Title suggestion from Tigs.
We open on an orange grove. Florida. Sunny and hot. A man wearing a sweat-stained white T-shirt walks into the frame. Hes got perfectly messed up hair and is the weird looking actor who plays Pete Campbell on Mad Men (Vincent Kartheiser). He has a reporters notebook sticking out of his back left pocket. Hes a bit nervous. He chews the cap of a blue Bic pen and twirls the pen in his right hand.
We follow him walking down rows of orange trees, camera close on his back, for what feels like an hour. Movie credits every single movie credit, even for things like art direction and costume designer appear on the bottom of the screen in bright white letters like movies used to do in the 1960 and 1970s and cool directors like Tarrantino still do today. Off-key ambient music plays.
The manspots a group of men picking oranges, they all have red bandanas covering their mouths. They stop picking as he approaches. They are freaked out. He asks them where the boss is and they reply in Spanish.
They all start talking over each other in Spanish. We dont get any subtitles because its cooler that way. The mantries to reply in Spanish but hes awful at it and they are confused by him. One of the men, the one who has been hollering at the others the loudest, starts to get down from his ladder, saying in broken English: Go away. Very, very dangerous. Go away.
Hestarts to respond, but he is shot in the head with an arrow from behind. The arrow is poking out from one of his eye sockets. We dont see who shot him. His body sways a bit, blood starts pouring slowly down his face and then he falls forward with a heavy plop. We get a birds eye view of the body, which backs up slowly. The men go back to work, shaking their heads. A figure wearing black walks up to the body slowly, puts his foot on the man’sneck and rips the arrow out.
Black screen. 15 years later. New York City.
We cut to Jimmy Rampbell (played by that guy Tom Holland who is the new Spider-Man and this movie is made after those movies because hes trying to be a serious actor but the closest he can get is acting in artsy horror movies like this one).
Hes sitting in a documentary film class at NYU. Hes looking at his phone. Hes the slacker kid in class. We get some scenes of him being a slacker, his girlfriend breaking up with him for having no ambition, his teachers telling him he has no ambition, people bump into him on the streets and he doesnt pay attention.
His mother calls him and tries to be nice, but like always their conversation turns to an argument about his slackerness. She says what would your father think if he saw you wasting your life away and failing out of college? He gets angry and says something like, Hes dead. Or he probably is! If hes not he fucking ran away and left us because youre fucking horrible. Fuck off!
Finally, we get a scene where his documentary film teacher pulls him aside and tells him he has to pick a project for the semester. Do something youre passionate about.
We see him looking at microfilms in the library. Hes reading clips from the early 2000s that his father wrote about the Orange Grove Killer as they called the mysterious killer. Headlines like Body Parts Found in Grove and Orange Grove Killer Returns? and Sheriff Reopens Orange Grove Cold Case After Discovering More Body Parts and New Murders Eerily Similar to Deaths in 80s.
So Jimmy decides to do a documentary about his missing father. We see him talking with his two geeky friends, Skyler (Mira Barkhammar from We Are The Best!) and Tyler (Shameik Moore from Dope), about doing a documentary about the disappearance of his father.
We see them driving through New Jersey, heading south, with NYC in the background. A lot of the movie now is the actual shot footage, like in that newer not horrible M. Night Shyamalan movie. They crack jokes about going to Florida for Spring Break. Skyler and Tyler fiddle with camera equipment. We get scenes of them driving, talking about the father. All of the clich horror movie things are here now, with false scares at truck stops and local yokle weirdos saying weird shit.
Jimmy talks to the camera for the documentary about his dad reporting in Florida about 15 years ago when he was only 5 years old. Earlier then that, in the 80s, bodies in this little town started disappearing. Then the case went cold for years. Bodies started disappearing again in the early 2000s. The details of the case were simple. People would go missing and weeks later, parts of their bodies would be found at this orange grove hanging from the trees.
His father went to Florida to find out what was going on and never came back. His fathers notebook was found at the scene, hanging from a tree, with pages ripped out at the end. There were no body parts, though.
When they get to the town with the grove, they go to the police station with cameras. The sheriff is old and Jimmy asks him about the murders and he refuses to talk.
Jimmy asks for his fathers notebook. The sheriff says he cant give it to him. Later that night, Jimmy and his friends break into the sheriffs station because I guess they can do that in a small town like this. They get the notebook. Theres are normal notes about the town and people he talked to. The last note is about a family who owns the farm where the bodies went missing. The family was suspected of the killings, but there was never any evidence.
Nice family, very welcoming the father wrote in the notebook. Almost too nice. Almost too normal, reads the notebook, underlined twice. Skyler and Tyler, one with the camera, the other with a mic, film Jimmy saying reading the notebook. So they go to the grove the next day. We only see what they film, so its Blair Witch-ian, but not awful and dark.
They get to the grove and there are a group of men picking oranges. They go up to them, and its like the opening scene of the movie and youre supposed to be scared to hell. A man with a crossbow, in his 50s, walks up behind them, and you only get a shaky cam of this. He tucks his bow away and laughs. Introduces himself as the owner of the property. Says he was shooting rabbits. They interview the guy. Something is off. They talk to him and go to the house and meet his wife. We see all of this through the documentary footage they shoot. Jimmy is asking a million questions about his dad. The man and his wife are very nice, they drink iced orange juice (of course!) and are very welcomed.
It gets late and the people ask them to stay for dinner, Skyler, Tyler and Jimmy argue outside about if they should stay. Of course they stay. Skyler sets the camera on a chair in the living room pointed at the dinner table. They eat prime rib, really bloody prime rib.
The people are very nice, Jimmy keeps asking about his dad and they keep saying they dont know him, but start to reveal small hints that they do know him, revealing bits of information that Jimmy didnt tell them. It gets late and the trio says they have to go. Tyler is really freaked and wants to go. Jimmy is determined to find the truth.
The couple invites them to stay, of course they do. Later that night, the three sneak into the family barn. They search all over and cant find any clues. Exasperated that he cant find anything, Jimmy walks into the grove cursing. Tyler and Skyler follow him, lots of shaky cam. Its really dark so yeah its kinda like Blair Witch now. Jimmy starts tearing out pages of the notebook and crying as he walks into the grove, telling Tyler and Skyler to fuck off.
The sun starts to rise. We see Jimmy sitting under a tree, Skyler consoling him, telling him it will be alright. The camera is on the ground, still rolling. Tyler is pacing in the background.
Jimmy looks up into the tree, rubs the tears out of his eyes and spots something. He starts yelling and climbs the tree. Skyler, who isnt a pussy and is very dedicated to the film, picks up the camera and films upward as Jimmy climbs the tree. Jimmy starts yelling, His pen! A blue Bic pen! He climbs and we cant see a lot because there are oranges and orange tree leaves everywhere. Then he screams. Something falls to the ground and Skyler points the camera at it. A blue Bic pen, with a chewed cap, in the clutches of a rotting hand that is undoubtedly the rotting hand of Jimmy’sfather.
The camera jolts backwards because Skyler is freaked out. The camera drops to the ground and we hear a lot of yelling. As Jimmy climbs to the bottom of the tree, he is shot in the back of the head with an arrow. He sways and then falls to the ground. Skyler and Tyler scream, but in the background you hear the whizz of two more arrows, followed by two loud plops as their bodies fall to the ground.
The camera is still just sitting on Jimmy’s bleeding corpse, which is flowing all over the oranges that are on the ground. The sun rises and sparkles on the morning dew. The camera doesnt move and stays on Jimmy’s corpse and the beautiful sun rising. You hear some rustling and footsteps. Then the camera is picked up and slowly turned around, but its too close to the person holding it, so the image is distorted. We hear a click. Black screen. Credits.
Fucking awesome Adam! Best horror movie of the year by far. Love it, you better do one next week!