Watermark
Plot Summary After moving in with her boyfriend, a woman is suddenly terrorized by her past and must confront her ghosts to move forward with her life.
Meg, an artist in her late twenties, moves in with Michael, her boyfriend of five years. Unbeknownst to her, this sudden loss of her own space makes her feel vulnerable, and she has a brief, but violent, flashback to a traumatic moment ten years earlier. Not understanding what triggered the flashback, she avoids telling Michael and brushes it off. But the anxiety persists, and she is restless at night.

The next day, Meg’s mind remains preoccupied with the unforeseen flashback, so she attempts her coping mechanism where she imagines a dark, void-like space with a door. Through the door, she recreates her college dorm room--a controlled environment where she can objectively watch the scenes leading up to her sexual assault without being re-traumatized. However, when she attempts this today, the flashbacks assault her again, forcing her to withdraw.

Michael sees that Meg is withdrawn and anxious, but when he questions her she insists that she is fine. Unable to get far with Meg, Michael resigns to going to bed.

Unable to sleep, Meg tries the coping mechanism again, getting farther into the events of that fateful day. She explores a deconstructed version of her dorm room before being pulled out by the strength of emotion in the memory. Meg returns to her mind, continuing further into the events of that night, but also becoming more involved in the event. Her objectivity is slipping, and Meg is now in the pink top and skirt she was wearing on the night of her assault, watching a younger (Meg wearing the same outfit), arrive in the deconstructed setting. She watches her younger self run through the actions of the preceding moments. Meg becomes more entrenched in the events as Parker, her ex-boyfriend who still has a key to her room, appears unannounced, and manipulates her onto the bed, trying to woo her. She rejects his advances and tries to get away, but he grabs her and throws her onto the bed.

Meg is wrenched out of the scene. Having gone too far and gotten too drawn into the events of that day, but still having managed to pull herself out, Meg is exhausted and finally falls asleep. She is only briefly asleep when a hand clamps down on her mouth, startling Meg awake and preventing her from screaming. Parker leans in close, smells her hair, and whispers that he’s missed her. Meg musters just enough strength to turn her head and sees that Michael is gone.

Meg’s screaming pierces the air as Michael jumps up, trying to wake her. Once awake, realizing Parker isn’t really there, she crumbles into Michael’s arms. They share a sleepless night fraught with anxiety. In the morning, Michael tries again to help, but gets no response. Needing to be in control of her life, Meg passionately kisses him. He’s hesitant but she’s desperate to feel normal, and he gives in, returning her passion. As the intensity builds, Michael whispers that Meg’s hair smells nice and suddenly Parker is there, over his shoulder, smiling into her face. Terrified, Meg bolts out of the room. Michael catches her, but she brushes him off and lets loose. She tells him of the fear, the constant appearance of this specter. She confesses the power Parker has over her, his random presence in her life, that she sees Parker when she looks at him. Michael is overwhelmed, but tries to be optimistic, telling her that it won’t be like this forever. She realizes he doesn’t truly understand and that she can’t keep fighting this battle, so she kicks him out. Now, truly hurt, Michael leaves. Meg crumbles, knowing that no outside aid can make her safe. She must face this demon herself or risk losing any hope of a “normal” life. So she steadies herself and persists, breathes...and focuses.

Meg is in her fully formed college dorm room, watching her younger self struggle and be unable to fight off Parker. Knowing that she cannot help or stop this, Meg tries to accept the past as it is and leave the room, but she realizes she’s stuck. For the first time, Parker sees her. He grabs her and suddenly she has replaced the younger Meg on the bed. He’s attacking her but she fights, resists, and screams for him to stop. And this time he does. She isn’t powerless. She is back in control, but knows that she cannot change what has happened and that it will forever be there. Accepting that she cannot save her younger self, she is finally able to leave the room.

Back in the present, she decides that she won’t let her past control the present, and leaves the lock off of the door, rising above the feelings of dread that that produces. She puts her things away, small steps towards building the life she wants. Michael returns, ready to be supportive, but the future is uncertain. The dark void will always be with Meg, and the battles will continue, with or without Michael. But at least for now, Meg is in control and safe.
DirectorRebecca Maddalo
ProducerDaniel Leighton
WriterRebecca Maddalo, Sarah Swingley
Genres Drama Short Student Thriller Women
Running time23 minutes
Year2019
Statusfinished
Production CompanyCandlelight Productions
LocationLos Angeles, United States
Known Crew crew
Tatiana Sitnikova Art Director
Robert Nachman Cinematographer
Joe Cilento Composer
Rebecca Maddalo Director, Writer
Hammad Hassan Editor
Patrick Estberg Line Producer
Daniel Leighton Producer
Reka Vivien Szabo Production Designer
Joshua Guesford Set PA
Sarah Swingley Writer
Known Cast cast
Katie Peabody Meg
Kevin David Lin Michael
Constantin Cascante Parker
Known Companies company
Candlelight Productions production company
Social media links
Websitewebsite

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