From the Shadows (2023) Movie Script

[tense music]
[numbers beeping]
[crickets chirping]
Now, I've been telling
you fellas for years
about how evil women are,
and tonight at the bar,
I met the most evil
woman there ever was.
I'm talking this chick was evil.
- She walked in.
- [thunder crashing]
Oh, what the
hell was that?
- Whoa!
- [explosion booming]
Holy shit!
Hey, hey, did you
see what happened?
Hey! Hey, hey, hey! Hey, hey!
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!
[man panting]
Yo, where the hell did you go?
Where... where
the fuck did you go?
What you trying to do, scare me?
You think you could scare me?
[tense music continues]
What do you think,
this is fuckin' funny?
MAN: Holy shit.
- [man screaming]
- [slashing sounds]
[suspenseful music]
This morning's top story.
First responders in
MorrisCounty working to contain
a massive fire that broke
out in the early morning hours
at the mansion
of Dr. Joseph Cawl.
Once a renowned
archeologist and professor
at Alden University,
in recent years
is better known as
the charismatic leader ofnthe
infamous Hidden Wisdom cult.
[suspenseful music continues]
- Chief! Chief!
- [all shouting]
Was this a mass suicide?
Investigators have
yet to find any evidence
of an accelerant.
We do not know if
the Hidden Wisdom cult fire
was accidental or otherwise.
Hidden Wisdom's followers
and their leader Dr. Cawl
have long been under
a cloud of suspicion.
Speak to the people who
live on this quiet suburban
and you'll hear whispers
of supposed supernatural powers,
ghostly apparitions,
strange occult rituals
going late into the night,
worshiping at the images
of ancient pagan gods,
as well as rumors of all
manner of sexual perversions.
Even claims of
witchcraft and Satanism.
music continues]
[thunder crashing]
Bowing to public pressure,
authorities have
finallyreleased the identities
of the five survivors
of the cult
who resided in the
mansion with Dr. Cawl
and the other 18 victims.
[reporter 2] Sources saythey
have not yet been ruled out
as suspects in what
is now being called
the Cawl Cult Murders.
You may remember
the investigation
into the sudden
of Dr. Cawl's longtime
research partner,
Dr. Leonard Bertram,
who went missing
after he and Cawl
had a very public
falling out.
Bertram is presumed dead
by police,
and Cawl himself was
initially named a suspect,
though no charges
were ever filed.
And yet rumors persist
that this eccentric,
though supposedly
altruistic cult,
was just a faade for murder
and perhaps even worse.
[suspenseful music]
[newscaster] Authoritiesagain
tonight refuse to comment
on the mysterious
viral video
that supposedly
captures the Cawl cult fire
and what some are callinga
hooded demon with glowing eyes
who remains at large.
[upbeat music]
Welcome to "Knowledge Me."
I am your humble
host, Dr. Dre.
Now help me welcome
our guest for today's show,
psychology professor
and TV's most prominent
paranormal debunker,
the one, the only
Dr. Amara Rowen.
Thank you so much
for having me.
Now, your fans know you
and nicknamed you
but for people who don't
know who the hell that is,
tell us about yourself.
In short, when
I was young,
my mother was a member
of a reincarnation cult,
and before she died,
she promised me she would
come back from the beyond.
Of course, she didn't,
and my anger over her faith in
pseudo spiritual sophistries
led me to working as a
paranormal investigative
and eventually I started
directing documentaries.
[Dr. Dre] Just everybody's
been talking about
the Hidden Wisdom cult fire.
[chuckling] We've all seen that
infomercial at 2:00 a.m.
with Joseph Cawl
and his partner Dr. Bertram.
Let's go to the tape.
[gentle music]
Knowledge is power.
Hidden knowledge
is hidden power.
Power over anything.
"How?" you ask.
and perception.
Our perspective gives us
our perception.
For example, time.
First, think of the concept
of the present.
Is "now" one second?
But there is such
a thing as a half second,
during which of those
half seconds is now.
What beliefs do you hold
about yourself, the world?
What's possible,
what's impossible?
With Hidden Wisdom, we can
change your perception,
not only of yourself, but
of time and reality as a whole.
[Dr. Dre] Now, wait a minute.
This... this...
that just...
- That sounds like bullshit.
- Basically, yeah.
At your lower levels,
you've got your meditation,
your self-actualization,
your feelgood stuff.
But in the inner circle,
now these folks believe
that they could tap into
an ancient power,
an ancient energy.
[Leonard] Through our
groundbreaking studies
of the effects of
ancientsymbology on the brain
and function in people
with a significant history
of unusual abilities
and experiences,
neurobehavioral scienceis
now able to advance
at a previously unheard of pace.
What about
the Hidden Wisdom five?
Are these just some
wacky, brainwashed kids
or are they
psycho killers?
I'm gonna give you the scoop.
These survivors have
reached out to me
to get their side
of the story out.
Of all people, why you?
Oh, I think that they feel
that if they can convince me,
the whole world is
gonna believe them.
[Joseph] Be part of the future.
Help us to unlock what is hidden
and what is hidden within you.
Hidden knowledge
is hidden power.
Imagine what we can
achieve together
when all that has been hidden
is hidden no more.
[gentle music]
[door slams]
MAN: I'm back.
Okay, here's
the last of it.
Great. Thank you, Peter.
Some of the gear
is from the school.
The rest is my own rig.
And this was sitting
on your desk.
No address.
[Peter] Okay, I managed to get a
feed from the school security
so we have exterior shots
to use for B-roll and all that.
I'm also signing into
two separate Zoom accounts.
One recording
Gallery View,
the other recording
Speaker View.
I'll be live switching
between speakers
as you do the interview,
so you'll have
options for the edit.
[voice fading]
I'm also recording back...
[suspenseful music]
Oh, and check this out.
That whole interview,
I will be roving
with this bad boy.
[laughing] All right, Scorsese,
thank you very much.
When the head
of the film department said
that they're recommending
you, I was expecting someone...
Not so old?
[laughs] I didn't say that.
I get that a lot.
I enlisted fresh
out of high school,
and then I extended,
and then I re-upped
after my second tour.
So by the time I rotated
out of service and into college,
I'm a 29-year-old
freshman... part-time.
Undergrad, then grad school.
Mm. Time flies when you're
chasing your dreams.
[tense music]
[door slams]
[distant thunder]
We've got speed.
Now make sure you're set
to hide non-video participants.
[Peter] Ready to rock?
No, but I never really am.
So once more into the breach.
[electronic ping]
[bell chiming]
[Amara] Henry, hi.
Dr. Rowen.
It's so nice to see you again.
Thank you for being
our point person on this
and getting the cameras to
everybody, getting us all
I really appreciate that, and...
Dr. Rowen, I don't
mean to be rude,
but we really don't have
time for pleasantries.
Let's get
everyone else on.
[bell chiming]
[Henry] Tina? Can you hear me?
Can you hear me?
[Henry] Yes!
Where are you?
[Tina] Uh, I went to
my mom's school to hide.
It was getting too
bad at my place.
They were...
They found me.
[Amara] Who found you, Tina?
[tense music]
[Amara] You seeing this?
You see?
Let's hurry, okay.
[bell chiming]
I'm here.
What's with the candles?
I can hide in the darkness, too.
Who is it that you're
all running from?
Is it the media
or the FBI?
So you're the great Dr. Rowen.
Or shall we call
you "Amara-normal"?
Amara or Dr. Rowen is just fine.
[bell chiming]
[Keith] Hold on, I'm coming.
Sorry I'm late.
[bell chiming]
[Keith] Okay... hi.
Sorry about that.
- [Henry] Keith...
- You know,
"tequila" kind of sounds
like "ta kill ya," huh?
- What the hell are you doing?
- Making a cocktail.
I decided, why should I have to
deal with any more of this
Especially now
that I'm a celebrity.
Celebrity? [Laughs]
We're on the news every night.
It's close enough, okay?
Have you been having...
you know, trouble?
Yeah. Yeah.
Yeah, uh, but that's why
I have this, you know?
Hey, is Zoe coming
to this thing or what?
[Henry] Your guess
is as good as mine.
Did she get a camera?
Yeah, she came by
my place to get one.
I got the feeling she was
moving around, staying low.
Which is definitely not
what the FBI told us to do.
Fuck the FBI.
[Amara] All right
then, shall we begin?
Sooner the better.
I'm ready, let's go.
I'm Dr. Amara Rowen,
and I assume that Henry
filled you all in
with what I do.
Or maybe you've seen
some of my documentaries.
We all know
who and what you are.
I really like the one
about angels.
I wanna be very clear.
My goal here tonight is to get
your side of the story told.
The truth.
Wait... that's it?
We're just gonna talk?
Henry, you said that
she could help us.
Well, Tina...
she has to...
Is there anything in
those books that says a way
- to make it stop?
- Tina!
Dr. Rowen can't possibly help us
if she doesn't first understand
what the situation is.
Okay... may I ask
what is this problem
you're having?
The problem is that
the FBI and half the country
thinks that we started the fire
and murdered all of our friends.
They never once asked us
how we think it happened
or who we think
might have done it.
Second, the media is
portraying us and Hidden Wisdom
to be some sort of
[chuckles] insane
suicide murder cul...
[screen crackling]
[tense music]
Peter, I'm not getting anything.
[keyboard clacking]
[tense music continues]
Henry, is there someone else
at your location?
[Henry] What did you see?
That brings us to our
biggest problem, Dr. Rowen.
The main reason
why we're all in hiding.
Are you in a secure
location, Dr. Rowen?
[Amara] Am I secure?
[Henry] Yeah.
[Amara] I'm at the library
at my university.
There are locks
on the doors and windows.
[Denise] Ugh, like that'll
make a difference.
Regardless, might I suggest
you check them, please?
[Tina] What good will alarms and
locked doors do against these
[Denise] Let's hope we
don't have to find out.
[suspenseful music]
[crickets chirping]
[thunder crashing]
[whispered voices]
Everything okay?
Yeah, I... I think so.
[Amara] Okay.
Now, can you all tell me
why there's so much concern
for our safety?
Go ahead, Henry.
This was your idea. Tell her.
Joseph found a way
to draw upon certain
extra-dimensional energies.
[thunder crashing]
Please tell me more.
Joseph drew from these energies
the night of the... tragedy.
Not only is that the true
source of the fire,
but it subsequently ruptured
an opening between our world
and whatever is beyond.
Those are some pretty
extraordinary claims.
Oh! See? I knew she
wouldn't believe us.
She's fucking useless.
To her, we're just
another bunch of kooks.
[Amara] All right,
wait a second.
I'm not implying anything.
But you have to admit
what you guys are saying
seems pretty fantastical.
I mean, do you
have any evidence?
All right.
We all knew it would
probably come to this.
Does everyone have their
V-Tech images on their
- [Denise] Pulling it up now.
- Yeppers.
- [Tina] I got it on my phone.
- [Henry] All right.
Something simple, I believe.
Reaching out to Dr. Rowen
at her location.
What are you doing?
Don't worry, we're
just a bunch of weirdos.
- Nothing will happen.
- [Henry] Denise.
[tense music]
[inhales deeply]
[tense music continues]
[intermittent static]
[all panting]
Is that it?
[wind howling]
[alarms blaring]
[alarms stop]
[tense music]
You're getting all this right?
[Peter] Oh, yeah.
Okay, guys...
what just happened?
Welcome to Hidden Wisdom.
All right, uh...
Okay, um, I've...
I've experienced
something like this before
with claims of
poltergeist activity.
Maybe it's something that
science can't quite explain
and I can't debunk right now.
Right now?!
See? I told you she'd
find a way not to believe
her own fucking eyes!
Dr. Rowen, do you
want to help us?
[tense music]
[bell chiming]
[Denise] Oh, fuck.
I'm happy to finally
meet you, Dr. Rowen,
insofar as a video call allows.
Thank you for joining us.
I understand that there
was a little bit of hesitation.
I decided to make
sure you were being told
the complete truth.
Information about our
group is being filtered through
a lot of chaos mind,
and Joseph's work
is way too important
to get lost in that noise.
Now that Joseph
is... gone,
and I understand you were
his research coordinator
and star pupil, are you
planning on taking up his work?
Oh God, is this gonna
turn into "The Zoe Show"?
Should we come back later?
Wonderful to
see you again.
But it does sound like you
could use a cognitive reset.
Don't even fucking start.
[Amara] Okay, okay.
Now that we're all here,
I'd like to first get an idea
of how each of you got...
involved in Hidden Wisdom.
Denise, why don't you start?
[tense music]
[Denise sighs]
I was there.
[faint voices whispering]
[Amara] Denise?
They don't like the light.
[lighter clacking]
Um... anyway, I was there
at the beginning.
I needed a...
a few elective courses,
so I signed up for Joseph's
Alternative Archeology course.
Then he asked me
if I wanted to be a part of
a discussion group.
Henry was already
in the group, so was Zoe.
Though I never found
out why Zoe was,
she wasn't even a student
at the university.
Joseph called her his assistant.
We all just thought
she was there
because she was with
Joseph in a non-academic way.
In the same way I was with you
every now and again?
Wait, what?
[Amara] What did you
get out of these meetings?
Joseph said...
I inspired the reset model.
[Amara] Which is?
When... something or someone
is flawed, they can be reset.
And how did you inspire this?
I had mental
health issues.
I tried all of the
standard cures, but nothing
Even my family
had given up on me.
But then, working with Joseph
and using his techniques
without drugs, without therapy,
I was cured.
It seemed... miraculous.
[Amara] Did all of you
have similar experiences?
Um... I struggled with anxiety.
Whenever I came
to any kind of choice,
even ordering from a menu,
I would... freeze.
It was like a
panic attack.
And then I...
I couldn't do anything.
[Keith] I wasn't smart enough
to get into college,
so I didn't attend
any of the little
- dorm room circle jerks.
- [Denise scoffs]
I came in later.
I attended one of his seminars
and was just one of those
screaming ass clowns
in the crowd.
So then what brought you there?
[slurps and coughs]
Uh, sleep paralysis.
Night terrors, whatever
you'd like to call them.
Every time I went to bed,
it was like a torture session.
So Joseph's Hidden Wisdom
seminar... helped you?
I can honestly say that
the greatest moment of my life
was when Zoe came up to me
in the crowd,
- like an angel...
- [Denise scoffs]
and said, "Joseph has seen you."
Two seconds later, she took me
up on stage to meet Joseph.
Okay, thank you, Keith. Tina.
I had
[sighs] shadow people.
[tense music]
Shadow people?
Following me around...
all the time.
First time I saw them,
I was... six years old?
They would stand in the corner
of my room and watch me.
After a while, they
started to move things, slam
or make loud knocks or sounds.
Like when I took
my driver's exam,
I failed because
there were shadow people
standing around the parking lot.
When I graduated high school,
they were in the crowd, or...
Uh, intimate situations.
I would see them... watching.
Do you have an idea who or
what these shadow people were?
Joseph said... he told me
that the Egyptians believed
that the soul was
divided into nine parts.
One of them is
the Shuyet, the shadow.
Joseph thought that
the shadow people
are the Shuyets
of everyone's dead souls.
Hungry and alone,
and all going
to a place beyond death
that's just as dark as they are.
How did Joseph help you?
He made them go away.
But, uh, since the fire...
They're back, aren't they, Tina?
Yes, they're back,
but they're different.
Now they don't just watch me.
It's like they're hunting me.
Ohh... Dr. Rowen, I am so
frightened all of the time.
Are they with you
right now, Tina?
No... but I think they're close.
How did you come
to Hidden Wisdom?
Did you go to one
of the seminars, too?
No, I'd heard
about Hidden Wisdom
from one of those commercials
they used to have.
Like this one?
[Joseph] Do you feel like
you're being held back in
by things you
can't control?
What if I told you there
existsna way to access knowledge
that can rebuild your life,
unlock your hidden power
to reach your full
potential for happiness?
It's called Hidden Wisdom.
The same power
drawn on by the ancients
to build their wondersn
can rebuild your life.
You, too, can wield the
hidden power of the universe.
[all breathing deeply]
If you are seeking
what is hidden,
let us seek
it together.
Hidden Wisdom
is hidden power.
[glass shattering]
Let us break
through together.
[atmospheric music]
[Tina] Yep, that's it.
Then, like, out of
nowhere, I get a text from Zoe.
Zoe, can you
speak to that?
As Joseph was
exploring Hidden Wisdom,
his ability to sense
others like him increased.
When Joseph knew it was time
to help Tina find her alpha,
then it was time.
[Amara] Understood.
Well... that brings
us to you, Zoe.
How did you first come
in contact with Joseph?
You're focusing on me
and us as individuals,
but you aren't seeing
that the real power
and real truth behind Hidden
Wisdom is in the collective.
And this... power,
this... truth is what exactly?
You'll accept it
in your own time. Petal.
[distant thunder]
- Denise?
- [Tina] Is it them?
I don't know,
but I'm gonna find out.
Take the camera.
[faint whispering]
[muffled growl]
[Tina] What is it?
[Denise] It's coming
from the fireplace.
[suspenseful music]
[distant thunder]
[Tina] Be careful.
[Henry] Maybe you should
just... leave it?
[suspenseful music continues]
[distant clanking]
[metallic squeaking]
It was just a loose damper.
It's probably a squirrel or.
[Tina laughing]
Maybe it's Santa.
- [all laughing]
- [Zoe] Idiot.
[thunder crashing]
Now, I'd like to ask you
what you know about the mystery
surrounding the disappearance
of Joseph's former partner,
Dr. Leonard Bertram.
Do any of you know
what happened to him?
[Henry] I was told
he moved out of town.
[Amara] Dr. Bertram did nothing
to forward his mail.
His former landlord said
he had to have his belongings
carted to a dumpster
after not hearing
from him for many months.
University staff said
his mail just piled up
for literally years.
He never officially quit,
and the police say it's
still an open investigation.
Dr. Rowen, how is this relevant
to what we're
doing here tonight?
Yeah, I don't see how
talking about ancient history
is helping us.
Your group is being accused
of arson and murder.
You say yourself
that these "shadow people"
that are supposedly hunting you
are manifestations of
the darkest part of ourselves.
I'm sorry, but psychologists
would say that sounds
an awful lot like
a guilty conscience.
[Henry] Wait, are you
suggesting that Hidden Wisdom
also killed Dr. Bertram?
[sighs] Oh, God, I told you.
If you could help me
establish that Dr. Bertram,
as you say,
left town on his own,
that your group is not dangerous
like the media portrays you
any of that could go a long way
in removing the shadow of guilt,
both literally and figuratively.
[tense music]
That's actually
a fair point, Dr. Rowen.
Now, I'd like to get
your reactions to something
that I uncovered
after combing through
hundreds of hours
of university recordings
of Dr. Cawl's
and Dr. Bertram's lectures.
[computer beeps]
As far as we know,
nobody's seen this until now.
Not even the police.
[slow beeping]
[school bell ringing]
I didn't want to believe it
when the university said
you had come back
for this semester.
Why are you calling me, Joseph?
I already told you
how I feel. I'm done with it.
With you, Hidden Wisdom,
all of it.
And you should be too.
Leonard, I thought
if you had time to think...
There is absolutely
nothing to think about!
Bad enough I let myself
be talked into
those ridiculous videos.
It's a means to an end.
To what end?
At first it made sense,
but now...
Now you want me to help you
establish what, a new religion?
We're scientists!
For God's sake, man,
they're starting to call
the work that we were doing
a goddamn cult!
You know as well as I do
we're much morethan scientists.
It is our alpha
that burns brightest.
If not us, then who?
If not now, then when?
Can you... do you hear yourself?
Do you hear yourself?
This is why I left.
[Amara] Okay, pause here
a second.
Zoe, Joseph mentioned alpha,
and you mentioned it
before, too,
in reference to
Joseph finding people.
What are alpha?
Very simply put,
the human brain generates
several kinds of waves.
One of these is the alpha wave.
Typically, human experience
of the alpha wave
is muddied by chaos thought.
The distractions
of modern society.
But when you apply
the Hidden Wisdom techniques
to quiet the chaos
and focus your alpha wave,
let it take over,
then you can solve
a great many neural imbalances.
Which is why Denise,
Henry, Tina, and Keith
were all able
to address problems
that conventional methods
in medicine could not solve.
[Amara] Okay, let's keep going.
- You're just afraid.
- Yes!
I am, Joseph!
And you should be, too.
You're talking about
meddling with primal forces
of nature itself.
Ever since we ventured
to that other place,
I am afraid of what
it's done to you.
What it's done to me?
This is a once-in-a-millennia
discovery, Leonard.
It's the power that built
civilization itself.
And it's that same power
that destroyed allthe
civilizations that used it!
bekli Tepe. Harappa.
Puma Punku. Rajasthan.
All those citieswere destroyed
thousands of
years ago, Joseph.
They were all literally wiped
off the face of the earth.
- Like Sodom and
Gomorrah. - [Amara] Okay,
Joseph claimed they made
a once-in-a-millennia discovery.
How did a... archeologist
and a neurophysicist
end up working together?
Dr. Bertram was studying
the correlation
between alpha waves
and deviant sleep patterns.
Joseph was having trouble
and participated
in one of Bertram's
improved synchronization
of rhythmic neuronal
activity studies.
When Joseph tried
focusing his mind on
the stone-carved images
from his lectures
in order to help
him fall asleep,
that is when
the discovery happened.
And that was?
These are called V-Tech images.
Antediluvian visual technology.
Joseph discovered that
these images focus the alpha.
The group silences
their chaos minds
and focuses on a given image.
Meditation on
a shared visualization.
[Amara] Meaning what?
You might imagine everybody
in the world holding a candle.
Now, the light of a single
candle is soft and diffuse,
but if combined
with other candles
and then focused through a lens,
then you have
a blinding illumination.
Where did Joseph come up
with these images?
They were revealed to him
during his archeological digs.
Ancient symbols were
formally only available
to the ruler priests
of ancient civilizations.
These were taken
at bekli Tepe in Turkey.
Carbon dating puts these
monoliths at 12,000 years old.
They were ancient when
the pyramids were built.
And these are some of
the most common V-Tech images.
They're drawings, of course,
but it's an exact match
of the ancient carvings.
But there's another
set of images, correct?
I see you've done
your homework, Dr. Rowen.
There is a second set,
only ever used by
the enlightened few.
The enlightened few are?
Those who have taken all
the classes, done a full reset,
and proven that they're
in control of their chaos mind.
Chumps like me.
So tell me, do the images
for the enlightened few
look anything like this?
Where did you get these?
That isn't even
all the pictures, though.
There's more.
Are you saying there's
a third set of V-Tech images?
They were just for us.
The ultra, ultra inner circle.
- The 23.
- [Zoe] Tina!
Do you remember
the contracts you signed?
Your collateral.
None of that
matters anymore, Zoe!
People are dead.
You wanted
to tell the truth, and
[crying] we owe it to them, Zoe.
Okay, so what made
the 23 so special?
Was it just your training?
Henry said that everyone
is holding a candle
of alpha capability, but...
there are some very few people
who shine brighter than others.
And that increased perception
is often mistaken
for mental illness.
We're fucking X-Men.
Joseph said
we were very special.
The only ones who could
help him save the world.
Fossil records
show that there are
five recorded mass extinctions
on the planet,
and Joseph said that we
were gearing up for another one
at the end
of the Anthropocene epoch.
Joseph said we
had an opportunity,
a duty to forestall Armageddon
by seizing control
of reality's wheel.
[Amara] Let's play the rest.
[punching keys]
Look around you.
We've broken the world!
Things aren't going to get
better, it's only going to get
The human race is destroying
itself, but we can stop it!
I shall say thisone last time
in the hope that there remains
some last shred of the man
I used to know.
You're headed
for darkness, Joseph.
This power was notmeant
for our universe.
You must know that I really
don't need you, Leonard.
I can do this without you.
I have others now
to help me in my mission.
Damn it, man!
You're not a messiah!
You're not a God!
You will only cause
more destruction,
and I won't be
a part of it.
I swear by everything
that is holy,
I will do everythingin
my power to stop you!
Are you threatening me?
You're goddamn right I am.
[tense music]
[Amara] So... thoughts?
Dr. Bertram left due to a schism
of differing beliefs, nothing
Those on the faculty
who had always been jealous
of his work accused Joseph
of having something to do
with his disappearance.
Everyone just assumes that
the paper Dr. Bertram wrote,
the one that trashed Joseph's
theories and methods,
was the smoking gun motive
for Joseph to murder Bertram.
You ask me, from that video,
it sounds like Bertram was
the one making all the threats.
[dramatic music]
[Zoe] Leonard was always
jealous of Joseph's alpha.
Because of him, the scientific
community completely dismissed
and ultimately buried
this discovery.
Even when Joseph
tried to make them
understand its implications.
What implications?
That once you learn
how to control the alpha,
reality is as mutable
as a lucid dream.
[whispered voices]
I'm sorry,
but are you saying that
Joseph could somehow
alter reality? Come on.
Joseph had seen
your work, Dr. Rowen.
He said you had encountered
far too many falsehoods
to easily believe,
well... anything.
I think something's outside.
- [Tina] Don't go out there.
- [Denise] Absolutely.
- Don't go out there.
- Why?
It's just a theory,
but there is a possibility
we may have, well, infected you.
- Oops.
- [Amara] Infected?
[Henry] With the demonstration.
The energies seem
to latch onto people, places.
That's how we think
the same energy
followed us from the house
and drew the attention
of the Shuyet.
Nice time for you to tell me.
After the demonstration.
[light booming]
[exhales shakily]
Hey, you okay?
It's impossible.
It's an LED light.
LEDs can't explode.
They don't like the light.
[tense music]
So, Hidden Wisdom.
The classes,
the camps, the seminars,
the whole organization.
This was about gathering
candles of alpha energy
to save the world?
In order for that
to happen, though,
Joseph needed the full
inclusion of the 23.
But some of us weren't there.
But this brings us
to the moment of truth.
What actually
happened that night?
How is it that
all of you survived
while so many others didn't?
Well, uh...
Me and Denise, we, uh...
Look, shit had
been getting weird.
Considering what
I've just witnessed,
can you define weird?
Joseph changed.
He became more controlling.
He took our phones away,
he made us do hours of exercise.
Stress positions.
He would not let us sleep.
He decided when
we could have water.
Even when we were
allowed to eat,
we had to follow
Joseph's weird diet.
He wasn't just vegan.
We could only eat vegetables
that he personally gathered.
He said it was
to cleanse our auras
so that we could
better focus the alpha.
- Exactly so.
- "Exactly so."
Zoe, do you not understand
that what we're describing here
is fucking abuse?!
What's a little
short term discomfort
in comparison with the
opportunity to remake the world?
[thunder rumbling]
Anyway, Denise and I
decided it was time to bounce.
Oh, good thing we did,
or we would've been dead
like everyone else
who decided to stick it out
for Joseph's power trip.
You're weak, Denise,
and you always have been.
Intelligent, talented,
but so pathetically weak.
What about you, Henry?
Why weren't you there?
Like Tina said, things
had been getting... different.
Joseph and Zoe were meeting
behind closed doors.
The closer we got to this
cleansing visualization,
the more authoritarian
and desperate Joseph seemed.
I wondered if
I should just get out.
Then suddenly,
for the first time
in a long time...
I couldn't make
a decision.
I was paralyzed.
What did you do?
Chose the third option.
Snuck out so I could
get to a place
where I could
clear my chaos mind
and reset myself... on my own.
How like the rest of mankind,
selfish and unworthy.
In humanity's
most crucial moments,
you all stepped back into fear.
The same unhealthy patterns
that Joseph helped you overcome.
You all could have been gods,
and instead
you chose to crawl
in the mud with the worms.
Yeah. That's me,
the living worm,
and all of our chosen
friends are dead.
In your hour of need,
Joseph saved your lives.
When it came time
to help him on a mission
to serve humanity as a whole,
you didn't just abandon Joseph,
you abandoned the human race.
All of you proved
how base, how selfish,
how unworthy you all truly are!
If you're such a true believer,
then why are you here
instead of a morgue?
Uh... well, that might
be on me, actually.
You convinced
Zoe to leave?
[Zoe] No, he did not.
Look, I, um...
I never showed anyone these
before, but I...
I did take some pictures
with this... sneaky guy,
the night of the, uh, the thing.
[alarm whooping]
[tense music]
[whispered voices]
These are from
the night of the fire?
[Zoe] It was the night Joseph
was gonna save our world.
The cleansing.
Yeah, see... we gathered
in the main room.
Joseph showed us
where to sit, how to sit.
And then he started putting
V-Techs up on the wall,
one at a time.
[thunder rumbling]
[wind howling]
[whispered voices]
I remember being afraid.
I remember not
wanting to look, so I...
I closed my eyes really tight.
And when I opened them...
I was floating
above my own body.
I looked down at my body below,
sitting there,
but I wasn't... I wasn't in it.
And I could see the others
floating above themselves, too.
[thunder rumbling]
Then the room got dark.
And the walls disappeared,
and the ceiling, and...
I swear to you, I am not lying
when I say
I looked down at myself.
The floor was gone.
It was just darkness.
[tense music continues]
[whispered voices]
And we weren't alone.
There were other people there,
but th-they weren't people,
they were these shadows,
these figures.
You could just feel
them watching you.
Millions of them, stretching
out into that dark nothingness.
[tense music continues]
[whispered voices]
I returned.
My heart was going at
a billion miles an hour.
And I knew the nightmare
wasn't over.
I knew I had to run.
Keith, you understand that
deprivation of food and water
and sleep can cause...
No, Doctor, don't do that.
I wasn't just seeing things,
it was more than that.
- This was real.
- [door shuts]
[Henry] I will say
Joseph often spoke about
the mind's ability
to travel beyond the body,
even so far as
mind-body transference.
And you believe that's possible?
If Joseph said it was possible,
then it was possible.
Keith, what happened next?
I stood up,
and nobody looked at me.
They were... they were all
in their own little worlds,
focusing their alphas.
But I had a feeling
something really bad was
about to happen, so I saw Zoe.
And she saved me,
so I knew I had to save her.
So I grabbed her up, I threw
her over my shoulder and
ran out of there with her.
And 10, 15 seconds later, boom.
Whole place explodes
into flames.
Were you harmed?
Mm, not really.
I just got these weird
scars on my back and neck.
Can you show me?
[sighs] Yeah.
[tense music]
[distant thunder rumbles]
Keith, that...
That isn't burn scarring.
Those are Lichtenberg figures.
There's only one way
to get those.
If you're struck by lightning.
They were killed by lightning?
See, it wasn't Joseph,
it wasn't Bertram.
It wasn't even shadow people.
It was lightning
that started the fire.
If we can prove that,
it's gonna mean that
you're all innocent.
Thank you, Dr. Rowen!
- [Tina] You saved us!
- [Denise] That's it.
[Henry] I guess you must
be right, Dr. Rowen.
- [Tina] You really did
it. - [Keith] That's boring.
Wait, wait, Keith,
hold on a second.
Can you angle the camera
closer on your back?
[Keith] Yeah.
[tense music]
Oh, my God.
Were you wearing
or carrying something
with a V-Tech image?
Perhaps one of
the secret designs?
No, nothing
like that. Why?
You have a scar on your back
that looks exactly
like a V-Tech image.
It isn't one of the 23.
It's definitely V-Tech,
but it's... new.
Keith, what the fuck?
- Zoe, were you...
- No, I wasn't injured
in any way by the blast.
But how can that
be if Keith is so...
I mean...
- Fucked up?
- Yes.
Perhaps he shielded me
from the blast with his body.
My hero.
Hey, I saved your
fucking life, okay?
Keith, I wanna be very clear
so even someone
as cretinous as you
can understand.
Because of you, the collective
was broken, and everyone died.
The cleansing failed!
Humans are still on a path
to their own destruction.
I hope the scars you bear cause
an unceasing amount of agony
for the rest of your pathetic,
meaningless little life,
and serve as a constant
reminder at the continued
that you have brought
to this world.
[Denise] Ugh, it's the damn
fireplace damper again.
Take the camera with you
so we know that you're okay.
They might still be out there.
[chuckles] Don't worry.
Dr. Sherlock Rowen
solved the case, remember?
[Keith] Maybe now is a good time
for a bathroom break.
You know, the alcohol
comes in, it's gotta come out,
Yes, let's...
let's take a break.
[voices whispering]
[unnatural growling]
- We did it, Peter.
- [keyboard clacking]
We found out what happened
before the damn FBI did.
And who knows?
Before this interview's over,
we may even find out
what happened to Bertram.
Oh, man, these poor kids.
What's wrong, Peter?
Did the equipment fail?
Did you record everything?
Equipment's fine.
We got everything covered
from multiple angles.
It's just...
those shadow people.
I think they're wrong.
[distant thunder,
whispered voices]
My grandmother was full Choctaw.
She used to tell me about
these things when I was a kid.
She used to see them
after her father died,
but she didn't call
them the Shuyet
or whatever
they called it.
She called them...
Impa Shilup.
The soul-eater.
[tense music]
These black creatures
that pray upon
dark thoughts and depression.
[tense music]
She would say that many people
of the Choctaw nation
wouldn't even say the name,
for fear that an Impa Shilup
would crawl inside of them.
[unnatural growling]
And feast upon their soul.
I don't know about all that,
but what I do know is that
when you suffer from sleep
deprivation like these guys
[chuckles softly] you see
a lot of scary shit, okay?
Shadows, objects coming
at you when you're awake.
It can be really disturbing.
And it seems to me like these
kids haven't slept in weeks.
[distant thunder rumbling]
Come here.
Look at the radar.
Not a single cloud
on the night of the fire.
And lightning does not strike
out of a clear sky.
So... where'd
the lightning come from?
[metal clattering]
[Denise coughs]
[Denise continues
Ohh. [Chuckles]
[Henry laughing]
[chuckling] Are you okay?
Yeah. Nothing hurt,
but my ass and my pride.
[Amara chuckles]
- [dramatic music]
- [Denise choking]
[Denise screaming]
[Tina] Oh, my God. Denise!
- Peter, call the police.
- Why do I say?
Does anybody know where she is?
I know the town,
but I don't know the address!
[whispers] Fuck.
[bell rings]
[Denise, whispering] Oh, God.
Can you guys hear me?
- Denise?
- Hello?
[Zoe] Her sound is off.
She can't hear you.
[Denise] Please help me.
Oh, God.
[static zapping]
[Peter] Who the fuck is that?
- [Henry] Okay, that's not good.
- [Tina, crying] Denise.
[Denise] If anyone can hear me,
there is someone or something
in this house.
I need you guys
to call the cops.
The address is 23 Holt Drive
in West Kuciak, near Alden.
Hurry. I'm gonna try to
exit through the back entrance.
[Henry] He's
following her.
God, D, run!
[Denise] Oh, God.
[dramatic music continues]
[Tina] Oh, my God, D,
he's right behind you!
- [Amara] Denise!
- [Tina] Denise, run!
- [Tina] Denise, turn around!
- [Henry] Denise!
- [Henry] No, no, no, no, no!
- Denise!
Oh, God, oh, my God!
[Denise screaming]
- [Henry, crying] Fuck.
- Peter.
What is up with that 911 call?
When I call 911, all I get is...
[bell rings]
[scattered static]
[dramatic music]
[Tina screams]
[Joseph] Leonard
has come for you all.
There is only
one way to stop him.
To save your own lives,
you must perform
the visualization.
If you break the circle,
if you step away,
if you fail
you will all... die.
[tense music continues]
[bell rings]
Ohh. My God, there.
So much better. [Grunts]
I'm all set.
- What the fuck?!
- [Tina screaming]
Why are you fucking
with me like that?
Calm down! Everybody just
fucking calm down!
- [Keith shouts
indistinctly] - Peter, what is
the deal?!
Every time I call 911,
all I get is this.
[Joseph] If you break the
circle, if you step away,
if you fail,
you will all... die.
[Keith] Ohh... fuck this.
I'm out, no.
Do not go anywhere.
I want you here with us.
- No, you said...
- This is a scary situation.
We need to figure
this thing out together.
We need you.
Please, Keith.
[tense music continues]
[Tina panting]
Tina, thank God!
Are you okay, sweetie?
I went outside.
I didn't know where I was
going, and they were out there.
The shadow people
have come for us!
Tina, your camera.
It's on the floor.
Pick up your camera, it's
on the floor.
[Tina] Please.
[whimpering] No.
[Leonard] I truly did not
want it to come to this.
No, no, no, no, stop!
- Stop! Stop!
- [Tina screaming]
- [Henry] Tina!
- What now?
[Henry] Somebody stop him!
Someone stop him! Tina!
[Tina] No! No, no.
[Tina choking]
[choking continues]
[Tina's neck snaps]
[tense music continues]
[thud on monitor]
[Henry] Is he gone?
[tense music]
[breathes deeply]
[soft chuckle]
Good evening.
Dr. Leonard Bertram?
[Leonard] Ah
you're good.
Why... why would
you murder Tina?
Now, let's not
forget poor Denise.
[Henry] That's impossible.
They're over an hour
away from each other.
There's no way
you could have traveled...
[Leonard] Henry...
I helped unlock
the hidden wisdom.
I understand its power in ways
you shall never comprehend.
[chuckling] Of course,
it does come with a price.
[tense music]
Dr. Bertram,
why are you doing this?
Joseph brainwashed
these children into thinking
that they were going
to make a new world
of puppies and rainbows.
The truth is, Joseph
did not actually die.
He has become one
with an encroaching darkness,
an evil, if you will...
far beyond time and space.
And even with Joseph's
body gone from this place,
our world won't be safe
until all of his
inner circle are dead.
All those who tapped into
this Hidden Wisdom must die.
The door that Joseph
opened must be shut.
[Bertram laughing]
I'll see you... soon.
[tense music]
Dr. Bertram! D...
[tense music]
[wind howling]
[whispered voices]
[thunder crashing]
[Zoe] It appears you're
at a crossroads, Dr. Rowen.
If you still believe
this is all in our head
or just an elaborate hoax,
then... debunk us.
Go ahead. Run.
You heard Joseph.
If one of us leaves, we all die.
The voice on the phone,
in Denise's... throat,
you want me to believe
that's Joseph, right?
We can't all just sit here
waiting for him to find us!
If Leonard can shadow-step
from Denise to Tina,
then no matter where we
run or hide, he will find us.
We need to stop
Leonard ourselves.
Like Joseph said,
it's the only way.
No, Joseph is dead! Okay?
The dead do not just come back,
no matter how bad
we want them to!
Believe me, I know this!
The lightning strike
that killed Joseph
focused his psyche
into pure alpha energy.
So Joseph is what,
he's a ghost now?
An unscientific
term, but...
Zoe, you need to stop playing
games right now, goddammit.
Where are you going
with all of this?
There is only one way
to stop Leonard.
[Amara] How?
A visualization.
A killer is stalking us
and you wanna fucking meditate?
Henry, I presume you have
the V-Tech images within reach?
Um... which one?
- The second set?
- Yes.
I'm not happy about
sharing them with an outsider,
but these are unusual
Dr. Rowen, I'm about to
share my screen with you.
You want me to join in?
Do not be afraid of
the chaos, Dr. Rowen.
I'm not afraid.
[Henry] Good.
The more people doing
the visualization,
the greater the likelihood
of success.
I'm sorry, how is this
supposed to help us?
We find Leonard, we see
where he is and what he's doing.
If he can use the V-Tech
just to hunt us,
then we can do him
the same favor.
And when we find him, then what?
Whatever it takes.
[tense music]
[Henry] We're gonna look
at a series of images.
With each, I want you
to clear your mind
and think of nothing
but the image.
The idea is to imprint
the image on your thought
strongly enough so that it
creates new neural pathways
in the mind.
[all exhale]
This should focus your alpha.
If we're all doing
it at the same time,
we should get results.
[breathing deeply]
I recommend you dim the lights.
[light switch clicks]
[Henry] Image one.
You are looking at the image.
It fills your vision.
All other thoughts
are noise, they're chaos.
They just...
Melt away.
[Zoe] Image two.
You are looking at the image,
but you are also
falling into it.
You are inside the image...
and the image is inside you.
[Henry] Image three.
You realize that without
any other thoughts to distract,
the image becomes
the shape of thought.
[tense music]
- What do you see?
- What do you see?
[whispered voice]
What do you see?
[whooshing sound]
[Zoe] Image four.
It's so real,
you could touch it.
The image is within you,
and you are within the image.
It's part of you.
[whooshing sound]
- What do you see?
- What do you see?
[Zoe, echoing] What do you see?
[zapping sounds]
- It looks like a street.
- Draw it, Dr. Rowen.
Draw whatever
the images show you.
[zapping sounds, eerie music]
Show us!
Image five brings
even more clarity.
The more you observe the image,
your perception
follows its contours,
its curves and lines.
[zapping sounds, eerie music]
[Zoe] Image six.
The more you examine the image,
the more you realize
you can see.
- What do you see?
- What do you see?
[echoing] What do you see?
[eerie music]
Dr. Rowen, show us!
Holy shit, that's...
Keith, it's right behind you!
- [Amara] Keith, run!
- Keith, watch it!
- Uhh!
- [Amara shrieks]
[Leonard] Three down, two to go.
If only you had listened.
[squishing noises]
- [Amara whimpering]
- [Henry] No... no...
- [Amara] Oh, God!
- [Leonard] Look.
A new V-Tech image.
What do you think this one does?
[distant thunder rumbling]
Oh, doing the visualization
of your own, eh?
[Leonard chuckling]
You trying to find me
before I find you?
You are chaos.
That's all you are.
That's the spirit, Zoe.
Did I do that?
Did I just lead
Leonard to... to Keith?
Is all of this my fault?
[Zoe] Don't be afraid.
What you're experiencing
is to be expected.
All of us went through
this wondrous process
of accepting a new
perspective on reality.
This is your cognitive reset.
Your first steps
into Hidden Wisdom
into the truth.
No, no. No.
You're a hypocrite.
How can you sit there
and talk about truth
when you've been lying
from the beginning?
Tell me about
your truth... Marie.
I'm sorry?
In my research, I found
your birth certificate.
Your real name is Marie.
And I found the names
of your biological parents,
including your father,
Dr. Joseph Cawl.
You're Joseph's daughter?
[chuckles] Congratulations
for sitting on that egg
as long as you did.
I suppose this is
the dramatically
appropriate moment
to give your documentary
an act three twist.
Don't you try
and turn this around, Zoe.
[Zoe] Amara, you
want the truth?
It's always
been about you.
You don't realize who you are.
Joseph was completely
right about you.
Your alpha is blinding.
You may even be
more powerful than he is.
The only truth is that
people like you are liars.
You twist innocent minds
until they don't
know the difference
between truth
and illusion.
You ruin lives, families,
all for your
pathetic need for relevancy.
Your mother did not
lie to you, Petal.
- What?
- She told me that she was
the only one
who called you that.
She said she loves you...
My mother... is dead.
Energy cannot be destroyed,
only transformed.
Your mother still exists,
one with the universe.
Just like Joseph.
Your entire life has been a lie.
Let the chaos go.
Embrace us.
Believe in our power, our truth.
You have the
hidden wisdom within you
to not only save yourself,
but to save our world.
I'll be able
to see my mother again?
[alarm beeping]
Oh, no.
The motion sensor alarm.
Leonard is here.
[doorknob rattling]
[man] Henry!
- What are you doing over there?
- I, uh...
- I've been calling you!
- I'm on a video call.
- Your mother, she's losing her
mind. - I'm sorry.
I'm sorry, Dad, I...
I just needed to get to a place
where I could get
- [Henry] Dad!
Oh, fuck!
Holy shit! [Screams]
- [Leonard] I'm sorry, Henry.
- [sobbing] Oh, God!
I'm pretty sure
he wouldn't have understood
why you have to die.
[Henry groans]
[Leonard] Even as I
choke the life out of you,
I can see your alpha,
like a shimmering cloud.
Do you know why you had
such struggles with indecision?
It's because you have
pre-cognitive abilities, Henry.
You can see many paths
to the future.
Or at least
you... used to.
No, no, no, Dr. Bertram!
No, please, please!
We can figure something out! No!
- There is no other way.
- No!
[Amara screaming]
[blade slicing]
- [dramatic music]
- [Amara sobbing]
It's up to us now, Amara.
He's going to be coming for us.
We don't have much time.
He's going to kill us.
How do we stop him?
We need to do
a different visualization.
Much more dangerous,
much more powerful.
We need to use the secret images
of the 23 to remake reality,
so that none of this
ever happened.
the killings, everything.
Are you sure that
I have enough, uh, alpha?
[Zoe] Fear not.
Joseph will be with us,
and so will your mother.
First, we need an anchor.
An image or artifact
that is unique to our reality.
Peter, roll back the footage
to when Leonard
Leonard was encountering
Keith, at the very end.
There, there. Grab a screen cap.
Got it.
Okay, Zoe,
I'm sharing my screen.
[Zoe] All right, Amara.
I'm gonna move
through the images
much more quickly this time.
You're going to have
to find a way
to focus on them in turn...
Do you understand?
[sighs] Yes, I do.
Okay, let's begin.
Remember this V-Tech image
burned into Keith's skin.
Let that be our
sui generis anchor.
[machine beeping]
[thunder crashing]
[whispered voices]
[Zoe] Now, the
first image.
Whatever you two are
gonna do, do it faster.
We're running out of time.
Now the second image.
[eerie music]
[thunder crashing]
[Zoe] Now visualize
all the chaos
that Leonard
has brought upon us.
- [growling]
- [thunder crashing]
Oh, shit.
Get back!
Fifth image.
[eerie music]
Visualize all
that Leonard has done.
See it become undone.
[Zoe] Seventh image.
Let these visions
fill your mind.
Allow them to become real.
[Zoe] Eighth image.
[eerie music]
Shit. Come on.
[indistinct whispering]
Oh, shit.
[Zoe] Ninth image.
[whooshing, thunder crashing]
[Tina screaming]
[whispered voices]
Tenth image.
[whooshing, thunder crashing]
Time's up.
- [Peter panting]
- [static]
[tense music]
[thunder crashing]
Stand aside.
We're not done shooting.
[Peter grunts]
[Peter shouts]
[Zoe] Image 16.
- [Peter groans]
- [whooshing]
[tense music]
[blade clinks]
[Peter grunting]
[Zoe] Image 18.
[thunder rumbling]
[Peter grunts and shouts]
[Peter grunting]
Image 19.
[thunder crashing]
[Peter groaning]
[Amara shrieking]
[droning sound]
[Leonard shouts]
[Leonard laughs]
- [Amara] Peter!
- Uhh!
Stay focused, Amara. Is there
somewhere you can go to?
Run, Amara! Run!
Hurry! Amara, run!
[dramatic music]
[Peter groaning]
[Amara shrieks]
[both grunting]
[Amara screaming]
[creature hisses]
[dramatic music]
[Amara panting]
[indistinct whispering]
[pounding on door]
[Tina] They don't
like the light.
They don't like the light.
Okay, I... I'm... I'm safe,
but I don't know
for how long, though.
Then quickly clear your mind.
Image 20.
[dramatic music]
Something's wrong.
Nothing's happening!
[dramatic music continues]
- [Zoe] Image 21.
- 21.
- 21.
- 21.
[dramatic music continues]
- Image 22.
- 22.
- 22.
- 22.
[dramatic music continues]
- Image 23.
- 23.
- Three.
- Three.
Uhh! Ohh.
[Peter grunting]
[Peter groaning]
[whispered voices]
[dramatic music]
[breathing deeply]
It's so
[Zoe] It's time, Amara.
Think of the image
on Keith's skin.
Let that anchor take us home.
[wind howling]
[creature whispers]
[creature groans]
[scream echoes]
[distant thunder rumbles]
[thunder continues]
[gentle music]
[dramatic music]
Damn you!
[Leonard screaming]
[creature growls]
[Leonard groaning]
[Amara and Joseph]
The visualization was a success.
[Zoe] I only did
as you directed me to.
[Amara and Joseph]
Well done, Zoe.
Well done.
[Amara and Joseph]
Now... shall we begin?
[dramatic music]