Leave the World Behind (2023) | Transcript

A family's getaway to a luxurious rental home takes an ominous turn when a cyberattack knocks out their devices, and two strangers appear at their door
Leave the World Behind (2023)

Leave the World Behind (2023)
Genre: Apocalyptic psychological thriller
Director: Sam Esmail
Starring: Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Kevin Bacon, Mahershala Ali, Myha’la
Release Date: November 22, 2023 (USA). Streaming released by Netflix on December 8, 2023.
Runtime: 2 hours 21 minutes

Plot: Amanda and Clay’s aspirational vacation with their teenage children is interrupted by the arrival of a middle-aged couple who own the holiday home and who have fled an unprecedented blackout in the city. When the internet, television, and radio stop working, as does the landline, they have no way of finding out what is happening. As strange sonic booms shatter the peace of the countryside, and animals start to migrate in strange ways, the physical and mental health of the families begins to disintegrate. The renters are upscale and White; the owners are upscale and Black. The issues of race clash and become distractions to the more alarming things that are happening all around them.

Based on: The best-selling 2020 novel of the same name by Rumaan Alam.


* * *

[eerie music plays]

[birds squawking in distance]

[distant siren]

[man groans softly]


What’re you doing?

Well, I couldn’t sleep.

And it has been such a hellish year for us as you know, and I just seem to be working every day without even realizing it.

And you are just constantly anxious about your job

because of all the budget cuts. So, I went online this morning

and I rented us a beautiful house out by the beach.

And it was such a steal even though it’s barely the off-season.

[bag zipping shut]

Wait, are… are you packing?

Yeah. I thought I’d get a jump on it.

Wait. I don’t understand.

When did you rent a house for?


I figured if I made the reservation and packed our bags, it would eliminate most of the reasons to say no.

Oh, and I printed out the little thingy there for you from the website.

It’s right by your coffee, made it just the way you like it.

I didn’t want to wake the kids so I haven’t packed for them yet.

But honestly, I think they’re going to be super psyched about this.

Well, you know me, I’m always down for a little vacay.

Especially with the kids. We haven’t done that in a while.

But help me out here, babe. I mean… [chuckles]…why today?

[sharp exhale]

Well, when I couldn’t fall back asleep this morning, I came over here.

To watch the sunrise.

And I saw all these people starting their day with such tenacity. Such verve.

All in an effort to…

…make something of themselves.

Make something of our world.

I felt so lucky to be a part of that.

But then, I remembered… what the world is actually like.

And I came to a more accurate realization.

I fucking hate people.

[“THE REV3NGE” by Joey Bada$$ playing]

♪ Bitch, I’m really really out for blood this time, look (no, really) ♪

♪ Woo! (man, what?) ♪

♪ I just came back for the win ♪

♪ Lotta new money in my hand ♪

♪ Go and tell a friend to tell a friend ♪

♪ They say success is the best revenge ♪

♪ Heard they was sleeping again Say it no more ♪

♪ This is a rude awakening Kick in the door ♪

♪ Back and I’m badder than ever before ♪

♪ Don’t get it mistaken I’m ready for war ♪

♪ I see the opps And I’m upping the score ♪

♪ I catch a body Then jump in the Porsche ♪

♪ Follow the coroner back to the morgue ♪

♪ Take the sheet off And kill ’em some more ♪

♪ When I am done at the scene I won’t leave anything ♪

♪ You won’t even know who was involved ♪

♪ Don’t let me do it ‘Cause I over do it ♪

♪ And do it ’til I cannot do it no more ♪

♪ All of the doubters I’m proving them wrong ♪

♪ Back with a classic I know it’s been long ♪

♪ Heard they was missing me While I was gone ♪

♪ I smell a victory, back up on top And it’s where here I belong ♪

♪ Like it ain’t shit to me We making history ♪

♪ Fought through the misery Weathered the storm ♪

♪ Can’t let them get to me No weapon formed shall prosper ♪

♪ R&B bitches all over my roster ♪

♪ Bitch, I got options I keep a chopper ♪

♪ Right on the dresser next to the Oscar ♪

♪ Applying pressure, somebody stop us Woo! ♪

♪ Applying pressure, somebody stop us ♪

♪ Run in my casa, gon’ need a doctor ♪

♪ Gon’ need a doctor Gon’ need a (what?) ♪

♪ I just came back for the win ♪

♪ Man, what? ♪

♪ Lotta new money in my hand ♪

♪ Go and tell a friend to tell a friend ♪

♪ They say success is the best revenge ♪

“Leave the world behind.”

That’s what it said on the rental listing, at least.

[woman on phone] How fun. East Hampton, right?

No, no. It’s a cute little town. Actually, I think they call it a “hamlet.”

That’s how cute it is.

It’s a lot closer to the city and still very far away from, well, everyone.

[woman on phone] Ugh, sounds exactly like what you need right now.

After you answer some questions about the Confictura account?

Please? Pretty please?

Well, we’re going to have to speed count it here, Jocelyn.

Because we’re almost there and my bars are dropping by the mile.

[gunfire, groaning in headphones]

[music playing on radio]

Did you fart?

[man] Archie, let her be.

Well, no, Dad, I don’t care that she farted.

I-I care that she lies about it.

We’re throwing Phoebe a bachelorette party.

Yeah. Sorry, boys. This ride’s closing.

[audience laughter]

[laughter staggers then cuts out]

[softly] Ugh. Come on. Ugh.

[Amanda] Yeah okay. Okay sure.

[rock music continues on radio]

Dad, when we get back to the city, can you take me to see the coffee shop in Friends?

[man] Mm… I don’t think that’s real, honey. It’s, uh, just a set.

[“Misled” by Kool & The Gang playing]

♪ Is that the goal? ♪

♪ It’s a thrill then I will ♪

♪ Misled, won’t you be for real? ♪

♪ Baby, baby ♪

♪ What’s your claim to fame? ♪

♪ Got me out of bed Heard you call my name ♪

♪ What’s this crazy place You want to take me to? ♪

♪ Tell me, what’s the price If I go with you? ♪

♪ My heart ♪

♪ My soul ♪

♪ My love ♪

♪ Is that the goal? ♪

♪ It’s a thrill then I will ♪

♪ Hey, misled ♪

Race you to the pool.

♪ Won’t you be for real? ♪

♪ Misled ♪

[kids laughing]

♪ Misled ♪

♪ Misled ♪

Oh, this is nice.

It’s beautiful.

[glass clinks]

[inhales, sighs]


Looks like we have some top-shelf booze right here.

[bottles rattle]

[Amanda] It says here it’s not for us.

Hmm. Worth a try.

The Wi-Fi password is a novella.

The owner must be one of those cybersecurity guys.

The kids look so happy.

[sniffs, chuckles]

I’ll get the stuff from the car.

Uh, when you’re done, I might pop into town for some groceries.

[faint splashing]

[birds tittering]

[“Never Gonna Let You Go” by Blackstreet playing]

♪ Never gonna let you go away ♪

♪ You belong, yeah ♪

♪ You belong to me ♪

♪ Yes, you do, baby ♪

♪ And I’m never gonna let you go ♪

♪ Whoa ♪

♪ Never gonna let you go away ♪

[kids laughing]

♪ We were meant to be ♪

♪ In love ♪

♪ Whoa ♪

♪ Love ♪

♪ Take your time Mark just sing it for ’em ♪

♪ I regret the moment ♪

[song continuing over radio]

♪ When I heard you say ♪

♪ You don’t want no part of me ♪

♪ No more ♪

[car honks]

[door beeps]

[muzak playing over sound system]

[announcer on television] Trying to make it a three-hit day.

And keep this one going.

They’re not mine. I swear. They’re not mine.

Relax. I bought them.

I know you like to sneak a smoke here and there.

I figured we’re on vacation. Why not?

I want you to have a good time. Just don’t let the kids see you.

Okay. Oh, hey, hey.

I got another idea for a good time. Hm?



[Amanda] We’ve got 15 minutes before they’re begging to go to the beach.

That’s all I need.

[eerie music playing]

[seagulls crying]

Sunblock? Sunblock?

Yep, yep, yep.


We practically have the beach to ourselves.

[satisfied exhale]

[young woman] The undertow’s horrible…

[girl] Look at that boat.

It’s so big.

[phone buzzing]

[phone buzzes]

Hey, Mom, Taylor just dropped a pin.

Can you, uh, can you look at that and see how far her house is?

Just look. Y-You said maybe we could drive over there.

Right? So, maybe?


All right, that’s Sag Harbor. That’s at least an hour away, honey.

It’s getting closer.

What is?

The ship.

Oh, yeah. She’s a beaut. Looks like an oil tanker.

Must be a port around here.

I read this piece in The Atlantic that says New York has one of the largest natural harbors on the planet.

[eerie music continues]

You okay, Rose?

I think that ship is heading towards us.

What was that, sweetie?


[beachgoers murmuring]





Wow. It’s getting close, huh?

You think that’s a problem?

Nah, come on. It’s gonna stop. It’s got to.


Wake up. Archie, come on, bud. Help us pack up.

Leaving already? Why?

[boat rumbling]

Holy fuck.

Jesus, Archie, let’s go.

Let’s go! Go, go, go!

[beachgoers screaming]

[hull groaning]

[beachgoers screaming]

[hull groaning, rumbling]

[rumbling stops]

Come on, keep it moving. Keep it moving, guys.

Excuse me, officer. Do you know what happened?

There’s been a handful of these groundings up the coast, something to do with the nav system. Sorry guys, I need you to keep it moving.

Keep it moving, guys.

[man yelling]

There’s a Starbucks.


I wanted to read up on what happened at the beach but the Wi-Fi isn’t working.

You think the router needs a reset?

Well, sorry, I can’t help you there. You are the tech wiz, not I.

You know, the TV’s out too.

I tried to check the game but there’s no signal.

You still gonna be down for burgers tonight?

Yeah, I could be down for that.


Meanwhile, the kids seem to have completely gotten over it like it was something they saw on a show.

They’re on to the next episode.

[whispering] Clay.

Come here, look.

[whispering] Oh, wow.

That’s a good omen. Seeing deer.


At least according to Mesoamerican mythology.

You gonna help? Hmm?

Uh, wha… Yes. Yes, I’m here to help.

[dishes clinking]

[eerie music continues]




[no audio]

[eerie music continues]

[Clay] Don’t, don’t do it that way.

[Amanda] No, no, no, no, no. Well…

Don’t, don’t go in the middle.

No, I’m gonna go in the middle.

Because it’ll make it harder for you. And isn’t that the point of my life?

[gasps, chuckles breathlessly]

[sharp exhale]

You getting some more? Would you top me up?


Sure, but I think I’m donezo. I need a glass of water, or I’m going to have a motherfucker of a hangover tomorrow.

Hey, you remember that student of mine who was published last year? Maria Miller?

Well, she wants me to write the foreword to her second book.

I mean, you know, she says I’m some kind of huge inspiration.

I never know if I’m even getting through to these kids and then something like this happens…



Did you hear that?


Her second book is like an exploration

of how media serves as both an escape and a reflection.

Which is a contradiction that she manages to reconcile.


[whispering] Someone’s here.

Get a bat.

A bat?


Why would I have a bat?

[knocking on door]

[man] I’m sorry. Hello?


I’m sure it’s nothing. Let me take care of it.

Actually, you know what? Get your cell phone.

Just, you know, just in case.

I’m so sorry to bother you.

Hello. Hi.

I’m so sorry to bother you.

In case you didn’t know. [chuckles]

[chuckles] Well, can I help you?

I know it’s late. A knock at the door, way out here.

Couldn’t decide if we should knock at the front door or the side door, and this went on for some time.

I thought we should try the side door because it has glass and you’d have seen us and known we’re just…

You must be Amanda.

A-Amanda Sandford, right?

You, you two know each other?

No, we have not had the pleasure of meeting face-to-face.

I’m-I’m G.H. G.H. Scott.

George. He’s George. That’s how it reads in his email.

Oh. [chuckles] Forgive me. I forgot.

See, this is why I much preferred life before the internet, because we would have spoken on the phone, you would have recognized my voice and known that this is our house.

I’m sorry?

This is our house. I’m the George you emailed back and forth with.

No, I-I remember the name, I just…

This is… this is your house?


I’m sorry. You think we could come inside?

Oh, yeah. Hey, sure. Y-Yeah, come, come on in.

Yeah. Got cold out all of a sudden.

I understand how strange this must be for you.

Us, turning up like this unannounced.

We would have called, you see, but, uh… the phones are out.

Yeah, my phone doesn’t seem to have service.

It’s almost as if we’re telling the truth.

[Clay] Uh…

[chuckles] Hey. I’m Clay.



And I’m G.H., again.


Clay, nice to meet you.


Why don’t we… sit down?

And you know, talk.

The children are sleeping.

I wouldn’t worry too much about them.

I mean, Archie’d sleep through the atom bomb.

You know? [laughs] Let’s go in the kitchen.

[G.H.] Tonight we were at the symphony in the Bronx. Have you been?

[Clay] Uh… No.

[G.H.] Their productions are in a class of their own.

[Ruth] He’s on the board of the Philharmonic.

He likes to encourage everyone he knows to take an interest in classical music.

So in other words, I am one lucky daughter.

[Clay and G.H. chuckle]

Do you mind if I get a glass of water?

Uh, no, no. Uh, help yourself.

[G.H.] Anyway, we were driving back to the city, home.

And then something happened.

A blackout.

A blackout?

[G.H.] Mm.

The lights seem, seem to be working pretty good.


Exactly, right, so, um… we thought…

Well, with everything that’s probably going on in the city right now, we didn’t…

We live on the 14th floor and he can’t climb 14 flights because of his knee.

Plus the traffic lights went out.

We would have been sitting in a six hour parking lot if we’d headed home.

So there was a blackout and you decided to drive all the way out here?

These roads, they’re familiar. I barely even thought about it.

So when we saw the lights go, I looked at Ruth…

And said that he would feel better if we stayed here.

You know, in his house. [slurps]

Wait. Y-You, you want to stay here? But… we’re staying here.

Well, under the circumstances, we, we thought you might understand.

Of course. Yeah. It’s just…


I think what he means is, of course we understand…

I know it’s a surprise, but we thought maybe if you let us stay…

Because, again…

You know, it is like… our house.

[awkward chuckle]

What she’s trying to say is we wanted to be somewhere safe.

Well, you know, we’re, we’re on vacation.

Clay, Amanda, we could absolutely refund you your money.

You want us to leave?

I-It’s the middle of the night. My, my children are sleeping upstairs.

You come in here and talk about refunding our money.

I-I think I need to call the company. I don’t even think you can do this.

Um, there’s got to be a number on their web…

Th-That’s really not necessary.

Why not?

Because we’re not saying you should leave.

We could refund you, say, 50% of what you paid.

You know, there’s an in-law suite. We could stay downstairs.


Fifty percent?

I think we need to look at the terms and conditions here. Uh…

A-All right, we need to find the, the Wi-Fi router.

Okay, I’ll try tethering it to my cell.

It needs to be reset.

All right, well, the phones aren’t working, Clay.

How’s that supposed to make a difference?

I think the internet is down anyway, so…

Okay, look. I’m… [sighs] I’m sorry.

I just, uh, I don’t feel comfortable staying in a house with… people I don’t know.

Uh, it’s a blackout. I-It could be over in a couple of hours.

May I?

I should have listened to my wife and had these labeled already.

[softly] Yeah…


Ah… Here we are.


Yeah… I can give you a thousand dollars now for the night.

That should cover almost half of what you’re paying for the weekend.

It’s a thousand dollars.

We’ll be very grateful.

Then tomorrow, we’ll know a little more and…

…we’ll figure this all out.


Meanwhile this thing is not responding.

So anyway, I say one night, it’s like…

I think we should discuss this privately.

You know, we’re gonna go talk in the other room, all right?


Say, you mind if I made myself a drink?

Oh, sure. Make yourself right at… Um.


[Amanda] Why did, why did you tell them they could stay?

[Clay] I mean, it’s a blackout.

What, you, y-you think they’re lying?

I mean, it’s a young woman and her father, they look innocent enough.

They’re strangers.

They introduced themselves.

They knocked on the door in the middle of the night.

Would you rather them burst in?

They scared the shit out of me.

Well, I think, you know, that they were scared too.

Right? I mean, they didn’t know what else to do.

Well, here’s an idea: go to a hotel.

This is their home as, you know, the girl kept reminding us.

Well, we didn’t ask for any proof. I didn’t hear their car. Did you?

No, but it’s windy. Maybe we just didn’t hear it.

Or maybe they snuck up the road.

Or, maybe we should calm down a little?

I’m sorry. I just…

This really doesn’t seem like their house.

The board of the Philharmonic?

I don’t know. It just all feels like a con to me.

They want to stay here? With us?

Forget it. I wouldn’t be able to sleep with strangers in the house.

Rose is right down the hall. What if he sneaks in…

I don’t want to think about it.

You don’t think he’d want to molest Archie, though.

What are you talking about?

I’m just saying I don’t like the way any of this sounds. Okay?

He came here because he doesn’t want to climb a flight of fucking stairs?

Give me a break. All feels a little improvised.

God, what if it’s a scam?

[stammering] What if the blackout and whatever that’s just all part of the story?

I don’t think they made that up.

I mean, that’s probably why the phones and the internet aren’t working.

And besides, hey. He had the keys.

He opened up the liquor cabinet. Remember?

So what if he had the keys?

Maybe he’s the handyman. She’s the housekeeper.

The housekeeper always knows where the stash of money is.

And besides, he had his back to us. Maybe he broke into it.

I don’t see what he has to gain by giving us a thousand bucks.

Why are you trying so hard to believe everyone except your own wife?

Something is happening and I don’t trust them.

I think they are scared, nice people who need a place to spend the night.

All right, I’m going to go down there and I’m going to talk to them, and if I get a bad vibe, I-I’m going to say, “No.

We’re not comfortable with this arrangement.”

Okay? But if things are cool, I say we let them stay.

I wish I had your faith in people.

My own signature cocktail. Happy to make you one.

Yeah, you know, I might have a drink.

Haven’t touched this one yet, it’s all yours.

Oh, thank you.

How about you, Amanda?

What’s in it, exactly?

[Clay exclaims in delight]


That is a heck of a cocktail.

You should try this, babe. I think you’d dig it.

I’ll pass.


I think I need some fresh air.


You have a beautiful home.

We love it. Glad to hear you do, too.

[liquid pours]

How long have you been here?

Oh… Bought it almost… twenty years ago now.

But, at this point, it’s… it’s home.

Or a home away from home.

We fixed it up about five years back. We had a great contractor.

A lot of little details were his idea.


Whereabouts is your place in the city?

We are on Park between 81st and 82nd.

What about you?

Uh, Brooklyn. Sunset Park.

Well, it’s actually Park Slope.

Ah, very nice.


That’s where everyone wants to live these days. Affordable, too.

I think even Ruth looked over there when she was thinking about flying the coop.

Where’s your wife? I’m curious if you’re worried about her in the city.

She’s on a work trip in Morocco.

She’s an art dealer so she travels a lot.

Her flight is due back here in the morning, actually.


Could I see your ID?

Oh, Amanda.

It’s a fair ask.

You’re a stranger showing up in the middle of the night and my kids are upstairs.

Of course. I understand.

Mm, well. [chuckles]

You’re not going to believe this but I…

left my wallet in my coat pocket, which I checked at the symphony.

In all the commotion, I must have forgotten it there.

You said you heard about the blackout while you were on your way home.

[emergency alert blares]

[Amanda gasps]

[automated voice] This is a national emergency.

All radio stations and televisions will cease their programs during this alert.

This is a national emergency…

Well. Looks like you did the right thing getting out of the city.

I’m sure it’s a mess.

[automated voice stuttering]

Well, we’re only talking about a blackout here.

A blackout is not nothing.

[channels switching, alert continuing]

It could be something. The symptom of something bigger, like terrorism or a bomb like the one that you said your son would sleep through.


…all radio stations and television networks will cease…

I think that you should stay here tonight.

…this is a national emergency…

Tomorrow, we’ll sort through everything.

Things always look different by the light of day.

I guess self-help clichés are rooted in some truth, huh?


[Ruth] I can’t believe we’re staying in the basement.

What do we get to do tomorrow? Their laundry?

I’ll take the floor. You take the bed.

We need to get them out of here.

We’re not going to do that by scaring them.

They need to think everything’s going to be okay.

Everything is going to be okay, isn’t it?

[eerie music plays]

What’s going on? What are you thinking?

Your client didn’t tell you anything else, did he?

There’s no point in talking about this until we know more.

That’s what I think.

This is a national emergency.

All radio stations and televisions will cease their programs during this alert.

This is a national emergency.

All radio stations and televisions will cease their programs during this alert.

[faint clinking]

She was fucking with us.

That girl. She was poking.

Don’t take it so personal.

I don’t think I can listen to much more of that snark.

Even if this does turn out to be their house.

Are we still on that?

Well, there is not one photo on the wall.

Not a wedding picture of the supposed art dealer wife on the business trip or that spoiled brat as a baby. Think about it.

I’m sure they take them down when they rent the house for privacy concerns.

There’s just something off about them.

[Clay sighs]

Why didn’t you say anything about what we saw at the beach today? That boat.

It was an oil tanker.

Well, why didn’t you? Tell them, I mean.

I don’t know. Just seemed like it was piling on.

Why didn’t you?

I was afraid.

Afraid of what?

That it would confirm something.

[Clay sighs]

[faint clinking]

All radio stations and televisions will cease their programs during this alert.

This is a national emergency.

All radio stations and televisions will cease their programs during this alert.

This is a national…


[glitching audio]


[static continues]


[Rose] Mom.



Rosie. Rose.

Mom, two problems. One: I was literally about to start the Friends series finale, but the internet on my iPad still isn’t working.

I tried to watch it on the TV because I read somewhere that they…

What’s it called when they used to play old things over and over again?


Why do they do that again?

I don’t know, Rosie. We were really bored back then.

Anyway, th-there’s something wrong with the TV. It’s all messed up.

That’s problem number two. Please fix this.

I have incredible anxiety about how they’re going to wrap up the show.

Don’t you think you’re taking this a little too seriously?

This isn’t fair. It’s a vacation.

Dad said on vacation we can have as much screen time as we want.

Well. A: I did not say that.

And B: Daddy is still sleeping.

Just go wait in the living room. I’m coming.


[Clay grunts sleepily]

Get up. Look. Look.

[Clay grunts, sniffs]

It doesn’t say anything.


It was just there.

Mm, you sure? What did it say?

Yes, of course I’m sure.

There were four news alerts. Um…

Uh, two about the blackout and one that said, um… hackers were behind the power outage.



And then there was one that said, uh, “breaking” but then it was just gibberish.

No words, just random letters.

Maybe they hacked the cell network?

Is that-Is that a question?

Are you fucking asking me? How would I know?

Why are you being so nonplussed about all of this?

Did you forget those people are still in our house?

I trusted you to handle this.


I’m gonna drive into town.

I’ll go to the store, buy a newspaper, find someone who knows more than we do.

All right? I will take care of this for us.

Whose car is that?

Looks expensive.

Let’s get some breakfast.

Uh, so listen, honey. About that car.

Last night, these people…

…the Scotts. They had to come by.

There’s been…

…um, they had a problem and they weren’t far from here. So they, they came here.

What are you even talking about?

I’ll take some of that coffee.

Oh. I was just telling Rose about the Scotts.

Dad, the TV isn’t working.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Easy, baby.

Come on.

Dad, can you fix it?




Well, now it’s snow. Last night it was a blue screen.

I wonder what that means.


Yeah, see?

No. It’s just-it’s not working.

I’m aware. Can you like, reboot it or something?

Or go up on the roof or whatever?

No one’s going on the roof.

I am definitely not going up on the roof.

Okay? But I’m going to go to the store later and maybe I can find something that will, you know, help.

You know, get one of those, uh, some rabbit ears or something.

Why would a rabbit’s ear help?

[birds tittering]

[faint rustling]



[shower running]

Good morning.

You mind if I have some coffee?

Help yourself. You know where the mugs are, right?

I had news alerts on my phone this morning.

Your phone is working?


They must have come in overnight somehow, and then they disappeared.

What did they say?

There were two about the blackout and then something about hackers being behind it.



Where are the power plants in New York City?

I mean, they must be in Queens, I guess. Or-Or near the river?

Why are you asking about power plants?

Hackers can get into power plants.

That’s probably how they caused the outage.

You remember that thing that happened in Jersey a few years back?

It nearly caused a meltdown.

Is that your daughter out there?

She’s sweet. How old is she?

Thirteen, last month.


Still kind of a baby at heart.

If it’s okay with you, I would like to keep what’s going on between the adults.

The kids like the pool.

I’m just going to encourage them to do that until we know more.

I don’t want them to panic over nothing.

I don’t want to scare anyone but I disagree with you.

Disagree with me about what?

I don’t think this is nothing.

So, what is it that you do?


I’m in advertising, on the client side. I manage relationships.

Huh. I would not have guessed that.

And what about your husband?

Uh, Clay is a professor at City College.

English and media studies.

You know, I’ve had plenty of friends major in media studies but I never know what it means.

And you, what is it that you do?

Me, I’m… [chuckles]

I’m still figuring my shit out, trying not to rush into anything.

The last thing that I want is to be sucked into a career that I regret ten years from now by which point I will be trapped by the pressure to stay the course because I’ll be too old to re-enter the workforce. You know what I mean.

Morning. Any news?

Phone’s still not working.

Looks like the TV’s out. Where’s Clay?

He went to the store to get a newspaper.

Or try to find someone to talk to, to see if they know what’s going on.

Smart. I thought I’d go over to our neighbors house, the Huxleys.

They only live a few miles down the road.

And you think they’ll be home?


You often see no one here around this time, but I’ll drive over anyway and check.

Before you go, you might want to hear about the alerts.


Oh, I had news alerts on my phone this morning.

Two of them were about the blackout but then there was one that said something about maybe hackers were behind it.


What? Do you think there’s going to be a meltdown, too?


Is that what Ruth told you?

Among other horrifying things, yes.

Well, obviously Ruth is being a little paranoid.

Aren’t you the one who always said, “If you’re not paranoid by now, it’s probably too late”?

I’m sure this’ll turn out to be a big nothing.

Like that Love You bug.

Is that coffee?

I-I’m sorry. What’s a Love You bug?

Um, it was a computer worm.

Spread throughout the internet back in 2000.

People would get an email with the subject line that read “I love you.”

You clicked on the attachment, it would send it to all your contacts.

It crippled businesses and caused billions of dollars in damages.

Turns out, it was just two teenagers in the Philippines.

[spoon clatters]

Could be just as innocent as that.

I think I’ll go rush Archie along.

I’m worried about Mom.

You think her flight is going to be okay?


Matter of fact, I bet she’s… been redirected to some airport in Ohio.

She’s probably cursing out every customer service rep till they put her on a plane home.

[both chuckle]

Do you remember that time the three of us went to Italy?

Yeah, I do.

What made you think of that?

I don’t know what else to think about.

[eerie music playing]

[button beeping]

[static hissing]

[softly] Yeah.

[airplane engine humming]


[sign creaking]



[“Winter” by TV on the Radio playing]

♪ Oh, it’s the winter of the wanted ♪

♪ Yeah, it’s the hardest part of nature ♪

♪ Lord have mercy on this creature ♪

♪ Give me some heat I know you’ve got it ♪

[music continues through speakers]

[Archie sighs]

Who’d Mom say these people were again?

What’re you looking at?

[horse snorts]

[wind whistling]

[radio scanning]

[garbled voice] …we’re now getting reports that the fallout from the ongoing Cyber attack has led to a catastrophic environmental disaster in the South, impacting animal migration patterns…

[radio scanning]

[tires squeal]

[eerie music playing]

Archie, I saw something this morning.


They’re everywhere, dumbass.

They’re like squirrels or pigeons.

Who cares?

No, this was different. Like… they were trying to tell us something.

Let’s see what else is out there.

Are you really that bored?

Is this because you can’t watch your show?

I’m going.

[footfalls squelching]

Hello, anyone home? It’s G.H. I let myself in.

[distant yelling]

[yelling in Spanish]


[birds calling in distance]

What’s in that thing?

Let’s open it and see.


Yeah? Hey, hi.


[speaking Spanish]

Okay, I-I don’t understand what you’re saying. I don’t, I don’t speak, um…

I don’t speak Spanish.


[beeping stops]

This place is so fucking boring.


Maybe it’s just where he sleeps, though.

Where he hides at night.


Whoever made that impression.

[birds squawking in distance]

I-I don’t, I don’t know where I am. I’m trying to get to town.

[speaking Spanish]

No, no, I-I don’t have any service either.

Listen, listen…

Look, he’s, uh…

He’s got this little window over here.

So he can see…

See what?

[continues frantically in Spanish]

No, o-okay. Okay. I-I…

[woman continues pleading]



[continues, muffled]

[woman screaming]

[birds cawing]

[distant airplane engine buzzing]


Isn’t that the room you were sleeping in?

[airplane continues]


[tires squeal]

Just imagine.

It’s all dark out here.

Oh, my God.

Your little bedside lamp is glowing.

Oh, shit.

Oh, shit!

He could just follow that light right up to you.

Oh, shit. [panicked yell]




That’s not funny, Archie. That really hurt.

[laughing] You’ll be fine.

No, I won’t.

Dude, calm the fuck down. It was just a joke.

This morning I saw deer.

Not a deer, a fuck lot of deer. A hundred.

Maybe more. Right in the backyard.

It was really weird, Archie.

Do they go around in big groups like that?

Why the fuck would I know anything about deer?

If you’re so worried about it, why don’t you just ask Mom and Dad?

[scoffs] Like they would even care.

No one cares what I say.

That’s probably true.

[jet engine approaching]

[airplane engine roaring]

[bottle clinks on ground]

You going in?

No. You?

Seems like a hassle.

Why? Because of your hair, or…?

More like I don’t trust that one of your kids didn’t pee in the pool.

They wouldn’t do that.

And yet, we really can’t know, can we?

Your daughter watches that show?

“Watch” is far too weak of a word. More like worships.



Don’t get me wrong, I watched it too.

But it’s almost… nostalgic for a time that never existed, you know?

I hope the kids didn’t wander off too far.

[under breath] Fuck…


Archie, look.

Will you please look?

[Archie] What?

We should go up there.

No. No, fuck that. I’m hungry. Come on, let’s go.

[geese honking in distance]

Rose, let’s go.


You going to tell us why you’re soaking wet?

I fell into the pool.

You fell into the… pool.

I tripped over something.

Yeah, I fell into the pool.

What were you doing near the pool? I thought you were looking for Rich.

Do you mind going to my study and getting me something to wear?

I’m afraid this is the only change of clothes I had downstairs.

I saw it, you know?

A while ago, before all this happened.

I looked at the market.

And I knew something was coming.

What do you mean?

In my line of work, you have to understand the patterns that govern the world.

You have to learn how to read the curve.

Spend as long as I have doing it, it can help you see the future.

It holds steady, it promises harmony.

It inches up or down, you know that means something.

G.H., why-why are you telling me this?

Did your neighbor say something to you?

No, he wasn’t home.

But he has a satellite phone I thought could help us.

I tried to use it. It didn’t work even though it had enough juice.

Now, the whole point of a satellite phone is that you always have a signal if you have a clear view of the sky, which I did.

Only reason why it wouldn’t work is if our satellites got knocked out of commission.

Our satellites.

You think something happened to our satellites. The ones in space.

Satellites are networked to computers down here.


So you think that the hackers or whatever knocked out our satellites?

Don’t you think you’re maybe getting a little carried away?

I mean, maybe you just didn’t use the phone right.

I saw a plane nosedive out of the sky into the ocean.

And it wasn’t the first.

I no longer think that this is just a couple of teenagers in the Philippines.


What the fuck?

[distant explosion]

What the fuck?

[explosions continue]


Where are my kids?

[shrill electronic tone screeching]

[gasps lightly]

[tone continues]

[thunder rumbling]

[muffled booming]


[muffled scream]

[shrill tone fades]

[Rose] Mommy.

Where’s Dad?

He’ll be back soon.

Why are you wet?

I should have covered my ears sooner.

Now my head feels weird.

That’s probably normal. It was really loud.

Was it like a, um, like a-a plane breaking the sound barrier?

Or whatever that… a sonic boom. Was, was that a sonic boom?

Planes don’t usually break the sound barrier.

The Concorde doesn’t fly anymore.

Maybe it was a plane that we don’t know about.

Archie, why don’t you go get changed.

[Ruth] Rose, maybe you should too.

That’s a good idea.

Why don’t you go cuddle up in Mommy’s bed and read that book Dad got you.

We’re, um, we’re going to be okay, right?


Since you’re the one with the crystal ball, what was that?

Was that a bomb? A missile?

Could have been a power plant explosion.

We don’t know anything for certain yet.

You seemed pretty certain a minute ago with your fucking haunting soliloquy.

Nothing’s changed.

Nothing’s changed?

Everything has changed.

And we’re sitting here like… like I don’t know what.

Is-Is this what sitting ducks are? Ducks sitting and waiting to be shot?

I meant nothing has changed in terms of what we do.

We wait for Clay to come back and we see what he’s learned.

Should I drive to town and look for him?

We should fill the bathtubs full of water.

Is there enough batteries, and Tylenol, and food, and the generator, and one of those hand crank radios, and a straw that makes it safe to drink dirty water.

I think we shouldn’t do anything until Clay comes back.

What if he’s not coming back?

Okay, my dad is right.

We’re safe here. We should just sit tight.

How do you know that we’re safe

when you don’t know what the fuck is happening to us?

Maybe it was like, what was that? Ten Mile Island?

There are power plants here, aren’t there?

Three Mile Island.

Why are you obsessed with power plants?

Hey, you’re right. We shouldn’t speculate.

Stop saying that!

I just want you to fucking tell me what you’re thinking.

There’s the blackout and then you see the planes crashing and…


What? She’s an adult.

You cannot protect her, just like you cannot protect me right now.

The satellite phone not working and then that noise, and then what?

What happens next in that sequence?

Everything I know I have told you.

I don’t believe you.

I haven’t believed you since you walked through that front door.

Golly. I wonder what it is about us that makes you so mistrustful.


You always think you know what you’re talking about, don’t you?

Well, ain’t that the pot calling the kettle black?


[tense music]

He knew.

At the market in town yesterday, there was a guy in the parking lot.

He bought cases of water and canned goods.

He knew this was going to happen.

Bearded guy?

Probably wearing an old Cowboys hat.

That’s Danny.

He’s the contractor I was telling you about.

The one who worked on the house.

I wouldn’t read into it.

He’s a self-proclaimed survivalist.

That shopping list was probably a typical weekend for him.

Jesus Christ.

I’m here. I’m okay, are you okay? Where are the kids?

Everyone’s here, everyone’s okay.


What happened? Did you get to town?

Uh… Uh…

I didn’t get far. And then I heard that noise.

What do you mean? Where have you been?

What were you doing? I was going crazy.

I don’t know, I-I just started to drive,

and then I heard that noise, and I came right back.

So you didn’t see anyone that might help us figure out what’s happening here.

No, I did not see anyone.

But I did see something. I saw…

Um, I, uh…

It was this huge, um, drone.

You know, flying in the middle of nowhere, dropping off thousands of these.

I have no idea what it says.

[tense music]

“Death to America.”


“Death to America.”

I mean, I don’t know what the rest of this means, but this part, it definitely means “Death to America.”

I remember from a game I was playing.

Nothing about this makes sense.

If they were attacking us, why would they advertise it like this?

It’s not even in English. What’s the point of dropping these things here?

I’m pretty sure I make that first right, then it’s a straight shot to the expressway?

With what we know, the city would be the worst place for you to go.

We’re not going to the city. We’re going to my sister’s in Jersey.

But to get to New Jersey from here, you have to drive through the city.

But to be clear, I make a right, follow signs to the Expressway.

Yes, exactly like how you got here. But listen to me, please.

This is dangerous what you’re doing, for you and your family.


Let them go.

I really appreciate you taking care of us, I do.

We have to do what’s right for our family.

This is in everyone’s best interest.

This is for the better.

For who?

For us.

I don’t want to have to agree with that woman, but she was right.

And you really should’ve told me what you saw.

Hey, I know what you’re thinking, but I’m certain your mother’s plane wouldn’t be flying over here.

It wasn’t the same airline.

Is she gone?

Oh, come on now. Why are you even going there?

I just told you, it wasn’t even the same airline.

Yeah, but does it feel like she’s gone?

[voice shaking] Because it does to me.

If we hit traffic, at least we’ll be able to talk to people, see if anyone has information about what’s going on.

It’s crazy we haven’t seen anyone.

I’m sure we will see someone as soon as we hit the Expressway.

[Amanda] Phones could work in New Jersey.

The truth is we don’t know anything that’s going on outside of Long Island.

They could have internet, the phone lines could be okay.

We’ll look back on this one day and laugh, I guarantee you.

The vacation from Hell. [chuckles]

Things get funnier with time. Isn’t that what they say?

I think they say it a little differently.

But, you know, I know what you mean.

[siren blares]


I thought you were napping, honey.

[Rose] I can’t.

Why not?

Because of the sirens.

[siren continues in distance]

What is that?

[siren blares]

You stay with the kids. I’m gonna go take a look.

[seat belt clicks]

[siren blares faintly]

[tense music]

You know what, you guys, sit…

Sit tight, okay?

See anyone?

[tense music]

There’s nobody here.

They’re all brand new.


Oh, wow. Hey, someone’s coming.



Clay, get in the car!

Wait, shouldn’t we wait and talk to them?

Get in the fucking car right now!

All right, all right.

[suspenseful music builds]

[engine starts]

What are you doing? Shouldn’t we flag them down?

Maybe they know something.

There’s no one in that car!

[tires screeching]

[Rose screams]

Mom? Mom, on your left, there’s a car! Go, go, go, go!

[tires screech]

[Amanda screams]

[car scrapes]

[all screaming]

[suspenseful music]

[distant siren wailing]

[thunder rumbles]

What if we went to a shelter?

Does the military have a bomb shelter or a base around here?

I mean, don’t they have to have those things ready for… emergencies like these?

I don’t know where they are.

Even if I did, you said all those cars came off the lot.

If they did that to every dealership, the main roads are most likely clogged up.

We stay here till we know more.

How much more do we need to know?

We’re probably in the middle of a war zone.

People we know are likely dead.


[Ruth sobs]


We just need to make a plan.

We can’t sit here and do nothing. We need to go somewhere.

He’s right, Amanda. It’s too dangerous.

We stay here tonight, and then in the morning, maybe…

Maybe what?

Maybe… I don’t know.

[somber music]

I was so close.




What are you doing?

Filling up the tub.

That’s what they say to do for,

you know, water.

Do you vape?

Not really.

I mean, is that… That’s like, marijuana?

I mean, I know they got different kinds now, like fruit flavors or…

Like marijuana.


Have you ever fucked one of your students?

[gasps and coughs]

I can’t believe you just asked me that.

I mean, is that what I look like to you? I look like that kind of guy?

You look like the kind of guy to whom things come easy.

Especially women.

Well, I’ll take that as a compliment, I guess. Hmm?

[both laugh]

[light switch clicking]

[thunder rumbles]

I always thought of myself as a sophisticated man.

Someone who had seen the world for what it was.

But I have never seen anything like this.

So now, I wonder if that thing I always thought about myself was a delusion.

I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself.

You dig deep enough, it’s probably all a delusion.

[G.H. chuckles]

I mean, take your line of work, for example.

Imaginary numbers,

moving around imaginary money, leading to imaginary success.

Personally, I think my business is a lot less complicated than all that.

At its most basic, my work is and always has been about people.

I’m real sorry for you then.

And why is that?

Because people are terrible.

I mean, fuck. Look at the way I treated you.

And now we are enjoying a drink together.

I am sorry, by the way.

For what I said, did, thought, it doesn’t matter.

I was wrong and I’m sorry.

Some of my smartest clients have lost a lot of money because they based their choices on preconceived beliefs instead of truth.

Seeing the difference is one of the hardest things a person can do.

When they don’t and you do, gotta be maddening.

Depending on the person,

I might take a little satisfaction in watching the market punish them.


The scary ones, though, are the ones who don’t learn.

Even after they lose lots, and I mean lots, of money.

Nothing frightens me more than a person unwilling to learn, even at their own expense.

That’s a darkness I will never understand.

The quiet is so noisy.

It’s one of the first things I noticed when we started spending nights here.

Found it hard to sleep.

Not like at home, where you hear everything.

Sirens, traffic, people.

I miss that.

Which, the sirens or the people?


[both laughing]

I am starting to like you, and that is a bold statement coming from me because…

I can’t remember the last time I liked anybody.

I have to say, I found you very prickly at the outset, but you’ve grown on me.


Why did you really come here?

And don’t tell me it’s because of your knee.

That wasn’t a lie. I did have a knee surgery.

Twisted it up pretty bad playing ball down at the Y.

But it’s not why you came here.

Why I came here involves something that happened to me a few years back.

One of my clients invited me and my wife to a private event.

My client, he…


I won’t say his name, but you’d recognize it though.

Is he a celebrity?

Oh, no. Nothing like that.

But in the business world, he’s one of the biggest out there.

He deals mostly in defense contracting.

I’m talking hush-hush, top-secret money from the Pentagon.

Perhaps the most powerful person I’ve ever had a meal with.

Anyway, we’re at this soiree at his house.

It’s getting late. My wife, she wants to go.

But he and I are just having a blast, and he doesn’t want the night to end.

After a few more glares, my wife agrees to take a cab and I’ll come home after.

Mm, I bet she was real happy about that.

[G.H.] Mm-hmm. [laughs]

So, we’re having a few more drinks, getting really sauced, and at one point, I don’t think he could stand and I was pretty wobbly, myself.

I wouldn’t know anything about that, sir.

[G.H. laughs]

So he takes me to his study.

Smoke a few cigars

and we’re sort of flying high, laughing at almost everything.

Eventually he starts in on how much he likes me, and how he wishes he could invite me on this trip he’s about to go on.

What kind of trip? Where is he going?

That’s exactly what I asked.

Then he…

turns to me,

serious face.

And he says…

“Oh, you know, just my annual meeting with the rest of the evil cabal that runs the world.”

[both laugh]

He was the kind of guy that was always known for jokes like that.

Again, if I told you his name, you would understand.

Well, I just have to take your word for it.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna top off my wine.

Then yesterday, before the symphony, my friend calls me up.

No scheduled appointment, like he usually does.

Just calls me out of the blue and wants me to move around some of his money.

And we’re talking some big numbers, even for him.

And as we’re getting off the phone, I asked if he wanted to grab a drink.

He tells me he’s going away for a while.

And I joke back to him, “Oh, yeah? You hanging with your evil cabal this weekend? I thought that was only during the winter solstice.”


But he doesn’t laugh.

And he always laughs, even with bad jokes.

All he said was…

“Take care of yourself.”

Almost as if he felt sorry for me.

Ever since, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head.

Are you saying that…

Are you thinking that your friend is somehow behind what’s happening here?

No, nothing like that.

A conspiracy theory about a shadowy group of people running the world is far too lazy of an explanation.

Especially when the truth is much scarier.

What is the truth?

No one is in control.

No one is pulling the strings.

Sure, there are those like my friend who might have the right kind of access to the right kind of information.

But when events like this happen in the world,

the best, even the most powerful people can hope for is a heads up.

Sorry, this…

Guess this story’s kind of a buzzkill.

Changed my mind. I don’t think I like you anymore.

Come on.

Let’s go.

Where are we going?

I’m gonna win you over again.

[Archie] I see you, Rose.


What do you want?

I’m never going to find out what happens to Ross and Rachel, am I?

You’re still on this shit?

Who gives a fuck?

Well, I do. Obviously.

Why do you care so much about that show anyway?

[swallows] They make me happy.

I really need that right now. Don’t you?

If there’s any hope left in this fucked up world,

I wanna at least find out how things turn out for them.

I care about them.

Maybe you shouldn’t.

I’m just saying.

You’re probably right, the way things are going

you’re not gonna see that show ever again.

So if I were you, I’d find something else to care about.

[Ruth] It’s weird, we’re not hearing any cicadas tonight.

[vape hissing]

I got lost today.

When I went out this morning.

What do you mean you got lost?


I thought I knew where I was going but then there were all these streets that didn’t have any signs anywhere.

So I just drove around.

Then I drove around some more.

And then, you know, I turn around, and then I got just completely lost, and I have no idea how I found my way back here, to be honest.

But I did see someone.

A woman.

On the road.

She waved me down and, um, she was speaking Spanish.

She was just standing there by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere.

[voice shaking] And I… I left her.

She needed help.

And I left her.

Well, is there anything else that you’re keeping from us?

Since you’re opening up, that is.

Well, we didn’t tell you before that we saw an oil tanker ground.

Like, right up on the beach.

An oil tanker?

Yeah, it’s like a really big boat.

You know, it’s red.

I mean, well, I don’t think that they’re all red, but this one was, and it came right up on the beach.

Why didn’t you tell us?

Well, I think at the time we were both scared, you know?

About what it could mean.

Well, what could it mean?

Well, if we were being attacked, which I know sounds weird to say, but oil is something that you would want a lot of

if, you know, we’re going to defend ourselves.

I cannot believe we’re having this conversation.

I really think we’re gonna be all right.

You know, I mean, in the end, I really do.

I mean, even if it is like, an invasion.

An invasion?

Well, or an occupation?

Okay, dude, you know what? I know that you mean well, but your word choices are, like, freaking me the fuck out.


What was that?


[rapid flapping]

[flamingos honking]

Those are… flamingos.

Those are flamingos?

Those are flamingos.


Wow, this is an impressive collection.

You like jazz?

You want to listen to jazz?

Sure, why not?

Because I thought we were going to have some fun.


Let’s have something we could dance to.

You can dance to jazz.

In fact, when I bought my first record, that was…

Oh, please not another one of your stories.

They end up leaving me severely disturbed. Wait. What are these records?

Don’t look over there. Those are my daughter’s records.

She had a DJ phase in college.

Now this looks like something a lady can properly dance to.

Oh, come on. That’s not what I brought you in here for.

You said you wanted to win me over.

This is how.

[“Too Close” by Next playing]

♪ I wonder if she can tell I’m hard right now ♪

♪ Hm ♪

♪ Yeah ♪

♪ Come on Dance for me baby ♪

♪ Ha, ha, ha Yeah ♪

♪ Uh-oh You feel that? ♪

♪ All right ♪

♪ Come on Don’t stop now ♪

♪ You done did it Come on ♪

♪ Uh, yeah ♪

♪ All right ♪

♪ Hold on ♪

♪ Baby, when we’re grinding ♪

♪ That’s right ♪

♪ I get so excited ♪

♪ Mmm ♪

♪ Ooh how I like it ♪

♪ Ooh ♪

♪ I try but I can’t fight it ♪

♪ Yeah ♪

♪ Oh you’re dancing real close ♪

♪ Uh-huh ♪

♪ Plus it’s real real slow ♪

♪ You know what you’re doing Don’t you? ♪

♪ You’re making it hard for me ♪

♪ Uh ♪

♪ Oh the slow song’s on you requested ♪

♪ You’re dancing like you’re naked ♪

♪ Oh, it’s almost like we’re sexing ♪

♪ Oh, yeah ♪

♪ Yeah, boo, I like it ♪

♪ No I can’t deny it ♪

♪ But I know you can tell I’m excited ♪

♪ Oh, girl ♪

♪ Step back, you’re dancing kinda close ♪

♪ I feel a little poke coming through ♪

[G.H. laughs]

♪ On you ♪

♪ Now girl I know you felt it Boo, you know I can’t help it ♪

[both laughing]

♪ You know what I want to do ♪

♪ Baby when we’re grinding ♪

♪ Oh, yeah ♪

♪ I get so excited ♪

♪ Feels so good ♪

♪ Ooh, how I like it ♪

♪ So real ♪

♪ Try but I can’t fight it ♪

♪ You ♪

♪ Oh you’re dancing real close ♪

♪ And it’s real ♪

We’re drunk.

We are…

Ah, we’re married. I’m married.

You have a wife.

I do, yes.

♪ Ain’t a good idea ♪

I love her dearly.

♪ Cause I want you now and here ♪

♪ The way that you shake it on me ♪

I really…

♪ Makes me want you So bad sexually ♪

♪ Oh, girl ♪

I really miss her.

You’ll see her again.

♪ I feel a little poke coming through ♪

♪ On you ♪


♪ Now girl, you know I felt it ♪

♪ Ooh, you know I can’t help it ♪

♪ You know what I want to do ♪

♪ Oh, yeah ♪

♪ Baby, when we’re grinding ♪

♪ I get so excited ♪

No, I don’t think I will.

[breathes shakily]

♪ Baby, it feels so right ♪

♪ Oh, you’re dancing real close ♪

And Ruth.

♪ Real, real close ♪

♪ You know ♪

What if something happened to her too? I don’t think I could live with myself.

Nothing is going to happen to Ruth. I promise.

We’re in this together with you till things get back to normal.

♪ I try but I can’t fight it ♪

Amanda, we gotta start seeing this for what it is.

♪ Oh, you’re dancing real close ♪

♪ Oh, yeah ♪

There is no going back to normal.

Don’t say that. We have to…

[distant boom]

[high-pitched ringing]


[record scratching]

[rumbling and ringing intensify]

[both gasp] [Clay] Ahh!

[flamingos honking]

[Rose screams]

[ringing stops]

Is he okay?

[Amanda] Mm.

He’s a little warm, but I think he’ll be fine.

What are you still doing up?

I keep thinking about this one West Wing episode.

There’s this story, someone tells the president…

You watched The West Wing?

Only the Aaron Sorkin seasons.

Anyway, the story was about a man who lived by the river.

And he hears on the radio that the river is going to flood the town and everyone should leave.

But the man doesn’t go anywhere because he prays every day.

He knows that God loves him and will save him.

But then the flood actually happens.

And this guy in a rowboat sees the man and says, “Hey, come on, I can save you.”

But the man tells him he isn’t going anywhere.

Then the helicopter comes flying by, and the pilot lowers the ladder, but the man tells him he isn’t going anywhere.

After that, the man drowns in the flood.

And so he goes up to heaven and he’s really angry at God, and he tells him, “I prayed to you every day.

I thought you loved me. Why didn’t you save me?”

And God says,

“I sent you a radio report, a rowboat and a helicopter. What more do you want?”

What’s this about, Rose?

[tense music]

I think I’m done waiting.



Will you sleep in the bed with me?

Not sure.

The bed’s not big, and I don’t mind sleeping on the floor.

It’s sometimes good for my back.

I’m scared.

It’s just us now, isn’t it?

What do you mean by that?

What I mean is,

if the shit goes down,

do you trust these people that are in our house?

We already know the wife has no chill.

That boy was sneaking pictures of me by the pool.

That little girl keeps staring into the woods like Donnie Darko, and I’m pretty sure the husband wants to fuck me.

How do you know that?

He’s not actually going to do anything, he’s not “that guy.”

But did he want to? Abso-fucking-lutely.

My point remains, I don’t trust them.

I’m not gonna let anything happen to you, if that’s what you’re asking.

I’m asking for you to remember that if the world falls apart, trust should not be doled out easily to anyone, especially white people.

Even mom would agree with me on that.

I got it.

Do you?

Because we’re sleeping in the basement of our own house for the second night in a row.

Just what exactly was the point of letting them back into the house?

It was the right thing to do.

And that right there. That’s what’s going to fuck us in the end.

[tense music]

[Clay] Drink up.

Where’s Rosie?

I don’t know. She got up before us.

I’m gonna have a look around. You should get up.


How are you feeling, baby?

Come on.

I know you’re sleepy but I need you to get up so I can get a look at you and take your temperature.

You were pretty warm last night.

Well, you’re not so warm now.


Does your throat hurt?



What is that? Blood, is that blood?


What are you…

What are you…

What are you fucking doing?

What the fuck? Are those your teeth?

[suspenseful music]


Stop doing that. Clay!

My teeth.

[Amanda] Clay!

What’s happening to me?

[Amanda] Clay!

[Clay] Is everything okay?

Something’s wrong with Archie.

What is it? What the fuck?

That’s exactly what I said.

My teeth just, they felt weird.

And I touched them, and they just they fell out.

He was a little warm last night but this, I don’t know.

Okay, all right. Well you… you’re okay.

I don’t feel okay.

How are you feeling?

Besides your teeth falling out, I mean.

What kind of question is that? He’s obviously sick.

I’m not sick, Mom. My teeth just fell out.

Maybe it was the bug that bit me. I don’t know.

What bug?

A bug bit me yesterday in the woods.

[G.H.] That must be it, then.

Probably just a tick, Lyme disease. I’ve seen stranger symptoms.

Stranger than this?

He needs to go to the emergency room.

We need to go to the hospital.

We can’t. The expressway’s the only way out of town.

Besides, if the roads are jammed, no one would be there to help us anyway.

Well, we have to do something. Archie needs to see a doctor.

[sighs] I can’t believe this is happening.

I can’t believe this is happening.

We’ll go to my contractor’s house. He’s not that far from here.

You said you saw him stocking up on supplies?

If I know Danny, he’s prepared for anything.

He might have something useful.

Antibiotics, medicine.

Danny’ll know what to do.


I promise you, I’ll get your son some help.

[door opens]

Where’s Rose?

I couldn’t find her.

What? What does that mean?

I looked all over the house. She’s not here.

She’s not in the backyard.

I’ll look downstairs.

She’s probably exploring the house.

She might be playing outside. I’ll look out for her.

I looked there but feel free to check again.

I don’t understand. Where is she?

She has to be here somewhere.

No, she’s not!

I’m telling you, I have looked everywhere and she’s not here.

Well, she should be in the garage.

I already looked in the garage.

Okay. Where the fuck haven’t you looked, Clay?

She’s not down there.

Okay, this is insane. Where is she?

She wasn’t outside,

but I think she may have taken one of the bikes from the garage.

Took one of the bikes? Where would she go?

Do you have any idea where your sister might be, bud?

I don’t know.

Um, we were out by the shed yesterday, so…

The shed? What shed?

The… the shed.

Um, she… she saw some deer and she wanted to go look for them.

So maybe there. I don’t know.

Okay, I’m going.

[Archie retches]

Archie, you all right?

[Archie grunts and moans]

Are you all right…

[G.H.] He needs help now.

[Clay] Yeah, okay.

Okay, I got you.

[Ruth] I’m coming with you.

[G.H.] No, it’s not safe.

Stay here with Amanda. Find Rose.

No. What? You can’t leave me here by myself.

It’ll be okay.

Dad, we talked about this.

You cannot leave me here by myself.

He’s sick, don’t you see that?

Dad, you will never come back.

Don’t you see that something is happening?

It is happening right now.

Whatever it is, it’s happening to Archie, it’s happening to all of us.

You can’t leave. The world could be ending out there.

That’s why I want you here.

Take out your phone.

Come on, take it out.

Set a timer, one hour.

I’ll be back.

It won’t work.

It won’t work out.

It will, there’s no choice.

Look, I’ll be back for you before this goes off.

One hour. That’s what you get. You’ve promised.

[echoing] Rose? Rose!

Rosie! Rose!

[overlapping echoes]

[Amanda] This is a nightmare.

This is a goddamn nightmare.

Where would Rose have gone? Why would she leave?

She said she was done waiting. What did she mean?

What if we just went back to the house and we waited for my dad to get back?

And then what?

He’ll find Rose?

I don’t know, but he will help us.

I just want to know what the fuck is happening.

I want to know what the fuck is the plan.

I want to know that we can find my kid and then get in your fucking expensive car and drive to an actual hospital, find a doctor who will tell me that my baby is okay, that we’re all gonna be okay, and then we can just all go back to our house.

What if that’s not possible?

I want to get the fuck away from here, and you, and whatever is happening.

It’s happening to all of us.

I know that it is happening to all of us!

Stop yelling at me!

You don’t care.

You don’t care that I’m here.

And my mom is probably at the bottom of some ocean.

I don’t have anyone else in my life.

I have nothing to go home to but them. Do you understand that?

And I need my mom more than ever.

And I will probably never see her again.

I care, I do.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about that, but I do care.

Why are you like this?

What do you get out of being so angry all the time?

Every day, all day, my job… my whole job is to… understand people well enough so that I know how to lie to them, so I can sell them things they don’t really want.

And when you study people like that, when you really see the way they treat each other, well…

You’re no dummy.

You see what they do, and they do it without even thinking about it.

Fuck. I did it to you and your dad, and I don’t even really know why.

We fuck each other over all the time, without even realizing it.

We fuck every living thing on this planet over and think it’ll be fine because we use paper straws and order the free range chicken.

And the sick thing is, I think deep down we know we’re not fooling anyone.

I think we know we’re living a lie.

An agreed upon mass delusion to help us ignore and keep ignoring how awful we really are.

I’m not down with most of the things that you do and say, but… this is the part of the Venn diagram where we overlap.

I agree with everything you just said.

But as awful as people might be… nothing’s gonna change the fact that we are all we’ve got.

I don’t want to be this way.

I hate being terrible like this.

And I know I say I hate people, but I… I’d do anything to have them back.

[wall thuds]

[animals galloping]

[suspenseful music]

[hooves thudding]

[tense music]

[seatbelts click]

[Archie] Hey, Dad.

Do you think Taylor’s okay?


Archie, you stay here.

Let’s go.

[doorbell chimes]


Danny. Sorry to bother you at home like this.

I’m gonna need you and your comrade to step off the porch and stand by your vehicle.


Off the porch and by your vehicle.

[door opens]

What can I do for you?

[both laugh]

We’re just checking on you.

Seeing if you’re here, if you’re okay.

If you heard anything about what’s going on.

Yeah, I’m Clay.

My family rented G.H.’s… George’s home, you know.

We’re from the city.

Well, that’s a lucky break for your family.

Imagine what a shit show the city must be right now.

I got to be honest with you, I’m surprised you guys are even out.

We came out here because my son needs help.

He’s vomiting. He’s…

He’s lost his teeth. They just fell out. Can’t explain it.

Oh. His teeth, huh?

Well, it’s gotta have something to do with that noise.

You know something about the noise?

Well, it’s not all that dissimilar to what happened in Cuba a while back.

Microwave weapons, they call it, produces a kind of radiation that can be beamed out through sound.

Some people lost their teeth there too.

Outside of that, the only thing I know for sure is there’s not a lot of information getting out, so…

I assume it’s a war.

The beginning of one, anyways.

They’ve been saying there was chatter.

This has to be what they were chattering about.

Chatter, what do you mean, “chatter”?

You got to read the papers deeper than page one.

The Russians recalled their staff from Washington.

Did you even notice that?

Something is afoot. Now, what that is exactly, I don’t know.

Maybe this is as much as we’re ever going to know.

Maybe we just need to sit tight, be safe.

Pray. Whatever works for you.

Well, Danny.

It’s like Clay said, his son isn’t well.

We’re gonna need more than just prayers.

And knowing how primed you are for these kind of situations, we’re thinking you might have some medicine that’d be able to help him.

What I got isn’t your business.


Come on now, it’s me. We know each other.

We’re friends.

That’s the old way, George. You’re not thinking clearly.

Danny, what are you saying?

You’re telling this man not to take care of his son?

Nothing makes a whole lot of sense right now.

When the world doesn’t make any sense, I can still do what’s rational, which is protect my own.

What you do is your business.

I thought I was doing the right thing by bringing them here.

Now if you have some medicine that can help him…

We can pay.

Um, a… a…

Say, a thousand dollars?

Cash might not mean much if the government falls.

Well, the whole network’s down. My credit cards aren’t going to work.

There’s no Venmo or ApplePay.

I mean, cash might be the only thing that means something.

My son’s really sick. He needs your help. He’s 16 years old.

[tense music]

Nothing’s here.


[Danny] You’re in a difficult position.

I get it.

I would do anything I had to for my family.

So that’s what I’m doing.

I’m locking the doors. I’m waiting, I’m watching, I’m getting out my gun.

Other than that, I don’t have any answers for you.

Ruth, it’s bike tracks…

I’m going to go back inside my house now.

I’m gonna say goodbye and good luck.

You come out again, you’re welcome to stop by, but I can’t offer you much more than conversation.

I suggest you try your neighbors, the Thornes.

They did a basement conversion on the down-low a while back, no permits or nothing.

A buddy of mine worked on it. He wouldn’t even show me the plans.

Now, you ask me?

That’s rich asshole talk for doomsday bunker.

Come on, Danny. You can’t desert us like this.

Haven’t you been picking up on what’s going on out there, George?

We’ve all been deserted.

[tense music continues]

[breathing shakily]

[Danny] All due respect.

I would like all of you off of my property.


[suspenseful music]

We’re not going anywhere till you give us what we need.

[Amanda screams]

[Clay yelling] What the fuck is going on right now?


I promised this boy’s mother I’d get him some help.

The only thing you’re helping him to is a quick death unless you lower your weapons.

G.H., put the gun down.

We’ll find another way to the hospital.

There is no other way!

Besides, he’s not gonna shoot us.

Uh… It sounds like he’s gonna shoot us.

I’m telling you he’s bluffing.

The fuck I am.

[both screaming]

Hold… Hold on! Hold on!

Clay, get out of the way!


I’m trying to reason with him!

[both screaming]

The only way this ends

is if you get back in your vehicle and drive away now.

Drive away to what? All the roads are blocked.

We’re in the middle of God-knows-where. There’s no one else around.

I have no idea what I am supposed to do right now.

I can barely do anything without my cell phone and my GPS.

I am a useless man.

But my son is sick.

And my daughter is missing.

And I don’t know what to do.

But you are a very prepared man.

Fuck yeah, I am.

That’s right, that’s why we came to you, because you’re the only one who can help my son.

Not my problem.

No, you’re right. It’s not.

But it’s like you said, right?

What would you do if it was your family? That’s what I’m doing.

It’s the only thing I can do.

I am begging you.


Please help my son.

[both screaming]

[screaming and whimpering]

[hoof beats receding]

[breathing heavily]

[sighs and whimpers]

I guess an old fashioned barter system was to be expected at some point.

It’s still cash, so it’s not really a barter system.

[Danny] Hey, I got another tidbit for you.

Free of charge, if you want it.

It’s the Koreans behind all this.


What makes you say that?

Just trust me. It’s the Koreans.

Or the Chinese. One of them.

Show him.

I was driving around yesterday.

There’s a big drone dropping these everywhere.

It means “Death to America,” so we’re thinking Iranians.

I remember hearing something on NPR once about their cyber capabilities.

Why is that funny?

Before the phones went out, I heard from a friend of mine in San Diego about a similar event, drones dropping pamphlets except they were in Korean.

Or Mandarin. Like I said, he couldn’t tell which.

But seeing as he did four tours in Iraq, he sure as shit would have known if it looked like that.

We made a lot of enemies around the world.

Maybe all this means is a few of them teamed up.

[tense music]

I saw flamingos in our pool last night.

The animals, they’re trying to warn us.

They know something.

They know something that we don’t.

It’s like when dogs know storms are coming.

There’s more bike tracks up ahead.

We should go back to the house. My dad is probably there.

Maybe he can help… us.

I’m not going anywhere without Rosie.

That house. That’s gotta be where she went.

[engine revs]

All right, let’s go back and see if they found Rose.

[tense music continues]

G.H., what’s going on?

Before we go…

I need to know that you’re on the level with me.

No matter how far this thing goes, I need to know that we’re good because if what just happened here is happening everywhere, we need to get to that bunker Danny told us about, and we need to get there now.

What are you talking about?

You know something.

I had a sneaking suspicion, but I wanted more information first.

All signs were there, sure, but I… I didn’t want to scare anyone.

You’d have called me crazy because it is crazy.

It would have made more sense if we were on the brink of an all-out invasion, but this… I didn’t think we’d actually let something like this happen.

I thought we were smarter than that.

Let what happen?

Because my primary client works in the defense sector, I spend a lot of time studying the cost-benefit analysis of military campaigns.

There was one program in particular that terrified my client the most.

A simple three-stage maneuver that could topple a country’s government from within.

The first stage is isolation.

Disable their communication and transportation.

Make the target as deaf, dumb and paralyzed as possible, setting them up for the second stage.

Synchronized chaos.

Terrorize them with covert attacks and misinformation, overwhelming their defense capabilities leaving their weapon systems vulnerable to extremists and their own military.

Without a clear enemy or motive, people would start turning on each other.

If done successfully, the third stage would happen on its own.

What’s the third stage?

Coup d’état.

Civil war.


This program was considered the most cost-effective way to destabilize a country.

Because if the target nation was dysfunctional enough, it would, in essence, do the work for you.

Whoever started this wants us to finish it.

[phone timer beeping]

[beeping continues]

[engine revs]

[phone timer beeping]

[phone chime continues, echoing]

[jet engine roars]

[distant explosion]

[distant gunfire]

[gunfire continues]

[wind whistling]


[munching continues]


[Amanda, faint] Rose!

[whirs and beeps]

[lights clicking on]

[electronic whirs and beeps]

[disc tray closes]

[remote clicking]

[“I’ll Be There For You” by The Rembrandts playing]

♪ So no one told you Life was gonna be this way ♪

♪ Your job’s a joke You’re broke ♪

♪ Your love life’s DOA ♪

♪ It’s like you’re always Stuck in second gear ♪

♪ When it hasn’t been your day Your week, your month ♪

♪ Or even your year ♪

♪ But I’ll be there for you ♪

♪ When the rain starts to pour ♪

♪ I’ll be there for you ♪

♪ Like I’ve been there before ♪

♪ I’ll be there for you ♪

♪ ‘Cause you’re there for me too ♪

[“The Paradigm” by Lil Yachty playing]


2 thoughts on “Leave the World Behind (2023) | Transcript”

  1. A real gift for xmas! Thank you so much ! I guess nothing – in the eyes of “Old Europeans”- describes the situation of the US before the general elections better than this movie! (“Korea or even China!” – “we and THEM (The Home of Evil Mankind”) Merry xmas and don`t forget: All we are saying is give peace a chance !

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