Returning from a tense Thanksgiving dinner with his wife and daughter, Joanne and Peri, Ray Monroe stops at a gas station so his little girl could use the restroom. While his girls used the restroom, he goes into the store to get his wife a Coke and his daughter replacement batteries for her music player. He also picks some alcohol for himself. About to pay, he learns that the shop doesn't accept plastic; and the cash he had on him could only pay for two of the items.
But his wife had asked for a Coke, and his daughter needed her batteries. And after all that tension at his in-laws who he's sure had never liked him and all that load from his wife about how he never fights for anything anymore and how deteriorated their relationship had gotten and how broken they now were as a couple, Ray badly needed a drink: a decision that he's visibly having two thoughts about making, we see.
Returning from the restroom, his wife asks about the batteries for their daughter's player, and Ray tells her the store didn't have any. His daughter announces now that she'd lost her compact, so Joanne opts to go look for it in the restroom and asks that Ray looks in the backseat. While searching in the backseat for Peri's compact, Ray spills his drink on the whole seat and lets out a frustrated cuss.
Meanwhile, his daughter, who he had told to wait outside the car while he searched for her toy, has ventured a little ways off where she'd been told to wait and is now at a construction site right by the gas station, and now a dog has appeared from nowhere and she's obviously scared. She calls out for her dad but he's so caught up mopping the coffee off the seat that he doesn't hear her right away. By the time Ray looks up, Peri has already backed so perilously close to an edge, even as the dog inches closer. Shouting at her daughter to stop moving, Ray grabs a stone and throws it at the dog to scare it away, but the movement of the dog scares Peri even more and she tumbles over the edge; Ray lunges for her but it's too late. They both fall over.
Minutes later, Joanne appears, frantic. Ray has momentarily blacked out, and so could not hear his wife beyond the fog in his head; but then she smacks him into coherence, all the while freaking out and asking what had happened. Still frozen, he watches her reach for their daughter, and then he snaps out of his daze and goes to his daughter too. They suspect she'd broken an arm, and was in a lot of pain, and so begins the race to the hospital: something the wife is thankful for--the speed, because Ray is such a painfully slow driver.
Fast forward to the hospital, and there's a queue. After a while, with more tension flowing between husband and wife, their name gets called, and then there's this admissions nurse asking for details--from fairly relevant to absolutely not. And if you hadn't thought this hospital was creepy from the grey/white lighting and the gloomy background music and the weirdly conducted staff and the shady EMT activities shown through the window, this nurse all but insisting that Peri be listed for organ donation is where you start to worry. I mean, she was here for a broken arm! After more awkward detail pulling anyway, the nurse declares that they do not accept Ray's kind of health insurance. And so he had to pay cash.
A little more waiting and then the doctor appears to look Peri over, making weird jokes and commenting on how six year old Peri's eyes were the most beautiful eyes he'd ever seen. Not creepy or anything. He gets done with Peri's arm and insists on a CAT scan to be sure there's no head injury from the fall. He also asks that Ray let them look him over since his head is also bleeding but Ray insists he's fine, that they should just take care of his little girl. And so he watches the doctor and a nurse get into the elevator with his wife and daughter.
Next, we see Ray wake up and the waiting room is as good as deserted. He goes to use the bathroom and we see that his head's been 'treated'. He then goes to the front desk to ask the nurse--a different one this time because the staff has obviously changed shifts--about his family who he'd checked in at mid morning. The nurse asks him to go sit while she checks on his family. And so he goes to wait, only to return minutes later to find that the nurse hadn't even so much as looked his name up. He gets mad, plants a fist on the desk, and that gets her attention. So she looks his name up, no record. She calls the lab, gets nothing. The hospital has nothing on his wife or daughter: no record that they ever checked in to the hospital at any time. Only one CAT scan had been done that day, too, and it'd been on a sixty-two year old patient, before the time Ray claims he got to the hospital. No payment receipt either, and the nurse is certain she's never heard of the hospital accepting cash.
And so all hell breaks loose. With the new staff on duty trying to convince Ray that he was obviously disoriented from his head trauma, and he insisting that his head was very much clear and that he'd watched the elevator take his wife and daughter "downstairs". After tons of argument and Ray putting all the images his brain had collected from when they'd stepped into the hospital together, he resorts to creating a scene and demanding that the doctor who had treated his daughter be called back in.
Things get heated, security shows up, the staff insists that they don't have a downstairs anything and that Ray's befuddled mind must be conjuring things; and the next thing you see, Ray is being rough-handled and getting injected with a sedative and getting locked in a room from which he manages to break out after slapping himself to clarity. He also manages to escape security and get outside of the hospital, and thankfully runs into two police officers who listen to him and then usher him back into the hospital, demanding that the staff answer this man's questions about his wife and daughter who he claims went into the hallways of the hospital and never came out.
More back and forth, still no record of any Joanne or Peri Monroe. Not even the sheet on which Ray had signed in when he'd come in that morning. The officers weren't leaving until someone explained what the hell was going on though, and then Ray sights the weird admissions nurse, and then the doctor who had attended to his daughter--both of who insisted they had in fact seen Ray that morning, but he had come in to be treated for a head injury: sans wife or kid. I shouted too.
Anyway, hospital security shows up again, takes Ray and the police officer into the CCTV room, then plays the video of the front desk and the waiting area; says the camera would at least have a record of whatever the staff or the sign-in sheet missed. Camera recording plays, we see Ray, the waiting area, the front desk, Ray signing in, Ray angrily smacking the table, everything and everyone, minus Ray's wife and daughter. But Ray still insists that his wife and daughter are in there somewhere. I insisted too. I mean, I fucking saw them!
Enters the hospital's shrink now. And from the details the admissions nurse had gathered from that health insurance interrogation: Ray's history features a drinking problem; he gets 'black out' episodes in which he loses time patches; his first wife had died eight years ago, in a car accident; she'd been pregnant; Ray had been driving; he'd been drunk.
The shrink gets to Ray, and now she's asking him to tell her what happened before the "car accident." Ray replies that it hadn't been a car accident, Peri had fallen at a construction site. Shrink apologizes, says she's only going by what's on Ray's "file," then asks him to tell her what he "remembers," and then she proceeds to ask about Ray's dead wife, Abby--who the shrink "gathered" was who Ray had said he was here for. And then of course the alcohol question enters, had Ray "been drinking before the accident?" She asks. And it all just goes dipshit from there because now there's all this evidence from Ray's past throwing the dust on his present claims. And what's worse, there's an expert to link it all and prove that what Ray was seeing today was through the foggy lenses of his clouded albeit traumatic past. And it just so happens that he's sporting a head injury at the moment, and all the connection proof he's got for what he's sure happened is his daughter's lil yellow muffler stained with blood.
But the shrink is still asking, with the police as witness, that what if Ray's head trauma has thrown him back into a previous experience? Or what if something had happened to his wife and child and his mind is unwilling to register the actual incident because Ray had lost his family once before and as such couldn't handle it happening all over again? Especially if that something had happened by Ray's own hands because he'd snapped from all the frustration before the accident and all that pent up tension between him and his wife: so could it be that this whole hospital conspiracy scenario is his mind's alternate-reality way of dealing with the trauma?
"There was no dog, was there, Ray?" She asks. "There was no 'accident'. You were upset. At yourself, at your wife, you grabbed a rock..."
This was where I threw my toast at my plate and slammed my PC shut. Because I just couldn't anymore; my mind just kept screaming, "Too soon! Too soon!" Lmao. But ain't it just utterly maddening though, when your own history gets used to so convincingly invalidate you?
Watch the movie and let me know how it ends, would ya?
P.S: I'm kidding! I finished the stupid movie. And I hated the fractured fuckedupness of it.