A documentary filmmaker follows a working class recluse from Scotland who can control his environment through the power of sound

Over a fractured timeline we witness a documentary filmmaker’s struggle to reconcile with a recluse subject. Directed by Nick Scott, ‘Headcleaner’ is an ambitious film that revolves around sound sensory. Things turn near paranormal as the filmmaker discover a found footage tape of a sonic weapon called The Drone Tape; A weapon that tested on humans in the seventies. A discovery that will ultimately lead to horrific consequences for the filmmaker’s family and the world at large.

It really came about as I think the idea has huge potential for a feature or a series

Obviously there are films old and new about ‘sound’ and there are recent ‘sensory’ offerings like Bird Box and A Quiet Place – even short films that have the combination of zombies and sonics. However I felt this idea was different because from the get go there’s a very strong explanation and rationale of exactly ‘How’ this sonic weapon comes into being.

I’d had the idea for a long time (as we know how long it can take to get these sorts of things finished) so when things like Overlord were released, I worried that my idea would be redundant.

Thankfully it isn’t, the Nazi backstory is really the ‘origins’ that defines a strong and believable source of a weapon that could alter humans – Particularly given that it’s explained that the weapon wasn’t defined to be a zombie making machine, but was actually designed to indoctrinate and pacify areas of conflict.

The vfx (for the drone found footage tape and the macabre Scenes in the nazi flashback) I ended up having to do myself. I say ended up, they were actually done first and took SOOO long that it felt like a film within a film. At one point I did manage to have a dedicated vfx supervisor but he had to drop out.

Sit back and enjoy this as you would a Netflix film

The thirty minute timeline may seem frightening, but sit back and enjoy this as you would a Netflix film. The storyline in ‘Headcleaner’ only grows in depth and suspense as the story carries forward. Holding several layers of stories and backstories, we easily get captivated by the narrative’s attention to detail. The production qualities also help keep the audience aligned throughout with ease. The general photography and sound design stand out as the cast delivers a rock steady performance.

In terms of casting I originally wrote it with a well known older Scottish actor in mind. Who seemed to be the only person capable of playing such a role. Then I saw Ken Loach’s ‘ I, Daniel Blake’ and Malcolm Shields just WAS George. I contacted him on Twitter and he was such a sweet guy. He’s given so much time and energy to the project, especially as it was shot in the London area and Malcolm lives hundreds of miles away in Newcastle. So he would travel down for each shooting block.

Malcolm was originally the stage version of Begbie in Trainspotting and Irvine Welsh still cites him as the definitive version. It was between Malcolm and Ewan McGregor for the screen role. But when McGregor won a BAFTA for a TV show he just edged it.

He’s an awesome actor that should be in my opinion a bit more of a household name – So I’m hoping he has a resurgence.