The Skeptic is a 2009 Psychological Horror film written and directed by Tennyson Bardwell, starring Tim Daly, Zoe Saldana, and Tom Arnold in a story of a lawyer and confirmed skeptic who inherits a haunted house and has to confront the ghosts of his past.
This film exhibits the following tropes:
- Abusive Parents: Beckett doesn't remember much about his mother due to suppressing his memories of her abuse, including causing his mother to fall down the stairs to her death in revenge when he was five.
- Agent Scully: Beckett is the eponymous Skeptic in the movie's title. He's not prejudiced either. He doesn't believe in ghosts, religion, or psychiatry. By the end of the film, he's become much more the believer.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Dr. Koven believes in psychics and in chi, but not in ghosts.
- Death by Falling Over: Beckett's mother died by falling down a staircase in the house and possibly Beckett himself by the same method.
- Haunted House: The central premise of the movie is that Beckett inherited his Aunt's house, and he's increasingly convinced that it's haunted.
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Was the house haunted? The movie leaves it ambiguous as to whether it was really the ghost of Beckett's mother, or hallucinations based on lack of sleep and psychological issues.
- Staircase Tumble: This is how Beckett's mother died and possibly how Beckett himself dies.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Beckett doesn't remember how his mother died. Indeed, he doesn't remember much at all about her, being at the age of 5 when she died.