Highway of Tears

Philip Elliott philip.elliott@intothevoidmagazine.com 1593536610363

HORROR FOLKTALE SUSPENSE/THRILLER DRAMA DETECTIVE GOTHIC

Contemporary

Philip Elliott

Logline

Indigenous Ramona is desperate to leave B.C., Canada, where women are turning up murdered on the "Highway of Tears," while Sgt. Bill Stevens seeks answers: serial killer, or something much worse?

Genre

Horror,Folktale,Suspense/Thriller,Drama,Detective,Gothic

Short Summary

16-year-old girl sprints through dark, snowy forest. Her top is torn, face bloody. From the highway behind a man pursues, flashlight in hand. The girl runs deeper into the forest. She may have got away, but—rustling among the trees. Again. She runs. The rustling pursues. Her scream over black.


Ramona hitchhikes on the highway, finally leaving for California. Unknown to her, the driver who pulls up is the serial killer prowling this region. She enters his car: "You're a lifesaver." The car drives into the distance as old man Tim continues the search for his daughter's body by the highway.

Setting

Smithers (British Columbia, Canada)

Based on a True Story

Yes

Plot - Premise

Overcoming Monster/Villain,Internal Journey/Rebirth

Plot - Other Elements

Meaningful Message,Coming of Age,Twist

Mature Audience Themes

Extreme Violence, Language/Profanity

Main Character Details

Name: Ramona

Age: 24

Gender: Female

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Badass,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Empathetic,Desperate,Blunt,Skillful,Lone Wolf,Strong Moral Code

Additional Character Details

Name: Bill

Age: 44

Gender: Male

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Complex,Decisive,Desperate,Heroic,Leader,Masculine,Underdog,Blunt,Strong Moral Code,Lone Wolf,Aggressive,Insecure

Additional Character Details

Name: Kaya

Age: 15

Gender: Female

Role: protagonist

Key Traits: Empathetic,Gracious,Educated,Honorable,Insecure,Naive,Underdog,Modest,Obedient,Selfless,Strong Moral Code,Aspiring,Faithful,Secretive

Additional Character Details

Name: Krystal

Age: 15

Gender: Female

Role: sidekick

Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Aggressive,Clumsy,Confident,Engaging,Naive,Masculine,Uneducated,Outspoken,Funny,Sarcastic,Unapologetic,Manipulative

Development Pitch

Praise for "Highway of Tears" on The Black List where it is a "Top Horror Script": “a superior horror movie that could excite indie producers. Elevated, low-budget horror in the vein of IT FOLLOWS, THE WITCH, and MIDSOMMAR, something producers are currently seeking...texture of a character-driven drama, which could appeal to actors...strong female roles, many of them for Indigenous actresses, and Bill could attract a marquee actor. The script delivers on an emotional level, getting the viewer to care about the characters, but it crucially delivers on the horror, as well, with one scene that rivals a notorious moment in BONE TOMAHAWK. The project has weight in that it tackles issues like racism and violence against women. This is commercial but could also garner strong reviews.” “There is a large audience for a drama like this with horror, thriller and mystery elements to broaden the script's appeal...There are ripe character roles for high value talent and this has potential on VOD or streaming platforms with the opportunity for a theatrical release with star attachments.” "a wonderfully unique and compelling supernatural thriller script...touches on some powerful themes surrounding racism of indigenous people. The Highway of Tears is an immediately interesting backdrop for this story...The script does an effective job of balancing several different subplots, and maintaining the overall suspense." “ends with a nasty little twist that's Hitchcockian in its gleeful sadism.”

About The Author

Philip Elliott is an award-winning author, freelance editor, and editor-in-chief of literary journal Into the Void. His debut novel, comedic L.A. noir NOBODY MOVE won the Indie Author Project Award for the region of Ontario. He was a National Juror of the 2019 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and a winner of the 2018 Big Pond Rumours Chapbook Prize.

Target Audiences

Age: 13-17,35-54,55+,18-34

Target Gender: Universal

Group Specific

First Nations/Native American communities; Canada

Publishing Details

Hard Copy Available

No

WGA Number

2047643

Logline

Indigenous Ramona is desperate to leave B.C., Canada, where women are turning up murdered on the "Highway of Tears," while Sgt. Bill Stevens seeks answers: serial killer, or something much worse?

Short Summary

16-year-old girl sprints through dark, snowy forest. Her top is torn, face bloody. From the highway behind a man pursues, flashlight in hand. The girl runs deeper into the forest. She may have got away, but—rustling among the trees. Again. She runs. The rustling pursues. Her scream over black.


Ramona hitchhikes on the highway, finally leaving for California. Unknown to her, the driver who pulls up is the serial killer prowling this region. She enters his car: "You're a lifesaver." The car drives into the distance as old man Tim continues the search for his daughter's body by the highway.

FEEDBACK

Praise for "Highway of Tears" on The Black List where it is a "Top Horror Script": “a superior horror movie that could excite indie producers. Elevated, low-budget horror in the vein of IT FOLLOWS, THE WITCH, and MIDSOMMAR, something producers are currently seeking...texture of a character-driven drama, which could appeal to actors...strong female roles, many of them for Indigenous actresses, and Bill could attract a marquee actor. The script delivers on an emotional level, getting the viewer to care about the characters, but it crucially delivers on the horror, as well, with one scene that rivals a notorious moment in BONE TOMAHAWK. The project has weight in that it tackles issues like racism and violence against women. This is commercial but could also garner strong reviews.” “There is a large audience for a drama like this with horror, thriller and mystery elements to broaden the script's appeal...There are ripe character roles for high value talent and this has potential on VOD or streaming platforms with the opportunity for a theatrical release with star attachments.” "a wonderfully unique and compelling supernatural thriller script...touches on some powerful themes surrounding racism of indigenous people. The Highway of Tears is an immediately interesting backdrop for this story...The script does an effective job of balancing several different subplots, and maintaining the overall suspense." “ends with a nasty little twist that's Hitchcockian in its gleeful sadism.”

About The Author

Philip Elliott is an award-winning author, freelance editor, and editor-in-chief of literary journal Into the Void. His debut novel, comedic L.A. noir NOBODY MOVE won the Indie Author Project Award for the region of Ontario. He was a National Juror of the 2019 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and a winner of the 2018 Big Pond Rumours Chapbook Prize.

Mature Audience Themes

Extreme Violence, Language/Profanity

Characters

Main Character

Name: Ramona

Age: 24

Gender: Female

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Adventurous,Aspiring,Badass,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Empathetic,Desperate,Blunt,Skillful,Lone Wolf,Strong Moral Code

Character 1

Name: Bill

Age: 44

Gender: Male

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Complex,Decisive,Desperate,Heroic,Leader,Masculine,Underdog,Blunt,Strong Moral Code,Lone Wolf,Aggressive,Insecure

Character 2

Name: Kaya

Age: 15

Gender: Female

Role: protagonist

Key Traits: Empathetic,Gracious,Educated,Honorable,Insecure,Naive,Underdog,Modest,Obedient,Selfless,Strong Moral Code,Aspiring,Faithful,Secretive

Character 3

Name: Krystal

Age: 15

Gender: Female

Role: sidekick

Key Traits: Adventurous,Badass,Aggressive,Clumsy,Confident,Engaging,Naive,Masculine,Uneducated,Outspoken,Funny,Sarcastic,Unapologetic,Manipulative