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VIRAL

The ghost of a teenager cyberbullied into suicide haunts the internet as a social-network virus that turns abused kids into killers who take revenge against bullies. When a smart but family-troubled geek fights back and succumbs to the cyberghost, his father has to intervene to save his son.

In a fast opening montage, geeky misfit TED FARKOVICH (16) is bullied in high school and cyberbullied on social network “Flitter” (a fictionalized Facebook), driven to committing a very public suicide – he hangs himself from the top of a school building during a lightning storm. Strange events transpire.

The whole school witnesses the suicide, including nerd hero MATT SANDERS (16), his buddy HANK (16), Matt’s girlfriend and student-president candidate AMY (16)…jock bully FRANKIE (17), mean-girl queen BRIE (16) and fellow jock SPIKE (17), three of Ted’s bullies…and a mysterious punker girl, VIDA (16).

The day after, domestic tensions develop between Matt and his school-counselor dad JACK (40’s), whose wife fled the family six months ago. A sore point between them. The two struggle to communicate, while Jack dates a new flame, DENISE (40’s), much to Matt’s resentment.

At lunch in the school cafeteria, Matt and Hank witness the bullying by Frankie and Brie of homely science geek SYBIL (14). Hot cheerleader BRITNEY (16) entertains the lunch crowd with a campaign speech, running for student president. Her opponent Amy delivers a tough speech about students’ rights against bullies, citing Ted’s suicide. When the bullies start to throw food at Amy, Matt rushes to her defense, despite his fear of them.

On the football field, Matt and Hank observe Frankie’s sadistic beat-down of puny freshman JOSH (15). They consort with Hank’s sister JENNIFER (15), whose stuck-up gal pal HEATHER (15) is someone whom Hank totally despises.

We eavesdrop on teens’ bedrooms at night, chatting, webcaming, gaming, sexting, and the online world of Flitter. Matt, despite his dad’s disapproval of this site, chats with cybergeek buddies Hank and Josh about nerds avenging themselves against bullies. Josh claims he could easily kill Frankie. He’s interrupted by “D.O.A.”, a secret online-club link inviting him to join – mesmerizing him with unseen images.

Alone on the gym field after football practice, Frankie is attacked by his victim Josh, who’s transformed with inhuman strength and red-glowing eyes. Josh hangs impales the jock with a javelin, then sinks into an inexplicable coma. The first of many grisly murders.

In biology class, Matt confers with Hank about the bizarre homicide. Hank plans to hack into Josh’s Flitter page and sort out the mystery. During this, mean queen Brie again torments ugly Sybil. The bullying continues outside in the hall, observed by a security camera with a Terminator-like red eye…a ghostly presence.

A second gruesome murder ensues, after Sybil (like Josh) is lured by the D.O.A. secret-club virus on her laptop. Brie and her boyfriend DOUG (17) sneak into the science classroom at night to make out. Doug is k.o.’d in the darkness. Then Brie is attacked by an over-adrenalized, red-eyed Sybil. A vicious battle ensues, Sybil dousing Brie with lab acid. She decapitates her with a scalpel, then passes out into a coma.

A full-on police investigation begins, students interrogated, while the news media goes into a frenzy over these bully-related killings. Parents and the whole town are shocked, scared and outraged, in particular Matt’s dad Jack.

At home, father and son lock heads over Matt’s constant texting on Flitter. Avoiding the heated topic of Mom’s desertion, Jack forces Matt into a restaurant dinner with his new girlfriend Denise. The dinner is a disaster, while Matt is hounded by urgent messages from Hank to come to his house. Matt sneaks off.

In his attic bedroom, Hank hacks into murderers Josh’s and Sybil’s Flitter sites and shares with Matt a shocking discovery: dead Ted Farkovich is a cyberghost, haunting the internet, hypnotizing kids into killing the bullies who tormented him. D.O.A., a virus program called “Demons of Avengement”, is the key to a puzzle that includes a webcam feed of Ted’s bullied friend Vida goading him to make a death list and seek extreme revenge. Matt and Hank make a pact to solve the mystery.

But when Matt leaves him alone, the D.O.A. link catches Hank off guard and lures him with hypnotic visuals – penetrating his eyes with a red pulsar beam. His sister’s friend Heather spies on him and accuses him of watching porn. Hank transforms and attacks her – he hurls her out the attic window to her death. Then he sinks into a coma, ending up in the hospital’s trauma ward with comatose Josh and Sybil.

Faced with a third murder, by his own best friend, Matt sets out to solve this mystery alone and confront the supernatural force behind these killings – the electronic ghost of Ted. Meanwhile, the virus spreads into an all-out massacre on the school campus – Revenge of the Nerds on a horrific scale, dozens of bullied kids turning homicidal on bullies in bloody fashion. The school and the whole town, go on a mass alert. Parents blame violent video games, violent movies and media and, above all, the Flitter network.

As terror mounts, Matt tracks down Vida and discovers an even more shocking revelation. She reveals Ted’s death list from Hell, the names of all bullies being eliminated one by one by his chosen assassins. Matt finds his own girlfriend Amy on the death list – herself once guilty of cyberbullying Ted, despite her anti-bully crusade. Now she’s targeted for murder along with the others.

What Matt doesn’t anticipate is that he too has been chosen by Ted’s cyberghost to kill a bully. But which one? Amy, the girl he loves? By the climax, he succumbs to the D.O.A. virus – plunged into the digital nightmare world of Ted’s Chat Room Hell. Only his estranged father Jack, Amy and Vida can save Matt from a terrible fate.

Script Excerpt
Written by:
Format:
Screenplay
Budget:
Modest
Starring Roles For:
Michael Cera

Posted:
09/03/2009
Updated:
01/01/2020
Author Bio:
ANTON DIETHER is the writer of the Hallmark TV miniseries Moby Dick, the highest-rated long-form show in basic cable history, nominated for five Emmys and two Golden Globe Awards; ABC-TV miniseries Cleopatra; and Hallmark miniseries Stranded. Anton developed Beauty and the Beast for Fox, Land of Oz for Disney, Gold Fever for Phoenix Pictures, Operation Greylord for Showtime, Lost At Sea for TNT; currently Gang of Dreams TV miniseries for Little Studio Films, The Revolt for Revolt Prods, Taj Mahal for Threshold Ent.

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