The Foothill (2021). A Short Film by Carl Newton.

Written & Directed by Carl Newton, Starring Carl Newton.

With nearly a year of lockdowns behind us, one of the things that's inspired me the most is how creative people can be when bored. These creative types (and I’m not talking about Gal Gadot and her mega-rich buddies, banging out an ill-judged rendition of Imagine) have got busy turning their abundance of free time into something that everyone can enjoy. Whether it be books, music or in this case film, I’m sure we can all agree that the pandemic would have been far duller without them.

I’ve known Carl for some time, now. Back in the 90s, our two bands played many a gig together, including time on the road, packed into the back of a transit van as we embarked on a tour of the UK. You only really know somebody when you’ve spent an extended period of time, breathing in their beer farts.

While better known for his guitar playing ability, Carl decided to have a go at making a short film. He contacted me a few days ago and asked that I take a look, and I have to say, I was more than a little impressed.

The Foothill is a simple, zero budget effort. Just shy of thirteen minutes long and boasting no special effects or jump scares, Foothills is less about what you see and all about what you hear.

Our plucky hero (Carl Newton) decides to get a little fresh air and exercise by going for a ramble in the titular foothills. It’s been snowing, so armed with a woolly hood and half a ciggie, off he goes, filming his adventure on his phone. As he ventures deeper into the woodland, it soon becomes evident that Carl isn’t alone. Whatever it is that’s followed him sounds very big and extremely pissed off.

"Mumble, mumble. Fuck, fuck. Northern accent, mumble, fuck."

As I mentioned before, the film is a simple one. Don’t expect to catch a glimpse of whatever is stalking our protagonist. The clever use of sound effects gives us all the clues we need, to know that Carl is in deep shit. Most of the film is of Carl wandering through town, documenting his walk, as he mumbles “fuck” to himself because he only took half a smoke with him, or he’s stumbled upon some deeply unsettling, bloodstained snow.

The snowy landscapes really help add a feeling of creepy isolation to the film, as does the fact that this was filmed during a global pandemic. With everyone busy staying at home, the idea that you could be alone and in trouble, so close to your hometown, is perfectly credible.

The end credits tease a follow-up film, titled ‘The Building,’ and I very much look forward to it.

I’ve included a link to the film, below. It’s on YouTube and it’s free, so, head on over there and check it out: