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Chasing Demons

Feature, psychological thriller

One injustice can lead to another.


DIANE, 32, seduces a high school student at her daughter VICKY’s 16th birthday party. However, Diane is confounded when her parents show up because she hasn’t seen them since they kicked her out when she became pregnant. They demand that she go away to the family cottage on Gyre Island for a few weeks alone.

ERNIE, a Fisherman, ferries Diane across to the island. They reminisce about their childhood together and especially their wrestling matches. When Diane asks about the island’s name, Ernie tells of a hanging on the island in the 1860’s. SAMUEL murdered his infant and attacked the white master of the house. He was caught and hanged on the island: “gyre” means “demon”.

Alone on the island, Diane is plagued by a recurring nightmare, a flashback to when she was raped when she was a teenager. All she saw of her rapist is a small scar on his chin. Now her only contact with the outside world is Ernie, who motors past every day. Right after he warns her of an impending storm, a rowboat drifts close carrying an injured man. JAMES, mid-thirties, has a swollen tongue and can’t talk. Diane nurses and bathes the man, and when he becomes aroused she has sex with him – against his will. James suffers a seizure. Afterwards, Diane learns he has an inoperable, terminal brain tumour. When she shaves James she discovers the scar and realizes that he is the rapist. She flees the Island in his rowboat but the storm is full-blown and she nearly drowns. James rescues her from the pounding waves. Trapped together by the storm, James reveals that he visited her parents’ home looking for her to be forgiven. At her parents’ he discovered that Diane became pregnant when he raped her. He demands to meet their daughter, Vicky.

After the storm abates, Vicky arrives with Ernie. Diane asks Vicky if she’d want to meet her father, even if the man was a rapist. Guessing that her father is in the cabin, Vicky races in and discovers Ernie, and meets James. When Ernie starts to rough-house with Diane, Vicky assumes that he’s the rapist. In an attempt to defend her mother, Vicky kills Ernie. To protect the girl, Diane and James concoct a story about Ernie being washed overboard in the stormy sea. They bury the body and return, all three bound together by another secret.