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The Watchers (2024) | Transcript

A young artist gets stranded in an extensive, immaculate forest in western Ireland, where, after finding shelter, she becomes trapped alongside three strangers, stalked by mysterious creatures each night.
The Watchers (2024) directed by Ishana Night Shyamalan

The Watchers (2024)
Genre: Horror, Mystery, Fantasy
Director: Ishana Night Shyamalan
Stars: Dakota Fanning, Georgina Campbell, Olwen Fouéré, Oliver Finnegan, Siobhan Hewlett

Plot: This forest isn’t charted on any map. Every car breaks down at its treeline. Mina’s is no different. Left stranded, she is forced into the dark woodland only to find a woman shouting, urging Mina to run to a concrete bunker. As the door slams behind her, the building is besieged by screams. Mina finds herself in a room with a wall of glass, and an electric light that activates at nightfall, when the Watchers come above ground. These creatures emerge to observe their captive humans and terrible things happen to anyone who doesn’t reach the bunker in time.

* * *

[rumbling]

[woman] There’s a forest in the west of Ireland… that does not appear on any map.

They say it draws in lost soul, like moths to a flame.

[panting]

[grunts]

[woman] No one can say exactly what lies inside.

[distant wailing]

[woman] For those that wander in…

…never come back out.

[panting]

[exhales]

[panting] I’m gonna get help, honey.

Sun’s moved.

Twenty-two minutes left.

Come on. Follow the light. [grunts loudly]

[birds tweet faintly]

No. [panting]

Oh, my God.

Oh, my God.

[wings fluttering]

[flock of birds cawing]

[cawing echoes]

[panting echoes]

[grunting]

[rumbling approaches]

[caws]

[shouts]

Shit!

[grunting]

[shouts]

[thud]

[coughs, gasps]

[gasps, coughs]

[cries out]

[cries, coughs]

[panting]

[creature chittering]

[panting]

[guttural chittering]

[man gasping]

[purring, chittering]

[forest creaking]

[creature grunting]

That’s impossible.

[loud chittering]

[shouts]

[man shouts]

Please! Please!

Oh, my God!

Help! No, no! No, no!

No, no, no, please! Please!

Please! No! [screams echoing]

[newscaster] It is a dreary day in Wicklow County

where protestors have gathered to refute the felling

of one of Ireland’s largest remaining woodlands.

Over the last century, nearly 70 percent

of Ireland’s sacred trees have been cut down,

stirring concerns over ecological impact.

One environmental activist from Trinity College

describes the most pressing concern

as the welfare of the animals within these native forests.

He questions if whole ecosystems…

[salesman] The Aquazone Five is the best in the market.

64-liter capacity. Self-cleaning.

Moisture control so you don’t get mold.

Even has a high-tech feeding system.

You won’t have to lift a finger to keep your critters happy.

[birds chirping]

[music plays in distance]

[salesman] Mina.

Sorry. But you know the animals don’t like it when you smoke.

Right. My bad.

Can you come inside for a minute?

There’s someone I want you to meet.

[people chattering]

[salesman] A golden conure.

Beautiful breed.

Intelligent. Fiercely loyal.

[Mina] Can he talk?

[salesman] I don’t think so.

[chirps]

Anyways, there’s a zoo near Belfast

that wants him within the week.

It’s about a day’s journey.

Sorry to have to ask right now.

Well, I told you, I’m fine.

I can take him tomorrow.

[salesman] Might be nice to get away, don’t you think?

See the Irish countryside.

Yeah.

[people chattering]

[conure squawks]

[conure squawks]

My mom died.

Fifteen years ago today.

Did he tell you that?

[conure chitters]

I’m going out tonight. Try not to die.

[chitters] I’m going out. Try not to die.

I thought you couldn’t talk, you little shit.

[“Disco//Very” by Warpaint plays on radio]

[conure chirps]

[shower running]

[spigot squeaks]

[shower turns off]

[music fades]

[crowd chattering]

[“There’s Whiskey in the Jar” playing faintly]

You’re not from here.

Is it that obvious?

Ah. An American girl in Galway’s hard to miss.

What’s your name?

It’s Caroline.

Yours?

Collin.

What do you do, Caroline?

I’m a dancer.

Really?

Ballerina, actually.

No way. That’s class.

You visiting for some kind of performance?

Swan Lake.

Caroline the ballerina.

[song swells in volume]

[conversation fades]

[music stops]

[chirps]

Don’t look at me like that.

[chirps]

It’s just something I do sometimes, like…

…playing dress-up.

You wouldn’t like me if you knew the real me.

[chirps]

So, what’s your story?

What are you running from?

[chirps]

[cell phone rings]

[through phone] Mina, it’s Lucy. Remember me?

So, I guess you decided not to come to Mom’s memorial.

It was a beautiful ceremony.

The choir sang “Ave Maria.”

There were white flowers all over.

[kids laughing in background]

I wasn’t sure how the boys would handle it,

but they’re big now,

and they’re smart, too.

You should see how much they’ve grown.

Listen, Meens, I know you hate it when I lecture you,

but I’m really worried about you.

I mean, it’s been 15 years since she died.

At some point, you just have to let it all go.

Can you please just call me back?

[line clicks]

[sighs deeply]

[female voice] Proceed on this road for 106 kilometers

to reach your destination.

[Lucy] I wasn’t sure how the boys would handle it,

but they’re big now…

and they’re smart, too.

They’re smart, too.

You should see how much they’ve grown.

[Lucy] Listen Meens, I know you hate it when I lecture you,

but I’m really worried about you.

I mean, it’s been 15 years since she died.

At some point, you just have to let it all go.

[“514 376 9230” by Essaie Pas playing on car stereo]

What is this place?

[music continues]

This goddamn car. Come on.

[engine faltering]

[female voice, distorted]

[music changes to warbling static]

[engine bangs, stops]

What happened?

[chirps]

[sighs]

[conure] Try not to die.

Shh!

[conure chirps]

[sputtering, hissing]

[squawking]

I think someone lives nearby.

[squawking]

So we’re in agreement, then?

We’ll walk. [sighs]

[shouts] Hello?

My car broke down. I need some help.

[squawking]

[Mina] Hello?

[squawks]

[Mina] Hello?

Let’s just go back to the car.

[breathes heavily]

Where’s the car?

Where is it?

What’s happening?

Shit.

[branches rustling faintly]

I think I’ll call you Darwin.

If we’re gonna die here together,

you might as well have a name.

[birds cawing]

[wings fluttering]

[Darwin squawks]

[sighs]

[ground rumbling]

[guttural screeching]

[panting]

[grunts]

[footsteps recede]

[Mina] Hey!

[panting]

[Darwin squawks]

[Darwin chirps]

Hey!

Wait!

Please, I need help!

[panting]

There’s something out there!

Wait!

[metallic slam]

If you care for your life, you’re going to have to run.

[gasps]

[creatures shrieking]

Five…

[gasps]

Four…

Three…

Two…

[door slams]

[gasps]

[young man] Who is she? Where did she come from?

[young woman] The poor bird.

Who would bring a bird into a place like this?

[woman] Mind your manners, both of you.

What is happening? What is this place?

We call it the Coop.

Who are you?

My name is Madeline.

The girl is Ciara, and the boy is Daniel.

We’re just like you. Lost.

And you?

What?

Who are you?

[panting]

Mina.

[Madeline] Pleasure to meet you, Mina.

I don’t mean to scare you, but we haven’t much time.

It’s not wise to keep them waiting.

Ciara, will you stand by Mina? Keep her calm?

They’ll be very interested in someone new.

[gasps] Wait. Wait.

What’s happening?

[Ciara] Not to worry. We’ll stand together.

Just stay very still.

Everything’s gonna be all right.

Places, everyone.

I don’t understand. Is someone coming here?

[Darwin chirps]

We call them the Watchers.

[Watchers shrieking]

They’re coming.

Mina, I know you must be feeling very afraid,

but I want you to know that you’ll be all right.

You will survive this night.

The Watchers cannot come in. They just want to look at you.

They’re out there?

[Ciara] Yes, they are. It’s a window on the other side.

They come every night just after sunset.

And they watch us until the sun rises again.

It’s strange at first, but you’ll get used to it in time.

They’re here.

Mina.

Mina, take a step forward.

Go ahead. It’s all right.

[rustling, rattling]

What is that? What are they doing?

[Madeline] Applause.

For you, Mina.

[rumbling, rattling continue]

A welcome to the show.

[rumbling continues]

[Darwin chirps]

[deep, mechanical rumble]

[latch clanks]

[door creaks open]

[whispers] We’re leaving, Darwin.

[Darwin chirps]

[Ciara] Where’re you going?

[Mina] Home.

[Daniel] You won’t make it.

[Mina] I can’t stay here.

I’m sorry. Good luck.

[Madeline] Let her go.

[sighs]

Those people are crazy.

[chirps] Try not to die.

[Mina] I’ll find the car.

We’ll get it to work and we’ll be home before you know it.

[sighs]

[woman whispers] Mina.

[Darwin chirps]

[Mina breathes heavily]

[rumbling]

[chittering]

[woman] Why did you do that?

[gasps]

[panting]

[panting]

[gasps]

You’re not the first to have tried getting out.

We’ve all tried, and failed, at one time or another.

Come with me.

The forest has been known to cause hallucinations.

If you’re not careful, it can drive you mad.

While in these woods, we are prey.

But if you open your eyes, you can learn to master this place.

They’re landmarks,

positioned all across the forest in a nearly perfect circle.

Each is about a half day’s journey from the Coop.

If you stay within the boundary,

there’s hope of returning by nightfall.

But if you choose to step over this line…

There’s no turning back.

Who built them?

Daniel and Ciara call him “The Professor.”

Come along, Mina.

The sun is passing its peak.

[bird cawing]

Come.

Good evening.

What a show we have for you tonight.

The stranger, Mina, joins us again.

We’re all just buzzing to see what she’ll do.

Will she eat her dinner?

Or will she refuse her plate like last night? [chuckles]

Will she snore as she sleeps?

And how many times will she get up to piss in the bucket?

Yeah. We’re all on the edge of our seats.

[Watchers chittering outside]

Right, then. Let’s begin.

[chuckles]

What am I supposed to do?

Just be yourself. That’s all they want.

[Ciara] They like it when I dance.

[“Carnival of the Animals” by Camille Saint-Saëns plays]

[Daniel chuckles]

[music continues faintly]

[Watchers chittering]

[music continues]

[music stops]

[female tv announcer] Twelve hot strangers,

trapped in a house.

The world will be watching their every move.

Who will find love? Who will make it out?

On this season of Lair of Love.

[contestants cheering]

[woman] Hi!

My name is Georgia.

[man] Georgia.

[Georgia] Nice to meet you.

[man] Welcome.

[people chatter on tv]

[oohing]

Where’s the champers, eh?

My name’s Georgia.

Georgia?

Nice to meet you.

[contestants cheering]

[Madeline] Ten hours and two minutes of sunlight.

May we meet again before dark.

[Ciara] You can come with me.

I won’t bite.

Prunella vulgaris.

[Darwin squawks] Vulgaris.

[chuckles] I make a paste from them. For pain relief.

Daniel gets splitting headaches.

He’s a sweet boy. He just needs someone to take care of him.

[chuckles] It’s funny.

John always figured that Danny might fancy me.

Told him he was being silly.

John’s my husband, by the way.

We came to the forest together.

He’s very handsome.

You’ll see when you meet him.

Where is he?

He left six days ago.

At first I thought he sent you here.

He hasn’t come back?

Not yet.

Stachys sylvatica.

Good for inflammation and bleeding.

What do they want from us? The Watchers.

We’re not quite sure.

Madeline has a theory

that just seeing one could drive a person mad.

Come on. I want to show you something.

We’ll keep this between us, okay?

We’re not supposed to go close to the burrows.

They’re all over the forest.

Connected underground like a system of tunnels.

It’s where the Watchers go during the daylight hours.

Sometimes I like to come out here and remind myself…

…that as long as the sun’s out,

there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Ciara, how long have you been here?

I don’t know.

It’s hard to keep track of the days.

But not long.

John and I were the last to arrive.

Before you, that is.

So if I had to guess, I’d say…

…nearly five months.

[inhales]

[Madeline] Mina?

You should know, there are a few rules.

[all three together] Do not turn your back to the mirror.

Do not open the door after dark.

Do not go near the burrows.

Always stay in the light.

[Madeline] It’s important to remember

that we are in their territory.

The Watchers allow us to live because we follow their rules.

[pop music plays]

“Lips with two girls you fancy most.”

[contestants oohing]

Okay…

[hooting]

God, they’re going for it.

[woman] I’m shocked!

[Romeo] Like, Chloe’s just like, so peng.

Like, when we was locking lips,

it felt like the universe is just colliding.

It felt right, you know what I mean?

And I bet she’s just, like, killer in the bedroom.

Like, she’s just got that look about her,

that kind of like, feral almost, look.

And I think I could match that toe to toe, so…

[continues, indistinct]

[chitters]

[footsteps tapping]

[soft rustle]

[Watchers chittering faintly]

[Watchers chittering, rustling]

[woman on tv] “Who is the most annoying boy in the Lair?”

[insects buzzing]

[Watchers chittering]

[woman] Sorry, babe.

[woman on tv] Oh, Georgia!

[contestants hooting]

[woman 2] Georgia!

[woman 3] You know I love you.

[continues, faint]

[hollow taps]

[light growling]

[light growling continues]

[sighs]

[light tap on glass]

[three heavy thumps on glass]

[Watchers shrieking]

[thumping continues]

Hold still, Mina.

[Watchers chittering]

Hold still.

[banging on glass]

[three rapid thumps]

Just let them see you.

[banging]

[roaring]

[caws]

Ever since John left, I’ve been hunting on my own.

We all have a role to play.

We work together to survive.

[bones snap]

[crow squeals]

Madeline used to teach at some university.

That’s why she thinks she knows everything.

I know she can be a bit intense, but…

she’s been here a lot longer than any of us.

[girls laughing, echoes]

[bones rattle]

How long have you been here, Daniel?

Eight months, three days.

[Mina] Eight months, and you’ve never seen one?

You’ve never seen a Watcher?

[Daniel] Of course not.

No one sees a Watcher and survives.

Did Madeline tell you that?

You don’t believe her?

No.

I don’t think you do, either.

Mina.

Mina. This is a bad idea.

This is a really bad idea.

Wait! It’s against the rules!

[Mina] You can go back to the Coop.

Tell Madeline you lost me in the woods.

Go on living by her rules.

But don’t you want to know what they are?

[sighs]

[breathing heavily]

[exhales]

[Daniel] What do you see?

Nothing yet.

[exhales]

[dirt rattling]

[ragged breathing]

[Daniel] Don’t step out of the sunlight, Mina.

[exhales]

Seriously, stay in the light.

[Mina shrieks]

[metal object rattling]

[creaking, rattling]

[Mina] You got it?

[Daniel] Got it.

[bike rattling above]

[faint guttural chittering]

[trembling exhale]

Daniel.

[Mina panting]

[footsteps approaching]

Daniel!

[rasping growl]

[slow chittering]

[low voice rumbling] Ainriochtán.

[shrieks] Daniel!

[chittering echoes]

[Madeline] Tell me again where you found all this?

[Mina] Out by Danny’s spot, stashed under a big rock.

You said there was no chance we could make it out by sunset.

Not on foot.

This changes everything, doesn’t it?

Perhaps.

[Daniel] Hey guys, come in here.

You saw something today, didn’t you?

Something that scared you.

No.

What was it?

What did you see?

Nothing.

Honestly.

The electronics break down out there,

somehow they work in here.

The Professor must have created some sort of power source.

My best guess is it’s underneath us.

[Ciara] That’s fantastic, Daniel.

Surveillance.

I figure if we put it outside tonight…

We’ll be able to see the Watchers.

[“Carnival of the Animals” by Camille Saint-Saëns plays]

Where are they? They should be here by now.

They’ll come. They always come.

[Madeline] Just act as if everything is normal, all right?

[light tap]

[music ends]

Did anyone hear that?

Sounded like…

[door handle rattles]

[bang on door]

[Ciara] There’s someone at the door.

No one move a muscle.

[knocking]

[Daniel] Someone’s out there.

Impossible.

[tapping]

No one can survive the forest after sunset.

This is a trick.

[knocking]

[Madeline] Mina, I know you’re lying

about where you found that bike.

I need you to be honest with me.

Did you break the rules?

[man coughing]

[knocking]

[Ciara] Oh, my God.

[Madeline] Wait.

[light knocking]

John? Is that you?

[John] Yes, honey. Please open the door.

He’s back. John’s back.

[John coughing]

You’re smarter than this, Ciara.

[John] Ciara.

I told you he’d come back.

[John] They’re coming, honey.

[knocking, thumping]

You need to let me inside.

John, I’m opening the doo…

We do not open the door after sunset.

No matter what. That is the rule.

The rules don’t matter anymore, my husband is outside.

[John] Darling, I don’t mean to scare you, but I’m hurt.

Pretty bad. Please.

The Watchers are playing with us, baiting us.

No, I…

[Madeline] This is a trick.

No, I know my husband’s voice. It’s him.

Even if it’s not John,

if there’s someone out there we should help them.

We do not open the door for anyone.

[urgent knocking]

Mina?

[Ciara] John, just wait one second, honey.

[Madeline] Tell me what you did. Tell me where you went.

I went down into a burrow.

My God.

[Daniel] She wasn’t alone. I helped her.

[Madeline] Daniel acts on impulse.

You knew he would follow you. You used him.

You don’t know me.

[Madeline] I see you, Mina.

You are angry, and you are selfish.

You behave like a child.

I’m not supposed to be here, and I’m not staying here.

Do you get that?

I’m the one that’s getting out.

[Ciara] Shut up. Everyone just shut up.

My husband is outside, and I’m opening the door.

Stop, wait.

Wait just one second.

Ask him something only he would know.

[John] Darling, please.

Why?

Now’s not the time to stop trusting me. Do it.

[tapping]

[sniffing]

John?

[panting]

I’m so sorry, honey.

[inhales] What book am I reading?

John?

[John] Book?

I don’t know.

Yes, you do. You do, baby. [sobs]

We bought it at that beautiful bookshop in Dublin.

You knew I’d love it.

You told me it reminded you of me.

[John] Hold me, please.

Just let me inside so I can touch you.

There’s something wrong with him.

Ciara, the Watchers do not spare human life.

You don’t know that.

[Daniel] They’re out there with him, Ciara.

The Watchers are out there.

They come here every night, Ciara.

Every night.

Why would tonight be an exception?

[John] I can hear them.

They’re coming.

John, there’s a camera by your feet.

[Madeline] Ciara.

I need you to pick it up,

I need you to bring it to your face,

so the others can see that it’s you and that you’re alone.

And then I can open the door, and you can come inside.

[Madeline] Ciara!

[panting]

Help me…

John?

John, come back!

[Madeline] Ciara.

Let my husband go! [sobbing]

Johnny…

I’m so sorry.

[growl]

[gasps]

[Madeline] They’re coming. Places.

[static hisses]

[cable snaps]

[Watchers roaring]

[heavy thud on glass]

[heavy banging]

What are they doing?

They’re trying to get in.

[banging]

[angry chittering]

If the glass breaks, this is over for us.

Do you understand what I’m saying?

[Watchers squealing]

[thudding intensifies]

Get behind me.

[banging]

[shrieking, growling]

[growls fade]

We’ll find another way out.

Are you done breaking the rules?

[swirling, overlapping screams]

[indistinct shouting, yelling]

[screams echoing]

[chittering]

[Watcher shrieks]

[loud chittering]

[rustling]

[shrieks fade to silence]

[woman] Mina! Lucy!

Mina, isn’t it the most beautiful day?

Yes, Mother.

[mother] Where’s your sister?

I’m here.

[mother] Come, girls.

I’m feeling like a drive.

[“Four Boys” by Goldberg plays on radio]

[mother] Mina, please roll your window up.

My hair will get all messy.

I don’t understand why you can’t just follow the rules.

[music continues]

[window whirs]

Are you trying to make me upset? I asked you once.

Are you trying to make me upset? I asked you once.

[stammers] You drive me crazy, do you know that?

You drive me crazy, do you know that?

Enough!

[thumps]

[inhales]

I hate you, I hate you!

[fingers crunching]

What are you doing? Are you insane?

[screaming]

What’s going on?

[horn blares]

[crash echoing]

[birds squawking]

[Mina narrating] Winter came,

and the forest was playing with our minds.

Escape no longer seemed like an option.

The days were shorter, the cold was brutal.

We were all beginning to crack.

[Madeline] Hurry up, Daniel. The daylight’s fading.

[Daniel] I’m going as fast as I can.

[Madeline] You’ve become clumsy and you’ve become weak.

We’ll all starve if you don’t catch something soon.

[Daniel] Okay.

[Madeline] Daniel!

Okay!

[Madeline] Hurry up.

[Mina] Are you all right?

Have you eaten anything today?

Danny and Madeline were going at each other again.

I can’t stand the sound of them fighting.

The couple who we have decided to send home…

…is Dom and Tanya.

[contestants gasp]

Oh, my God.

[Tanya] Courtney, no, my head is turned and screwed, I’m sorry.

[woman 2 crying] It’s never easy to see someone go.

But as much as this sucks…

…I’ve shed my tears.

[with tv] You know how it is, the show must go on.

[man] We love you guys.

[Courtney] So much.

[man 2] We love you.

[man 3] Love you.

[Courtney] Love you.

[Daria] I’m sorry, guys.

[contestants on tv hooting, clapping]

[Mina] Ciara!

Ciara!

Ciara, where are you?

Ciara!

[birds squawking]

It’s almost sunset, Ciara. What are you doing?

He was there that night.

Centimeters from me.

But I can feel it now.

I know that he’s gone.

[Mina] You’re not thinking straight.

None of us are.

I should be with him, shouldn’t I?

If they dragged him down there.

Don’t be silly.

I don’t think I’m being silly.

[Daniel screams]

Daniel.

[Mina] He was hunting with Madeline.

I shouldn’t have left them alone.

Daniel!

What are you doing?

The boy has lost his mind.

Untie me, Daniel.

Our rules now.

Wait, Danny.

Just talk to me. Wait!

I told you once that this forest brings out the worst in us all.

We need to get back to the Coop, now.

[Mina] Danny. Daniel!

[Ciara] Daniel, don’t do this. Please.

[whispers] Oh, my God.

Open the door, Daniel.

[Ciara] Danny.

[Daniel] No.

Open the door, Daniel!

[Daniel] We do not open the door for anyone, no matter what.

[birds squawk]

The sun is going down, Daniel.

[Daniel] You should have left her out there, Mina.

Let’s go.

[Watchers growling]

[Mina] We should talk to him. He’s just trying to scare us.

Do not underestimate his anger.

Danny.

Hmm?

Why did you do that?

[Daniel] Something had to change.

Come on, Ciara. The Watchers will be here soon.

[panting]

[panting]

[panting] Look.

It’s rotting.

[Madeline] Let’s hope it’s enough to mask our scent.

The rule is, “Everyone inside by sunset.

All of us, in the light.”

Where are they?

They’ll come, they always come.

[fluttering]

[chittering]

[growling]

[chittering]

[snarling]

[growls]

[shrieks]

[shrieks loudly]

[Watchers chittering]

[footsteps thudding]

[chittering]

[squealing]

Don’t move, it will be okay.

[Watchers growling, shrieking]

They’re not here! They’re not in here with us!

[chittering, screeching]

They’re looking for us. [panting]

[whispers] Let’s go.

[Mina] Daniel!

Danny!

[Madeline] Open the door, Daniel.

Danny, please!

[Madeline] We don’t have much time. Do you understand?

Daniel!

Daniel, please listen to me.

I know that you’re angry.

[Watchers growling faintly]

Did I ever tell you about my sister?

Her name is Lucy.

She tries calling.

Our mom died when we were young.

I’ve never told anyone, but it was my fault.

I don’t think I’m a good person, Daniel.

But you are.

And you don’t know what a thing like this will do to you.

It’ll haunt you for the rest of your life.

Please, Danny, I don’t want to die.

Please.

[shrieking approaches]

[Mina sighs]

How stupid can you be?

Stay away from me.

I should’ve killed you months ago.

Come on, leave him alone.

They’re coming!

[Madeline] We’ve broken too many rules.

In front of the mirror now, everybody.

I told you I’d never lie to you and I haven’t, not really.

But there are some truths that I had hoped to protect you from.

I taught history on the outside.

Folklore, mythology, that kind of thing.

Unlike the rest of you, I came here because I wanted to.

I knew what was inside.

It was only the night I saw one for the first time

that I knew how grave the danger of this place.

You’ve seen one?

I hunted on my own in those days.

The sun was setting as I rushed back to the Coop.

I cut it too close.

Then I heard something.

When I pushed through the trees, well…

I thought I’d finally lost my mind.

[chittering]

[Ciara] What was it? What did you see?

[Madeline] I saw…

…myself.

Not a perfect replica.

Everything was sort of… off.

And it was longer, leaner.

[Ciara] That’s not possible.

The Watchers are a very ancient species,

the things of legend and lore.

They go by many names…

Changelings.

The Winged People.

Fairies.

Fairies?

Yes. This is why they watch us.

[growling]

They’re studying us

so that they can become us.

We are their playthings, their muses.

And that is why they will never let us leave.

[banging on door]

[Ciara’s voice] John?

I’m so sorry, honey.

[heavy knocking]

[Ciara’s voice] What book am I reading?

[breathless] Is that one of them?

[Madeline] Tricky beasts, aren’t they?

[thumping]

[Madeline’s voice] Nightmares. We all get them here.

Come sleep by us.

[thumps]

[Daniel’s voice] Good evening.

What a show we have for you tonight.

Yeah. We’re all on the edge of our seats.

[feet tapping]

[Watchers chittering]

[bangs]

[gasps]

[Mina’s voice] Daniel.

Daniel.

[rapid banging]

Daniel!

They’re going to get in.

[Madeline] The door isn’t going to hold.

Try not to die. [chirps]

[Romeo’s voice] Like, she’s just got that look about her,

that kind of like, feral almost, look.

[Ciara] What’s that?

[sniffing, scratching outside]

[Mina] Oh, my God.

[feet tapping]

[Madeline] Be careful!

There’s something underneath.

[Ciara] Has anyone seen this before?

[Madeline] No!

[Mina] What do we do?

[screeching, banging continue]

[Ciara] Oh, my God.

They’re going to break the glass.

[Madeline’s voice] If you care for your life,

you’re going to have to run.

[banging outside]

[Mina’s voice] I’m not supposed to be here.

I’m the one that’s getting out.

[screeching outside]

It’s a door!

Open it.

[Madeline] Wait! Wait!

[banging continues]

[human-like shouting outside]

[overlapping screams outside]

I’m going down.

[heavy knocking]

Hand me my bird.

[Darwin chirps]

[banging and shrieking outside]

[Darwin chirps]

[banging on door]

[Watchers shrieking]

[banging]

[glass cracking]

[metal creaking]

[glass shatters]

[panting]

[Darwin chirping]

[Daniel grunting]

[Ciara] This was underneath us the entire time!

Look at all of this food!

We can live like this for years. No more hunting.

[Ciara] It looks like someone was studying them.

[Daniel] I guess you didn’t know everything, Madeline.

[computer clicks and whirs]

[Ciara] Can you get a signal?

[Mina] I don’t think so.

[clicks mouse]

[man sighs]

Professor Rory Kilmartin.

24th of September, 2009.

It’s him. The Professor.

[pouring drink]

Today marks the beginning

of my greatest, most singular achievement.

My impenetrable fortress,

here in the center of their habitat.

I call it, “Wonderland.”

They come and see me every night

as I thought they would.

They just stand there at the glass, watching.

Completely still.

It’s almost as if they can’t help themselves.

They are fascinated with me.

[monitor clicks]

[mouse clicking]

[breathes shakily]

0900.

Last night was the worst night yet.

They are mastering me.

At first, they made sizeable mistakes.

They got the proportions of my eyes wrong.

They miscounted the number of my fingers.

But the Watchers are fast learners now.

[ragged breathing]

I think I might have to treat the glass.

[Kilmartin] For years, my colleagues mocked me

as I meticulously planned the creation of Wonderland.

Machines wouldn’t work until I had a generator.

So, I had to rely on manual labor.

Thirteen a day.

No more, no less. That was the rule.

Men from neighboring towns and villages.

Men with no money, no family.

And the end of each day,

I urged them to eat supper outside as I…

…quietly slipped into the bunker,

sealed the hatch,

waited for their screams to subside.

This place was built on the blood of innocent peopl.

All in the pursuit of knowledg, I suppose.

[Ciara] Oh, my God.

One of them appeared to me today

in the form of a child.

A little girl with red hair.

This creature was different from the others.

It was traveling on its own.

It seemed curious, innocent even.

Imagine if you could access all that perverted power.

The power of duplication.

Imagine what one could do.

One could even cheat death.

[Daniel] “Cheat death”? What does he mean?

[Ciara] He’s crazy.

[clicks mouse]

[scraping]

[Kilmartin] Unbelievable.

I’ve done the impossible.

[scraping]

[faint chittering]

[low growling]

I’m not going to hurt you.

[heavy bang]

[Kilmartin] Sh-sh-shhh.

It’s all right.

It’s all right.

You and I are going to be great friends.

My God, you’re magnificent.

[chitters and clicks]

[whispers] What do they call you?

[shrieks]

[shrieks, chitters loudly]

[Ciara] Come on.

We don’t have to watch this.

[mouse scrolling]

Three-hundred days here.

I used to think of myself…

…as some kind of visionary.

But now, when I catch sight of myself in the mirror upstairs,

I’m repulsed at what I see.

I’ve been stripped of all humanity.

The creature I have grown so fond of

is waiting for me upstairs.

One bullet through the heart should do the trick.

Then one for myself.

The boat should be where I left it, shouldn’t it?

On the river, past 134,

where the birds leave the woods.

I know now that it was never meant for me.

If you found your way here,

get to the boat.

Follow the birds.

Go to my office at the university

and destroy everything you find.

Some things are meant to be left in the past.

As for me…

…there is someone I should go and see.

[clicks]

[quiet chittering]

[gunshot]

[gunshot]

[sighs] We’ll leave tomorrow.

[Daniel] What are you doing?

Well, if this is our last night here…

…we are going to dance.

[cassette tape rattles]

[chuckling] We’re not.

[“Young Hearts Run Free” by Candi Staton plays]

Come on.

Come on!

[both laughing]

[Daniel] You’re so lame.

[Ciara] Come on.

[music continues]

[Daniel] No, I don’t want to dance.

[Ciara] You’re good.

[Daniel] Yeah.

[Ciara chuckles]

[music fades]

[Daniel] Daddy was a drunk.

Did you know that?

He shattered my nose twice.

Broke a couple of ribs.

He usually passed out cold on the couch.

So one night I left.

I took the keys to his bike and left.

I thought that if I stayed…

[murmurs]

…I think I would have killed him.

[music continues faintly]

[murmurs]

[Ciara] Daniel.

Hey, hey.

Hey, if we get out of here,

then you can come and stay with me.

Okay?

[rattling, squeaking]

[loud thump]

[air hisses]

[grunts]

Everyone ready?

It’s time to go.

[Madeline] The forest will do everything in its power

to keep us inside.

To distract us from our path.

Remember what is real and what is not.

We move together as one.

[Madeline] This is it.

No turning back.

[Mina whispering] Come on, Darwin.

We’ll follow your lead.

[Darwin chirps]

[Daniel] There’s something there. Up ahead.

[Mina] What is that?

[Madeline] Unbelievable.

This must be where the fairies were imprisoned.

It is said that they once lived among us as gods,

the bridge between nature and man.

But over time, the power of the changelings

began to frighten us.

Human and Fey were at war.

They were banished to a tomb deep underground,

sealed in by a great door

that prevented them from ever returning the way they came in.

[human-like screaming]

[screams stop, echoing]

[Madeline] For centuries, they clawed towards the surface

only to discover they had lost their wings, their magic,

and could never leave this forest.

We need to keep moving.

[breathing heavily]

It’s so cold.

We’ll make it. Stay with us.

[Madeline] Stay with us.

[giggling]

[young Mina] Hey, Lucy, you’re going too fast.

[Darwin chirps]

It’s getting dark, Madeline.

[Madeline] We still have time.

[rain pattering]

We’ll never make it in this.

[Madeline] We have to.

Stay close, everyone. Stay close.

[Darwin squawks]

Keep moving.

We’ll be there any minute, I can feel it.

Any minute.

[birds screeching]

[Watchers growling]

[Madeline] We need to run. Let’s go.

[growls, screeches]

[Madeline] Keep moving!

[Daniel grunts]

[screeching]

[Madeline] Don’t look back.

[all panting]

[Madeline] We’re almost there.

[Ciara] We’re almost there. [gasps]

[Ciara] Danny, hurry up!

[Madeline] Don’t stop!

[Daniel] Oh, there it is.

[Daniel chuckles] We’re out.

We actually made it out. We made it out!

[Daniel, Ciara laughing]

[Mina] There’s the boat.

[Watchers screeching]

[Madeline] Go! Go.

[man] Daniel!

Wait!

Hey!

Daniel.

[women gasping]

[chain rattles]

[all grunt]

I can’t get the chain.

Coming.

[exhales]

Wait, where… where’s Daniel?

[Daniel grunting]

[Daniel groans]

[Daniel] John.

John, Ciara’s worried.

Daniel, it’s not John!

Ciara’s gonna be so happy.

[Ciara] It’s not him!

[John double] Daniel, please, take me with you.

Oh, my God, he can’t hear us.

I’m going to get him!

We don’t have time.

[grunts]

Daniel! Run! It’s not John!

[Daniel] Come on, John, get up.

[screams]

Daniel!

Get in the boat!

Daniel, run! Daniel!

Daniel!

[John double speaks Old Gaelic]

[Daniel screams]

We’ll wait as long as we can. Get in the boat.

[Ciara gasps]

[Watcher chittering]

[gasps]

Look away. Look away.

[Ciara cries]

[gulps, groans]

[Ciara] Daniel!

[body thuds]

Can they swim?

[Madeline] They cannot leave the forest.

[Mina] Are you sure?

[Madeline] I’m sure.

[screeching]

[screech echoes]

[birds tweeting]

[Darwin chirps]

[vehicle approaches]

[Mina] Wake up.

Wake up.

[horn honks]

Are you ladies all right?

Where is this bus going?

This bus goes all the way to Galway.

Can you take us there?

[radio plays Celtic music quietly]

[engine revs]

[music continues quietly]

Excuse me, sir.

Could you turn that up?

[“School Days Over” by The Chieftains playing]

[Mina] I’ll go to the university tomorrow,

and I’ll do as Kilmartin asked, and…

…we can just put this all behind us.

Okay.

Okay.

Okay.

[music continues]

[horn honks]

[music fades]

[quiet crying]

[young Mina] Lucy.

What happened?

What’s wrong with Mom?

[panting]

[young Lucy] Mina, why did you do that?

[crying] Mommy. Mommy, please.

[birds tweeting]

[people chattering]

[young woman] So, normally, they would have vacated the office.

Given it to a class or something.

But a group of students started a fund

to keep your uncle’s research as it was.

They say he really believed it all.

He did.

Oh, there he is.

Old Uncle Rory.

[chuckles]

I’ll be outside if you need anything.

[Kilmartin through speaker] Article 14,

a scroll from the university archives.

A detailed account of the time before the war.

A time before the Fey were wingless, feral beasts.

Life with the fairies was a golden era in the age of man.

They lived among us as guardians, friends, even mates.

Those half-blooded children,

born of both man and fairy, changed everything.

They were particularly skilled in the art of transformation.

Even replicating those that had passed on.

But when the humans cursed and banished the fairie,

what became of the halflings?

History has deemed their bloodline extinct.

But it is yet to be proven.

With their power, think of what we could create.

Who we could bring back.

I leave for the forest one week from today.

Yeah, I think this is it. Thank you.

Hi.

[Mina] Hi.

I have to show you something.

Okay.

Kilmartin’s office was left completely as it was.

Totally untouched.

There were a lot of papers about the Coop, Watchers, the forest.

I took as much of it as I could.

And I found these.

I don’t understand, that’s…

[whispers] Madeline.

I asked the front desk, and…

…Rory Kilmartin was married to a woman.

Her name was Madeline.

She would have told us if she was his wife.

There’s one more thing.

What is this?

It’s an obituary.

Madeline Kilmartin, the woman in the photos…

She died.

In 2001, from lung cancer.

No.

He had one of them down there in the bunker with him.

Maybe there was a reason.

It’s impossible.

We heard him kill it, didn’t we?

He knew what they could do, that they could change form.

Maybe he thought that he could bring his wife back.

That he could make a new Madeline.

But they can’t walk in the sunlight.

Well, she must be different from the others.

She’s one of them, Ciara.

Madeline is a Watcher.

[Ciara] Where is she?

Shouldn’t she be here by now?

She’ll come.

They always come.

We brought a monster out here, Ciara.

We have to send her back.

[fluttering, buzzing]

[Mina] It’s so quiet.

[vehicle approaches]

[Ciara] Who is that?

[door closes]

You’re not Ciara.

I haven’t gotten it quite right.

But I will in time.

Are you here to kill us?

I’m here to become you.

[object thuds]

[Mina] Madeline. [gasps]

Mina?

Run, Ciara!

[soft thud]

[gasps]

[John’s voice] Honey.

[gasps]

We were like gods once.

It is because of humans

that we were smothered under dirt for centuries.

Choking, breaking,

forced to claw through the earth like bugs.

[Daniel’s voice] You are no different, Mina.

You are controlled by your hatred, your jealousy.

You cannot be trusted now that you know my secret.

[Mina] I won’t tell anyone, I promise.

I would never hurt you, Madeline.

[Daniel’s voice] Humans have made me promises before.

[panting] You took care of us. You protected us.

We were like a family in the Coop.

You were my pets.

I was studying you up close.

That’s not true.

I know you, Madeline.

I’m grateful to you, Mina.

Without you, I would have been trapped

in that forest for an eternity.

A prisoner just like the rest of youse.

[Mina gasps, grunts]

[Madeline] All my life I dreamed of making it

to the world beyond the woods.

[Mina grunts]

[Madeline] You have no idea

how much the others made me suffer.

Ainriochtán was the name they gave me at my birth.

The Strange One.

The Daywalker.

The Deformity.

[stretching, bones cracking]

When the Professor came to the forest,

I thought things might finally change.

[voice distorting] He promised he would show me the way out.

[Kilmartin’s voice] Then the bastard tried to shoot me.

I had no choice but to kill him.

I will not be betrayed again, Mina.

[bones cracking]

Ciara!

[gasps]

[Mina’s voice] You can’t run anymore, Mina.

Let’s end this as equals.

[growls]

[gasps]

I am Ainriochtán.

The Daywalker.

The one to make it out.

I will walk amongst the humans in your body.

No one will notice the difference.

I can take away all your suffering.

[Mina gasping]

You don’t have to do this. [gasps]

Look at yourself, Mina.

You abandoned your sister.

[gasps]

You killed your own mother.

Are you really worth saving?

[groans]

Kilmartin never told you, did he?

What?

He never told you why you can walk in the daylight.

Why you could leave the forest when the others couldn’t.

[grunts]

What are you talking about?

There was a recording at the university.

I think I understand it now.

Our kinds used to live as one.

Some even fell in love and had children.

Kilmartin called them halflings.

I think the reason that you can walk in the daylight

is because you’re not just a Watcher, Madeline.

You’re also part human.

I don’t believe you.

You must have felt it.

That you never really belonged.

You know what it is to be human, don’t you? [panting]

It’s jealousy and hatred.

But it’s also love and forgiveness.

[voice distorting] Mina, stop it.

I know what it’s like to believe you’re a monster.

I know what it’s like to feel that half of you is evil.

[groaning]

[bones cracking]

It can turn you into something that you don’t recognize.

[groans]

You don’t know me. [croaks]

I think there are others like you out there.

What if you could find them?

[gasping]

[Mina] We don’t have to be alone anymore.

[low, howling shriek echoing]

[Madeline] I hope you’re right, Mina.

[chittering]

Ciara.

Ciara, wake up.

Please. Ciara.

[grunts]

I… I heard John’s voice.

I know. I’m here.

[Mina] Feels like a dream…

…those days we spent in the forest.

I think Madeline still hangs around, watching me.

She takes different forms.

A little girl sometimes.

I see her in crowds.

Someone where something’s just a little off.

Sometimes I think I’m going crazy.

Knowing there are others like her out there.

I just hope she finds what she’s looking for.

Well, it’s over now, Meens.

You went through something traumatic,

it’s normal to still be afraid.

But you’re safe now.

[Mina] I know.

You’re right.

I’m so glad you’re here, Lucy.

[footsteps approach]

[giggling]

What is this?

Can you show Auntie Mina?

What is this?

It’s a picture of you and Darwin.

I love it. It’s perfect.

[squawking]

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