Documentary Treatment: Monster Within

Monster Within

Concept Word: Joy

Log Line: After years of struggling with depression a straight edge, college student, takes a sharp turn in life and starts to experiment with other methods in a pursuit of happiness. This hunt for short bursts of joy lead our protagonist deeper into the abyss of her own mind.

Framework: Drama


We meet our “faceless” protagonist during a late evening googling session. As we dolly-zoom in over their shoulder towards the computer screen in front of them the search term is revealed: Am I depressed? As the screen lights up with different articles and tests, all giving the same conclusion, the imagery speeds up, till we cut to black and jump cut to another scene the day after. Showing the protagonist sleeping in bed, the alarm clock goes off. We are taken on a walk to Goddard. Another day the protagonist leaves Goddard with a bag from the pharmacy. The next morning the pill box is sitting on the table. Now a series of different shots of everyday life show up, waking up, popping the pills, eating and studying, the pace going up by each scene; portion sizes becoming smaller, room messier, alarm clock showing a later time. This is occasionally broken up by scenes of the protagonist trying methods to “heal”: running, meditating, going outside and sit by the duck pond.

This is when it becomes clear that our protagonist is not “healing” as quickly or as well as they would have hoped. One day they wake up at 4pm in the day, put on a pair of messy sweatpants, a shirt with holes in and shoes that are falling apart. This is the day they buy their first pack of cigarettes. We see the protagonist smoke a cigarette at the duck pond. This is the first scene in a series of un healthy behavior. We see the protagonist acquire liquor from a person in a black car in exchange for a $20 bill, walk to a park and sip on the bottle there. They walk home, stumbling over their own feet. Finally making it home. We see a shot of them hugging the toilet. This seemingly repeats itself multiple nights, as we see different outfits appear and the same scene play out in different manners. We get the same repetition of waking up, eating, popping pills, in between these scenes.

The protagonist is seen laying in an unmade bed, with empty alcohol bottles and cigarette packs laying around them. We are taken out in the dark again, this time another car pulls up, our protagonist enters. We see another scene, a close up of a cigarette/joint being rolled up. The camera moves up as the protagonist licks the paper to close the cigarette/joint. This scene repeats itself, differentiations made with clothes and background objects. We are taken into scene of smoke going up in the air in the dark. We are in the protagonist’s room again. On the night stand we see a knife covered in blood, along with used bandages, next to the alarm clock and an exposed arm, covered in cuts and blood dripping down. We fade to black.