even sure that he has a book any more and thank Professor Jonas for his time.
Deputy So and So calls again and Ellison, again, doesn’t answer.
Ellison walks up to his attic to take a box and sitting on the floor is the box of items he burned; box, movie reels and projector. It looks like it’s been waiting for him. He looks around, nothing. He dumps out the contents in anger and frustration. There’s something new in the box. There’s an envelope marked “Extended Cut”…these are pieces of film that didn’t make it to the films Ellison watched. He quickly goes to work, in his office putting them together, drinking coffee, and starts winding the reel. Deputy So and So calls again and this time, Ellison answers. The deputy says there’s a problem with Ellison moving. He found a connection as he was putting everything together for Ellison. A connection between the dates and addresses. Each family that he looked up lived in a home that one of the earlier murders took place. When you put them in chronological order you can draw a line from murder to murder. They knew the Stevenson’s had lived in the house where the Miller’s throats were cut. Deputy So and So discovered that the Millers had lived in Orange County where the Deluzio murders took place. The Deluzio’s had lived in the house in Sacramento where the Martinez family were burned in their garage. The pattern goes back to the 1966 drownings in Oregon. The deputy points out that Ellison and his family just moved out of the next house in line and that if the killer is still out there he just sped up his timeline and put himself in it.
Ellison hits play. We see the 4 family members hanging from the tree. Climbing down one side of the tree is the missing family member, she takes a moment to go and swing on her dad’s leg like it’s a swing. She then approaches the camera and puts her finger to he lips “shhhh”. We see this happen in each of the murders. Each missing child killed their family and each approaches the camera “shhh”.
Ellison gets up and stumbles, he’s been drugged. He looks in his coffee cup. There was a note beside it that said “Good night, daddy”. Ashley! Ashley is standing in the doorway to the office. ”I like that you made the movies longer. They’re better this way”, she says. Ellison falls to the floor and foam slowly trickles from his mouth.
Ellison awakes. His mouth is taped shut and his body is taped. In front of him he sees Tracy & Trevor with their backs to him. Ashley comes before him with an ax in one hand and an 8mm camera in the other. ”Don’t worry daddy, I’ll make you famous again”, Ashley tells her dad. She raises the ax as Ellison watches and we see the ax come down.
Ashley is standing in the hall with the ax and we can see blood on the walls down the hall. Ashley has documented the murders of her father, mother, and brother, and paints the walls in their blood, with several childish images such as unicorns, cats and dogs like she had painted on her bedroom wall at the Stevenson’s house. Ashley looks at us and tells us “shhh”. All of the missing children walk towards the camera and suddenly, instead of watching them in the hall we’re watching a video of them in the hall. In the room where the film is being shown, Ashley is sitting at her dad’s desk and is making her drawing diagram of her families murder. She gets up and walks to the video. The children are still standing there looking at her. Mr. Boogie comes up behind her and the children turn and run. Mr. Boogie picks Ashley up and the next thing we see is him, still carrying Ashley, walking away….but on film.
The movie ends with the box of films and the projector sitting in the attic at the Ellison home with their family movie “House Painting 2012″ waiting for the next chapter to begin.