PANIC: Director’s Notes

PANIC: Director’s Notes

Panic is a thriller that follows a young man suffering with depression. As the narrative unfolds and we get to know our protagonist, Dylan, we see how mental illness distorts his world view and creates a claustrophobic and volatile environment for him. The tension builds as Dylan’s depression spirals out of control and we end on a dark and unsettling climax.

The awareness and importance of mental health is slowly on the rise, but it’s taking a long time to really gain the attention it needs. By its very nature depression often inhibits communication and has a stigma of ‘weakness’ about it, that stops those afflicted from speaking out or looking for help. This needs to change. I hope Panic can act as a catalyst for discussion and debate about mental health.


Today’s world is thoroughly connected through telecommunications and the internet but the consensus among peers is that we have never felt so isolated and disconnected from family and community. Suicide is now the biggest killer among young men, a horrifying fact that I have witnessed in my community first hand. With so much information available, and so many open channels of communication available to us, this should not be the case.

Landscape plays a crucial role within the film. Growing up in a small coastal town in South Wales I know first hand how the constantly changing weather can mirror and influence your emotional state. Sunny and calm can give way to overcast and blustery in moments. Within the film we’ve used these weather patterns to mirror Dylan’s state of mind. Lingering wide shots of overcast farmland and fields build the sense of oppression and isolation pulling the audience into Dylan’s mindset.

My intention with Panic was to create an engaging short film. A film that blends the thriller and horror genres with a serious dramatic issue at its core: depression. I hope it is able to shine a light on these issues whilst also remaining entertaining.


James Cookson
Writer & Director

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