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I'm in a pre-development stage of making a horror film (filmed

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I'm in a pre-development stage of making a horror film (filmed in one location). In short it's about a person (Marc) who is on the verge of breaking point due to weeks of being watched by an unnatural looking man (called The Man Outside) through the window, and only Marc can see him.

I always liked the idea that The Man Outside would never physically harm Marc, but focus groups and questionnaires suggest that The Man Outside should hurt him.. Purely because it's a horror. Even my own friends think it sounds boring. This annoys me. There's more than just death and violence.

What are some ideas I could do that would please both myself and the audience? Or if i'm to be completely defiant, how can I expand on The Man Outside doing nothing but still remain creepy?

Pic related, source of inspiration ('cept outside)
The idea is cool, but ultimately you cannot do a whole horror movie with that idea, there has to be some sort of escalation.

If you really want the man to be harmless, I suggest you escalate by making Marc increasing paranoid and delusional. Provide some auditory hallucinations, eventually visual.
You'll also need a way to end it in a way that is satisfying for the audience. Marc can end up hurting himself, or someone else in his delusion.

Good luck
That sounds boring as shit, you should be ashamed of yourself
this. there NEEDS to be death and violence
Marc could be driven to hurt himself by the psychological torment inflicted on him by the constant watching of The Man Outside.
Or, Marc could start eventually becoming so crazy from the constant watching that he starts to hallucinate that he sees the man inside, hurting him, when he's really hurting himself. There could be scenes of Marc struggling with the Man Outside, inside the house, where it cuts back and forth between Marc's perspective and what's really happening (Marc's perspective shows the Man Outside trying to hurt him, what's really happening is Marc's fighting a figment of his imagination and is harming himself, like cutting himself or whatever). Or they don't have to be struggling. I got this idea from this one scene in the horror film "Martyrs." And if you really want to rip that film off, you could even come up with a back story as to why Marc is being haunted psychologically, like what crazy thing happened in his past to make him start hallucinating this and harming himself and you could gradually reveal that backstory throughout the film. Or keep the audience guessing as to whether or not the Man Outside is real or imaginary, and you could reveal at the end whether he is or not, or leave it up to the audience (though personally, I wouldn't like it if it was left open to interpretation). If you're going to reveal whether he's imaginary or not, consider leaving some subtle foreshadowing beforehand, to add to the value of re-watching.
Those are some options that could potentially please you and the audience, hope this helps.
Forgot to mention it's gonna be under 10 minutes, but it could still work.
Also I should probably stop calling it a 'horror'
Oh and I forgot to mention, it's possible to have the Man Outside be real, not imaginary, but every time the Man Outside appears inside, he's a figment of Marc's imagination. I dunno, that seems sort of dumb, but it's an idea.
either way the audience wouldn't know for sure
Thank you OP for recognizing that horror and slasher are two different genres. No need for gore in a good horror movie.

I like the twist of never knowing exactly who or what the man outside is. Reminiscent of "Secret Window", although in that movie the questions are answered.

But, as mentioned above, even a short movie has to go somewhere. Make us care about the protagonist Quickly build tensions. You might look at some of the better Rod Serling 'Twilight Zone" episodes for inspiration.
There's no need for him to physically harm him for it to be horror. Psychological horror is a thing - most of the Blair Witch Project involves you freaking yourself out, for example.
The man can't hurt him but Marc doesn't know it, so it drives him nuts and after his life falls apart he realized it was all for nothing because he was never in any danger besides the one be created for himself
Of course, you would only find out he can't hurt him at the end, suggest that Marc's fuck ups are somehow caused by this man outside, but never directly say it
OP have you seen "It follows"? You should just copy that movie.
You do need some sort of escalation, but it doesn't need to be violence.

You can (as others have suggested) make Marc an "unreliable narrator" of sorts. Even if he isn't the narrator, have him experience things that -in the end- are shown to be imaginary.

You can also go the loss-of-control route where The Man Outside somehow heavily influences the actions of Marc. This can be anything from complete body takeover (as in Insidious) to the The Man Outside simply manipulating Marc into doing things he otherwise wouldn't (as in Othello or The Shining).

Regardless, you don't need violence for suspense or escalation, but you need to have suspense and escalation even if the movie is only ten minutes.
Nothing freaks me out more than degenerative mental disorders.

Because they are very real, very possible monsters in our lives and they can be horrifying.

I think it would be interesting to make a movie about the gradual degenerative mental well being of a person. The blend of a sick mind and a twisted reality. How can a normally functioning person be driven to insanity and why?

My uncle has severe schizophrenia and dementia. He once freaked out when my grandparents accepted a mirror from my neighbor after she died. He believed that mirrors contained people souls who watched you and haunted you.

Also, one of my friend's aunts were afflicted by schizophrenia but she ended up killing herself via drug overdose. They didn't find her until three weeks later, in the bathtub, full of water. Apparently she had left videos and letters up until that point. Her mother won't let her see those videos/writings and I can't imagine how disturbing they are.

Talking about these things freaks me out as mental disorders are incredibly common in my family.
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