The Latent Image (2022) Movie Script

[trance music]
[soft eerie music]
[film strip rolling]
[fire crackling]
[film strip rolling continues]
[eerie music continues]
[typewriter clacking]
He had to hold his breath
before he realized
that the pounding in his ears
was his own heartbeat.
There was another sound.
Distant but gaining.
Decisive and calculating.
As he tried to isolate
the direction of the sound,
it dawned on him
that the place
he had chosen to hide...
was the only place
there was to hide.
And so it was the only place
anyone would think to look.
[groans softly]
-[projector stops]
[light suspenseful music]
[birds cawing]
Is someone out there?
[car engine idling]
[car engine stops]
[light eerie music]
[music stops]
[door closes, locks]
[whimpers in fear]
[sighs] Just the wind.
That's all.
[rain pattering]
[thunder rumbling]
[light eerie music]
Is someone there?
Who's there?
[thunder rumbling continues]
[breathing heavily]
[music stops]
[dramatic musical sting]
[blood splattering]
[breathing heavily]
[light suspenseful music]
I need bandages.
Are you gonna help me or what?
Towels, I'll...
[door opens]
[faucet runs]
[faucets stops]
Are you all right?
Okay, not dead.
[typewriter clicks]
[typewriter clicking]
[typewriter clacks]
[typewriter clacking]
[birds cawing]
You don't mind, do you?
-There's no TV.
Keep staring like that.
For a minute there,
I thought I'd imagined you.
Nope, I'm all real.
Guess I'm lucky
I didn't get stuck
with that thing.
Uh, I must have given you
quite a scare.
My ride broke down.
Lost looking for a gas station.
Everything looks the same
out there in the dark.
Your hands.
Yeah, I, um...
I fell.
Like I said, the dark.
I'm, uh, glad you could
take care of yourself.
I'm not that good with blood.
You're a writer?
Trying to be.
And you write on that thing?
I like the sounds.
Helps me focus on the work.
You famous?
Not yet. One or two fans though.
What are you writing?
A novel.
You could call it
a mystery-thriller type thing.
Good place for it.
No distractions.
Till last night, I've been
staring at a blank page.
What happened last night?
I was inspired.
I'm honored.
I, um... I could call
someone for you.
No one to call.
Then I'll drive you into town.
Uh... by the way, um,
last night,
how did you get in?
[The Man]
It was right here.
I, I didn't know that was there.
I thought this was your place.
I'm just renting while I write.
You knew that?
Suspected as much.
I've been here before
a long time ago. Hunting.
I'm gonna grab
some stuff from my car.
Then you'll be back?
For my clothes, yeah.
I'm gonna drive you into town.
[film strip rolling]
[suspenseful music]
[film strip rolling stops]
[film strip rolling]
[suspenseful music increases]
[film strip rolling stops]
[film strip rolling]
-[rolling stops]
-[birds cawing]
[film strip rolling]
[light suspenseful music]
[leaves rustling]
[The Man]
You were following me.
Yes, I was.
I just... I was getting ideas.
For my novel. I mean,
a lot of really crazy ideas.
I'd like to try
and fix the car myself
if you're cool with me
sticking around a while longer.
Sure, no problem.
Hey, do you have any tools
back at the cabin?
We could look.
Later. I've got some things
I can do here first.
[film strip rolling]
I hate having my picture taken.
Let me see.
-I can't.
-Let me see.
I can't. It's a film camera.
No screen.
Don't you use anything modern?
This will last forever.
[light music]
[automated voice]
You have three new messages.
First new message
received yesterday
at 4:30 p.m.
Ben, it's Jamie.
Where are you?
Look, I'm trying to stay
as calm as possible,
but I can't believe you'd just
disappear like this.
We need to talk. I only...
I only want to try
and understand.
I don't want to fight.
I just want to know that
you're okay.
-I'm gonna keep trying you,
but if you get this before I--
-[cellphone beeps]
Who are you?
Who's the guy?
Jamie. When did you get here?
Did you get my message?
I just heard it.
I swear.
So, who is the guy?
I, I don't know really.
[soft music]
-He's just a stranger.
He needed help.
Since when are you
so friendly to strangers?
You were a stranger once.
-I was friendly to you.
-[scoffs] Bad comparison.
I'm glad you came.
I missed you.
-I was gonna call.
-I'm glad you didn't.
We would have had another fight.
-I don't want to fight anymore.
-[zipper rasps]
It doesn't sound like you.
I thought... a lot
about what you said.
And I think you're right.
It's your decision.
Whatever I may feel
about it, personally.
-[moans softly]
-[Ben] I think...'re just telling me
what I want to hear.
Of course, I am.
Now that I found myself
with some competition.
You don't have any competition.
You know, I just gotta work
on getting you
out of the closet.
-Think I'll be able to?
-[Ben chuckles]
I think you can.
[moaning softly]
[The Man]
Who are you talking to?
[breathes heavily]
No one.
[light dark music]
I, uh...
The book, right?
That's right.
I found some tools.
I'm gonna head back out
to the car.
Good luck.
[light suspenseful music]
[typewriter clacking]
[typewriter clacking continues]
[suspenseful music]
[music fades]
[thunder rumbling]
Come on, Jamie, please answer.
[lighter clicks]
Where have you been?
Trying to fix the car.
-Any luck?
-It's dead.
I think I'd like to drive
you back to town tonight.
In this weather? Brave man.
It'll take you two hours
to drive there, and another
two to drive back.
How's the story, uh,
coming along?
All right.
I was struggling
to get a grip of my antagonist.
That's the, the bad guy, right?
He got a name?
-Not yet.
-That's good.
I like a mystery.
What have you got in the trunk?
My clothes.
My hunting rifle.
My own shit.
What difference
does it make to you?
What, do you think
I got a body in there?
I might have been
thinking that, yeah.
[thunder rumbles]
Look, I can go sleep in my car
if you want.
In this weather? Brave man.
I'm used to it.
You might as well know that...
...I've been out of work
and... I lost my place.
I've been living out of my car.
That's why
I was heading up here. I...
I thought I might be
able to crash if,
if it was empty.
I'm sorry, I didn't realize.
It's not your problem.
Times are tough, right?
I'm gonna take a shower.
[water pattering]
[soft suspenseful music]
[knob screeches]
What are you doing?
[eerie music]
[Ben grunts]
[both grunting]
What are you doing?
Clothes are dry.
You found this whole thing
like something outta your story.
What do you think?
Where's your cross?
I found it on the floor
the other night.
Didn't you see it?
Don't you wear it?
I, uh, put it in a pocket
for safekeeping.
[chuckles] My, uh, my partner
wears a cross like that.
[stutters and sighs]
We're-- Well,
I guess we're engaged.
You don't sound too sure.
It's one of the reasons
why I chose to come here.
To be alone.
We've been...
fighting a lot lately.
[metallic thud]
[The Man]
[sighs] I know what that's like.
Women, right?
You know, I was thinking
you should let me help you.
Uh, with what?
-Your story.
-[zipper rasps]
I find you a little scary.
You do?
The mysterious drifter
that comes in from the night.
I've written you
half a dozen times.
How do you come up
with your ideas?
Well... it depends.
I usually start by thinking
about what frightens me
and then... go from there.
What's your worst fear?
Being buried alive
or trapped somewhere.
I'm... claustrophobic.
What's yours?
I'll let you know
when I find out.
So you're not afraid of me then?
[chuckles] Why would I be
afraid of you?
Well... I'm just as much
as stranger to you
as you are to me.
How can you be sure
of my intentions?
I could be anyone.
I could've bodies
buried all around this place.
Yeah, but you don't.
But it's possible.
How can you be sure?
Yeah, you're right. I'm just
pure as the driven snow, but... would make
for a great twist.
You really make money
writing this stuff?
You didn't like it?
No, it's not that.
It's just your main guy.
He makes a lot of mistakes.
Well, that's kind of the point.
He, he doesn't know
what The Man is planning.
Not him. The main guy.
-The antagonist, the, The Man,
the one without a name.
Why, why doesn't he have a name
by the way?
He never gave it.
Besides, he's the villain,
not the hero.
Seems like
you're more interested in him.
Well, you have to think
like the killer
when you are writing
one of these stories.
How so?
Well, take my story
as an example.
I based it on a real case.
That's why I chose to come
to this cabin.
Was someone murdered here?
They never found out.
See those clippings?
Months of investigation
and they never found the body.
Not a surprise
you've been so jumpy.
I know, right?
So what do you think happened?
[sighs, smacks lips]
You could fill ten books
with the amount
of disappearances
and accidents that have happened
in these woods over the years.
The, the guy
that went missing here
is just one of the latest.
Maybe they're all connected.
Who knows?
But it works great for my story.
[inhales sharply]
Well... know I've read
quite a lot of what you have.
-Yeah, where are you up to?
-The guy just got his throat
cut in his car.
Okay, so, that last part
might have been
my own invention.
You can tell
it's not very smart.
My worst critic.
Why would he wait to kill him
until he got into a car?
And, and,
and why would he use a knife
and get his blood all over him?
It's suspenseful.
He's playing with him.
It's stupid is what it is.
It wouldn't be easy.
Cleaning up the car
to drive it back,
getting the body out
without making more mess,
then getting rid of it.
Show me...
How would you do it?
Well, actually,
I was thinking about
the other night when I got in...
[suspenseful music]
...I could have done
anything to you.
I came out of the woods
at the front of the cabin
and it was all dark.
I didn't think anyone was here,
but then I saw your car.
I walked up the steps
to look for the key.
And that's when I saw you.
You were fast asleep.
But you'd have woken me up
breaking in.
But I knew where the key was.
Your villain, he'd have known
if he was watching the house.
Maybe. So you get in. Then what?
I walk towards you...
And then... knives, no blood,
I think...
...I'd strangle you...
...just enough
so you lose consciousness.
Why wouldn't you just kill me?
If I squeeze
a little too hard, I might.
But I want to tie you up,
wait until you come around.
Try and find out
if you had anything
worth stealing,
if anyone else
was about to turn up.
Then, maybe we could have
a little fun.
Maybe it'd be time
for your knife to come out.
That's too easy.
I wouldn't just sit here
while you strangled me, I...
I'd grab this,
make for the door.
-Maybe get you
in the hand before.
-Try it.
-Head for the door.
I've got a knife.
You better get back.
Come at me with it.
-Go on, raise your hand.
Ah. Don't hurt yourself.
-Did I hurt you?
No, I'm, I'm fine.
You see? Disarmed.
Yeah, well,
I, I'd fight my way through.
I'd stop you.
Okay, come at me.
Are you sure you want this?
Yeah. Come on.
Not so easy, huh?
-I'll get through.
-Will you?
Okay, okay. You've got me.
Now what?
What are you doing?
[The Man]
Take your phone.
And then I keep squeezing.
Knock you out.
Keep going.
-Um, yeah, this is good.
I, I'm gonna use this.
What next?
Grab me that chair.
Sit down.
Put your hands behind your back.
[suspenseful music continues]
Aren't you gonna gag me?
-Then what's to stop me
from screaming out for help?
Besides, there's no one here
to hear you anyway.
Good points.
Sir, you want money?
-Car keys?
That's right.
Then why don't you just kill me
and go look for them yourself?
You're the suspense guy.
You're right.
There's no fun in that.
So what do you do?
Go for the weak points.
They taught us how to make
a guy talk in the Marines.
I'll give you
a few little nicks...
...on the neck...
...the cheek.
I won't talk.
Then we could move on
to the fingers...
...the eyes...
-...the balls.
Gulp. You better kill me quick.
I can't take any more.
Okay, well,
you should be bleeding
too much by now.
Keep the mess down to a minimum.
Okay. So I'm dead.
What's next?
I move your body.
You being tied up helps
because I can drag you
by the rope.
Where do you move me to?
Mm. There's a deep
lake out there.
I'd weigh you down
and throw you in.
No good. Crime story 101,
I'd float eventually.
So what would you do?
I'd use the woods.
If the character had
enough time to prepare,
he could've dug a pit for me.
-Not bad.
-Of course,
then there's disturbed earth.
-Uh, a watch that would go off
by a metal detec--
-No possessions.
I'd take your valuables
and your watch.
And... I'd take off
all your clothes.
Oh, really? [chuckles]
I'm not a faggot.
[suspenseful music increases]
I'd burn them.
Then it's just your body
in the ground.
Untie me.
Are we finished?
It's late.
I think I want to go to bed.
-You gonna sleep there?
-If that's all right.
-[scoffs] Sure.
There's a bedroom
through there if you want.
Maybe I'll do some reading.
[door opens]
[breathes sharply]
[breathes sharply]
[breathes sharply]
[soft music]
Wake up.
Ben, you have to wake up.
Come on, Ben,
you have to wake up.
[suspenseful music]
[footsteps receding]
[suspenseful music increasing]
-[insects chirping]
-[breathing heavily]
[car alarm chirps]
[eerie music]
[wolf howling]
[car trunk closes]
[projector running]
[objects clattering]
[engine whirring]
[taps on glass]
-Car trouble?
-Just warming it up
for your ride into town.
[engine whirring]
Looks like
you're not meant to leave.
I thought
we were going tomorrow.
I've decided I'd like
to drive you back tonight.
-Any reason?
Come inside, it's freezing.
Maybe I can help you
finish your story.
[engine whirring]
Here, princess.
-Fuck you!
-Don't you speak to me that way.
-Well, I didn't mean--
Your faggot comment from before.
I'm gay.
My partner is a man.
And you're fucking rude.
[The Man] Careful now.
And he's on his way now.
So, I think
it's time for you to go.
[Ben] Now.
Leave now!
[soft music]
[projector running]
Ben, I hope you're okay.
Look, don't get mad, but I...
I can't leave it like this.
I've rented a car
and I'm gonna be
making my way up to you.
We need to talk.
And maybe I can help you
finish your story or...
I'll see you soon.
[cellphone beeps]
[The Man] You should've
listened to your messages.
I read it through to the end.
I couldn't help myself.
It's thrilling stuff.
It's not finished yet.
It will be soon.
Does your villain
have a name yet?
You never gave me your name.
Pick any of the names
you found in my trunk.
I told you,
you have to start thinking
how your killer thinks.
Say, for instance,
he wanted to make sure
you couldn't leave.
What would he do?
[breathes sharply]
You take the starter fuse.
I've got a story for you.
I think
you'll find it interesting.
It's about a hitchhiker
trying to revisit an old haunt,
somewhere where he has
good memories.
You see,
it's sort of his anniversary
of when he was almost caught,
but he still got away with it.
He always gets away with it.
He's had a lot of practice.
He's on the road,
alone in the night.
His favorite time.
Two headlights
appear in the distance.
There's a killing moon,
so he knows
he should try his luck.
Hey, you're lucky I saw you.
Are you okay?
I am now.
-D-- Did you break down?
-Um, a while back.
I can give you a lift
if you want.
If you can help me find my way.
I'm a little lost.
I don't, um,
normally ride with strangers.
I'm harmless, I promise.
He was easy prey.
Small and delicate.
How far are you going?
I'm not sure.
Right through to the end.
You could overpower him
and then you could take his car.
But then,
something interesting happened.
He told me he was going
to see his boyfriend.
A writer.
I found out
I was going to be famous.
I was... inspiration.
He tried so hard to get away.
[suspenseful music]
You might have been
able to help.
You were just a minute too late.
Where is he?
Out there, in the woods.
I'll give you a head start.
Jamie, where are you?
[in the distance] Jamie?
Jamie, where are you?
Answer me, please.
[cellphone beeps]
[cellphone ringing]
Jamie, answer me.
Jamie, where are you?
[cellphone ringing continues]
Jamie, where are you?
Jamie, answer me, please!
[somber music]
Uh... Jamie.
[Jamie gasps]
Oh. You're alive. You're alive.
You're alive. You're alive.
Ben... [stutters]
-Oh, I love you so much.
-[mutters] ...thought
I would see you again.
I know. I know.
[muttering and whimpering]
I know. Oh, God,
you're freezing.
-We have to kill him.
-We will. Shh. Shh-shh.
We have to be quiet.
He's out there.
I wanted to see you,
but I wanted, I wanted to...
I was wrong.
I was so wrong. [sobbing]
And I'm so sorry.
But, but I promise, I promise.
I don't care what anyone thinks.
I'm going to tell everyone
about us
and we're going to be fine.
And I love you,
and I just don't care anymore.
Are just saying it
because I'm half-buried?
[both chuckles]
I love you--
I love you too.
-Please get me out of here.
[dramatic music]
[footsteps approaching]
[The Man]
You found each other.
Fuck you!
Stand up!
I'll kill you.
Get up. I mean it.
Turn around.
You see that shovel?
Pick it up.
What for?
Pick it up.
Now what?
You're going to fill him in.
Dig now.
[Ben grunts softly]
That's right.
Jamie must have put
a pretty good fight.
The mess you were when you
stumbled in the other night.
Dig more.
You were shaking
and bleeding.
He didn't go down easy, did he?
I'm not gonna do it.
You're just gonna
have to shoot me.
I mean it.
So go on then. Shoot me!
I've had enough of this.
Do it.
Go on.
Do it!
-[gun clicks]
[laughing hysterically]
I wasted my last round
on your friend down there.
It didn't kill him
straightaway, but... did the job.
-[Ben grunts]
-[The Man groans]
[suspenseful music]
-[window shattering]
-[both straining]
[Ben groans]
[The Man laughing]
Get up.
I want to see your eyes
when I kill you.
Stay back.
Big blade for a little man.
Come on.
You're too slow.
Much too slow.
[The Man]
[both straining]
[The Man grunts]
[The Man]
[Ben groans]
-[The Man grunting]
-[Ben groaning]
[bottle shatters]
[bottle shatters]
-[straining continues]
-[Ben straining]
-[The Man screaming]
-[music fades]
-[typewriter clacking]
Ew. That's brutal.
You read it. He deserves it.
It's a little
out of character, isn't it?
Don't you think
he's been pushed pretty far?
I guess.
What is it?
-I just...
You turned me against him.
It's so... dark.
You should just
go to the police.
I don't think he'd be able to
live with something like that.
I think you might be right.
I always am.
[Ben groaning]
[breathing heavily]
[light somber music]
[suspenseful music]
[earth crunches]
[earth crunches]
[soft dramatic music]
[water pattering]
[soft suspenseful music]
[electricity crackling]
[The Man gagging]
[exhales sharply]
[dramatic musical sting]
[soft somber music]
It amazed him how easy it was
as he squeezed
his hands together,
he felt a rush of adrenaline
that cleared
his mind completely.
He was already making
a to-do list
as he felt him go limp.
Tidy up,
remove personal objects,
leave everything in order.
He'd really lucked out.
Money, a car,
and a perfect escape route.
[fire crackling]
[light somber music]
[door sliding]
[door closes]
But there was still
just one thing
that he had forgotten.
Got you.
-[door closes]
-[lock clicks]
[somber music]
[suspenseful music]
[soft somber music]
[typewriter clacking]